The Crooked House by Agatha Christie

17th November 2021.

Who poisoned Aristide Leonides, the patriarch who had gathered his family to live in his London mansion? Was it his new wife, some fifty years younger than him? What about his sons and their wives? How about the grandchildren or their tutor? Then there’s his sister in law, the servants …

Into this mystery steps Charles Hayward, who wants to marry Aristide’s granddaughter, Sophia. His father, the deputy commissioner of Scotland Yard, wants Charles to go into the house and befriend the family and find out the details they don’t reveal to the police.

Naturally, suspicion falls on Brenda, the young wife, who has everything to gain financially. She’s friendly with the tutor, Laurence, a conscientious objector. But they have alibis, like the sons and their wives.

Progress is slow, the evidence circumstantial, and Aristide is not above a little trickery, as it turns out. It all builds slowly, twisting and winding as suspicion falls on most of the cast at some point. As always, the author manages to wrong foot readers, delivering a few small surprises before effortlessly delivering the biggest of all as the killer is revealed.

The story is filled with entertaining and eccentric characters, trapped in the crooked house, it seems, either by need, loyalty or love. While Charles narrates the story and delivers opinions of his own throughout, no one really makes any great headway into solving the murder, which keeps the story fresh and bubbling along until the dramatic ending.

It’s another masterclass in the traditional murder mystery that Agatha Christie helped to create and shape over the decades.


A wealthy Greek businessman is found dead at his London home…

The Leonides were one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That was until the head of the household, Aristide, was murdered with a fatal barbiturate 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, fiancé of the late millionaire’s granddaughter…

The Crooked House by Agatha Christie

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