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Crooked House (1949)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,015633,524 (3.75)163
The Leonideses are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal injection. Suspicion naturally falls on the old man's young widow, fifty years his junior. But the murderer has reckoned without the tenacity of Charles Hayward, fiance of the late millionaire's granddaughter...… (more)
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» See also 163 mentions

English (58)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (63)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
One thing I really enjoy about Agatha Christie is how well she writes the voices of various characters. She has a way of writing the way people talk that gives you a very clear idea of their character, without sounding fake or stilted (which is a big accomplishment when a book is set in post-WW1 England, because I think the way British people talk always sounds a little fake and stilted). The narrator of Crooked House is telling the story after the events have already transpired, and I think this might be key to first-person narration that doesn’t sound like a seventh grader wrote it; having the character describe what happened and how they felt sounds a lot more natural than trying to describe everything in real time from one character’s perspective. It also gives the narrator the ability to comment on things from the future, saying things like “If only we had known…” which adds to the mystery and can create suspicion around a character or thing that wasn’t necessarily suspicious to begin with.
Speaking of the mystery, I noticed a stark difference between Crooked House and the other Agatha Christie novels I’ve read: the mystery could be figured out by the reader. In some of her other novels, certain details get left out by the narrators either purposefully or because they themselves didn’t know, and so even if the reader figures out one aspect of the mystery, they can’t put it all together until the narrator does. This is obviously a narrative device with a lot of merit, and I don’t think every mystery novel should let the reader solve the crime before the protagonists do, but it is fun when it happens. I figured out who the killer was about ¾ of my way through the book, but I wasn’t positive I was right, which put me in a similar place to the narrator himself. This was a little exciting for me, because I am not always the best at solving mysteries, even the kind of stories written for kids.
The mystery itself, and the surprise twist, weren’t exactly groundbreaking or even that surprising. I wasn’t necessarily expecting this novel to reinvent the wheel, and the ending was at least satisfying, so I’m not too mad about it. Plus, my view of the ending as unsurprising probably has to do with the fact that I’m reading the book 72 years after it was first published, and my perspectives on things like mental illness and age are much different than they would be if I was reading in 1949. If this was a book that had been written recently, I might feel more strongly about its predictability, but keeping in mind the time period in which it was written, it’s a pretty good story. ( )
  mateoj | Jan 3, 2022 |
Elderly rich man is murdered. Which of relatives in the house was the killer?
  ritaer | Dec 27, 2021 |
It's been too long since I've read a good Christie. I get the feeling that she only decided who the murderer was at the last minute. But, still, it was a fun trip... if slightly morbid at the end. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
"You mean he's followed you here?"
"Yes. I think we're all-how does one put it - under observation. They more or less hinted that we'd all better not leave the house. But I determined to see you. " Her small square chin shot out pugnaciously. "I got out the bathroom window and shinned down the water pipe."
  taurus27 | Aug 23, 2021 |
The only reason this book isn't a 1 starred review is that I know Christie is an excellent mystery writer in general...but this in my opinion is a dud. The reader follows a character named Charles (completely lacking in personality) who wants to marry a young woman named Sophia (she could probably do better). However, when a murder occurs in her family home with a limited amount of suspects Charles is forced to ask himself, "Whodunit?". Meh.

This one is so lackluster and surface level that reader involvement is virtually nil. In the Poirot stories that she writes there is almost an excess of details about the people, the crime, and even the setting/atmosphere. While Christie did spend a little time describing the layout of the house and the people living within its walls it felt rushed and incomplete. And Charles who is supposedly the main character was so blah that I wished to be inside literally anyone else's head to view the unfolding story. Even more maddening, the 'mystery' itself is fairly obvious and straightforward without the trademark twists and turns that I relish so much in her writing.

If this had been my introduction to Christie, I don't think I would have picked up another book by her. Do yourself a favor and reach for a copy of Murder on the Orient Express instead. You can thank me later. ( )
  AliceaP | Mar 9, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ballot, CarmenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dausset, SylvieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Cal, StellaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duurloo, EllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eckardt, HansNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
FlipIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horovitch, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Houbie, Michel LeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Looman, HeikiIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
M. Cordelia E. LeighTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Niinepuu-Kiik, PiretIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piirimaa, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rojkowska, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seeberg, Axel S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segurado, Maria GeorginaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segurado, Maria GeorginaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zazo, Anna LuisaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I first came to know Sophia Leonides in Egypt towards the end of the war.
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The Leonideses are one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That is until the head of the household, Aristide, is murdered with a fatal injection. Suspicion naturally falls on the old man's young widow, fifty years his junior. But the murderer has reckoned without the tenacity of Charles Hayward, fiance of the late millionaire's granddaughter...

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Haiku summary
A patriarch dead
Blame falls on the outsider
Clear motive – case closed?
(passion4reading)

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