Agatha Christie, it’s said, claimed Crooked House to be one of her own two personal favourites of her own works. And it’s easy to tell why.
I’ve read almost all of Christie’s novels and there are some I was compelled to return to just because snatches of the story stood out so distinctly in my memory.
Three generations of the Leonides family live at Three Gables – the ‘crooked house’ of the story. And it is a crooked house, indeed. From the building, to the people who live in it. When Arisitide Leonides is killed, poisoned with his own eye medicine, it draws uniforms from all over the place to the house but unfortunately no answers. And that’s how Charles Hayward, the son of the Assistant Commissioner finds himself ensconced as a house guest at the Three Gables, in search of an answer. But Charles is also in love with Sophia Leonides, Aristide’s grand daughter and this is one glimpse into the family that he probably didn’t count on.
So, whodunnit? Was it Aristide’s lovely trophy wife, Brenda and her supposed lover, Laurence Brown, the children’s tutor; that’s who the family wants it to be. Or is it his dead wife’s embittered sister-in-law, Edith de Haviland; or his eldest son, Roger who’s driven his business into the ground and wants nothing more than to go away or his austere scientist wife, Clemency, who can’t abide all that luxury in her marital home. Or is it younger son, Philip, who’s spent his life under the shadow of his elder brother, the favourite son or perhaps, it’s his actress wife for whom everything is a drama in which she wants a leading part.
Because as Charles discovers everybody had motive (what with all that money) and opportunity and apparently, the intention. But while everybody looks guilty, finding the murderer, as Charles discovers, turns out to be much like looking for a needle in a haystack. Until they come across, what seems to be, conclusive evidence. And the murderers are arrested.
And then the nanny dies…
Things seem to be getting more and more dangerous for the inmates of the crooked house as it becomes apparent that the murderer is still on the loose. Until Charles discovers that the murders might have had an unlikely witness.
And the answer is bound to shock you!
I know it sent shivers down my spine.
This book gets an easy 5. If you’re a whodunnit fan…or even not…put this on your must-read list! Pick it up here – Agatha Christie – Crooked House!