Book review: Crooked House, by Agatha Christie

By David Rak

Crooked House, by Agatha Christie

Crooked House was made into a movie with some big names. Perhaps if there are any Christie fans out there they had better go for the movie, because this reader found the written version very disappointing, and others may too.

The story is simple: a whole family is living under the same roof when the patriach is murdered by an injection of the wrong drug. Of course, everybody comes under suspicion, but the main suspect remains the much younger widow, who is generally greatly disliked.

Each character is painted clearly and we get a look at them in situ as they react with one another, but I don't think ring true, and there are several descriptive passages that are not convincing, or at least a bit weak. The story lacks Agatha Christie’s usual crispness, and some of the characters are quite unbelievably pathetic.

We get the usual red herrings thrown in, glimpses of strange behaviour and explanations of circumstances which don’t really go anywhere, except to complicate the plot. Perhaps they are meant to.

As usual, there are more murders and missing evidence, but their relevance is all explained at the end, when everything falls conveniently into place and the whole point of the murders is explained.

Agatha Christie wrote more than 100 stories, mysteries and plays, plus some works under another name. She was certainly prolific, successful and something of a mystery herself, but it’s hard to count this as one of her best works.

Lee Stephenson