“Crooked House” is a murder mystery by Agatha Christie that was first published in 1949. It just happens to be a co-incidence, that just like my last Christie read, this novel too doesn’t have the famous detective Hercules Poirot or Mrs Marple leading the investigations, and yet, it was a fun gripping read.
The story begins with a man called Charles Hayward, who falls in love with Sophia Leonides and hopes to marry her. However, their plans to marry meets a hurdle when Sophia’s wealthy grandfather Aristide Leonides is murdered and almost everybody in his joint-family becomes a suspect, because all of them monetarily benefit from the death.
Just like classic Christie, everybody does have enough motive to bump the old man off. The Leonides family makes for an interesting bunch, there are two married sons, one of who is Sophie’s father, the other son doesn’t have any kids. Aristide married a second time, so he had a wife who was almost 50 years his junior. The strongest suspicion falls on her, since she would have the most to rejoice, if one considers things on the surface.
Hayward gets an opportunity to take part in the investigation, and each suspect spills their side of the story. Funnily enough, everybody points at the young wife and yet also convey that she might not be the murderer. Like a character says, each one is ruthless in their own way and it could’ve been anybody. The family dynamics makes for an interesting read, while everybody in the ‘crooked house’ isn’t particularly very fond of each other, they are too dependent on the familiarity of staying together. A tight bunch, held on a leash by a wily patriarch, who loved them, and controlled them.
What makes ‘Crooked House’ an enjoyable read is the fact that everything is limited to just one family, and yet, the Leonides are a very peculiar bunch. Once we get to the climax, it’s quite evident who the murderer is. Gripping and quite the page-turner. It’s a 4/5 from me.