Pages: 236 pages
Published: February 1, 2011 (March 1949)
Publisher: William Marrow Paperbacks
Genre: Fiction & Literature, Mystery & Thrillers, British Mysteries
In the sprawling, half-timbered mansion in the affluent suburb of Swinly Dean, Aristide Leonides lies dead from barbiturate poisoning. An accident? Not likely. In fact, suspicion has already fallen on his luscious widow, a cunning beauty fifty years his junior, set to inherit a sizeable fortune, and rumored to be carrying on with a strapping young tutor comfortably ensconced in the family estate. But criminologist Charles Hayward is casting his own doubts on the innocence of the entire Leonides brood. He knows them intimately. And he’s certain that in a crooked house such as Three Gables, no one’s on the level…
This is by far one of the best Christie mysteries I have ever read! You can never go wrong with reading a book by Agatha Christie. You are always in for a mysterious but exciting rife with a Christie novel and Crooked House is no exception.
In my opinion, Christie shows her real talent in her standalone novels. The tension just builds up slowly, bit by bit, until you are unexpectedly surprised at the outcome. Anyone can be a suspect and with Christie terrific characterization, you are scratching your head and questioning every conclusion you make on discovering who is the culprit. I was totally blown away by the discovery. I don’t think I could come up with a better ending. If another suspect was selected, it would have become a predictable mystery story and that is not Christie’s style. Christie’s gift is to play on the psychological horror without having to go into the gory details. She lays out clues and the puzzles, giving readers a chance to discover the truth before she doles out the big reveal. No wonder she is called “The Queen of Mystery”.
Christie applies another nursery rhyme to one of her stories:
There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
The rhyme may seem innocent enough but Christie’s talent comes into play again. She manages to make an innocent nursery rhyme, not only an integral part of the story like she did with And Then There Were None, but make it so creepy and sinister. The word “crooked” can be applied to many factors here: the house, the victim, the suspects. This is used to show that not everything is what it appears to be when looking from the outside. The use of that psychological thrill is what made Crooked House to be one of most enjoyable suspense novels I have read in a long time.
Crooked House is for the fans of And Then There Were None and of course, Agatha Christie. This is definitely a novel that I will be re-reading for years to come.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars