When it comes to crime fiction, one author I turn to without doubt is Dame Agatha Christie. The queen of crime is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve loved reading many of her books. I chose to read this as part of a reading challenge I’m taking part this year. The challenge asked me to read a book with the word “house” in the title, and for some reason, this is the first book that came to mind.
Charles Hayward (the narrator) and Sophia Leonides meet in Cairo, and fall in love with each other. When Charles is ordered East at the end of the European war, he promises to Sophia that he will find her when he returns to England. His arrival in England two years later happens just after the death of Sophia’s grandfather, the wealthy Aristide Leonides. As it turns out, he was murdered with a barbiturate injection. The family hopes and maybe even wants it to be the work of Aristide’s young widow, but the police can’t be sure. And as Sophia points out, each of the family members might have their own ruthlessness. Charles, as the son of the Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard, and also the fiancé of the victim’s granddaughter, has a different vantage point from which to look at, and hopes he can help find the killer and close the case.
I feel Dame Christie has pulled a trump card by bringing in a detective who isn’t quite the conventional detective. Charles has been in the force in the past, but this is different for him because of that unique vantage point. The story, as like many other Christie novels, is quite engaging and is a page turner. I quite liked trying to follow the trail of clues and finding the killer myself. Even though the author does give clues as to the character sketch of a possible killer, I was quite surprised by who it was. The killer was one of my favorite characters in the book actually. The motive for the crime is one that’s hard to digest, but going by the killer’s character sketch, in the end I must confess that it wasn’t totally unbelievable. And for one particular reason, I also liked the character of Edith de Haviland. If I had one grouse, it’s that the pace of the novel is a bit slow at times.
The author, in a small quote at the back of the book, says she believes it to be one of her best works. After reading it, I don’t disagree with her. I quite enjoyed reading the book, and would definitely peruse it again.
|Title: Crooked House|
|Author(s): Agatha Christie||Genre: Crime Fiction|
|ISBN/ASIN: 9780007282258||Publisher: Harper Collins|
(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
5th January 2018)