The Queen of Crime, indeed! The skill, the deviousness, the way in which you’re kept guessing to the end – or at least I am – with every one of her masterpieces, is sensational.
Agatha Christie is a demon when it comes to the classic whodunit, and Crooked House is no exception.
Yes, OK, there’s no Marple or Poirot or any of the other lesser-well-known characters we love in this one, and Charles did seem like a rather last-resort choice for the part of amateur sleuth; but the shocking reveal at the end was worth it.
When wealthy, elderly, head-of-the-household, Aristide Leonides, is found poisoned by one of the family in the way he contrived himself, all fingers point to his new, young and gold-digging wife as being the most obvious culprit. But is it too obvious?
Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out. Oh, alright – the butler did it.
Or did he?
As I said, Charles the amateur sleuth, felt like a last minute add in to a story that felt otherwise so well thought out. He just didn’t fit the scene which, at times, did bug me. I hate to speak ill of one of the late-great Agatha’s stories, but it felt to me as though she had had the idea for the ending but then didn’t quite know how to start it.
It starts very ‘gushily’ (I’m not even sure that’s a word but it’s definitely the right word for describing this), with Charles telling us about his love for Aristide Leonide’s granddaughter, ‘Besides being extremely easy to look at’, ‘I looked at her with new eyes-but I saw what I had already known for a long time. I liked everything I saw.’ For a very thin book, the first few pages are filled with this stuff, and also the back couple of pages too (a little too abruptly for my liking actually – there had only just been a big revelation! The phrase “not even cold yet” comes to mind).
But, ignoring Agatha’s (can I go there..? I may burn in hell for this heresy) …mistake… with Charles and his awkward gushiness (not sure on this one either), there is no denying her finesse in landing the final punch when it comes to the actual murder mystery. Seriously, read Crooked House just for that and you won’t be disappointed.
Up next to read: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K.Rowling. That’s right, I’m finally getting around to it, even though I preordered it as soon as it was announced and picked it up on the day it was released (making sure to check it in store this time, I didn’t want another Harry Potter and the Cursed Child fiasco on my hands). From there it went straight on the shelf, where it’s stayed unopened. BUT. It is now down from the shelf, I have already started reading it and am actually over half-way through, so you won’t have to wait too long for that review!
Until next time. x