Crooked House Paperback
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, fiance of the late millionare's granddaughter...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 05/08/2002
- Category: Classic crime
- ISBN: 9780007136865
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by woollymammoth
It's an Agatha Christie Book, they're all the same, but it's fun.
Review by smik
In an author's foreword Agatha Christie says this was a plot she had thought through for many years.The action takes place just after the second world war near London. Charles Hayward and Sophia Leonides had met two years earlier in Egypt and were determined to meet again after the war was over.They are back in London and have arranged to meet when Charles learns that Sophia's grandfather has been murdered. Charles' father, a member of Scotland Yard, suggests that Charles try to get an "inside" view of the family, talk to family members, to see if one is a murderer. We see events from Charles' point of view, and it is he who finally assembles the evidence, although in a sense a family member beat him to it.This is a book that keeps the reader guessing, although I have to admit that about a quarter of the way from the end I was pretty sure I knew who the murderer was. That's when, true to form, Agatha Christie threw a final red herring on the path. There's some interesting discussion of what makes a murderer. Charles' father who is a Scotland Yard Commander, believes that most murders are committed by family members because it is oily situations that the depth of hatred and frustration that precedes murder will occur. When the identity of the murderer is revealed he says he had known it for some time.
Review by Eyejaybee
This was Agatha Christie's favourite among her novels, and as a reader it is easy to understand why. Christie is best known for her two sleuths, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, though this is a 'stand-alone' offering. The story is narrated by Charles Hayward, son of the Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard, and himself an ex-copper, or at least a former inspect at the Special Branch. Towards the end of the Second World War Hayward had been based in Cairo where he had met, and fallen in love with, Sophia Leonides. Once the war is over they return to Britain and plan to be married. In the meantime Sophia returns to her family home in one of London's suburbs. As is so often the case throughout Christie's novels, three generations of the Leonides family live together in the house owned by wealthy patriarch Aristide Leonides. Shortly after her return home, however, Astride is dead, and it soon transpires that he has been murdered. As a consequence of the prominence of the victim, Scotland Yard becomes involved in the investigation and, predictably, Hayward is asked to help out.When I was about thirteen or fourteen I read dozens of Agatha Christie's novels, one after another, in that slightly obsessive manner that adolescent boys so often have. I enjoyed them but devoured them simply at face value. Re-reading this one nearly forty years later I now recognise that there was a lot of social comment in her depictions of domestic life. There is a wry, understated satire to her works. Her books are, however, redolent of their time. For instance, Christie is perfectly happy to describe Josephine, the younger sister of Sophia, as 'a fantastically ugly child'. I doubt whether any modern novelist would care to be so brutal.Christie's prose is never glossy but she has an almost journalistic knack of telling the story with the minimum of fuss. Her characterisations may now seem slightly clichéd, but she always maintains a simple verisimilitude. It is, however, with her plotting that she holds the reader's attention. This book is certainly no exception. The plot is tightly constructed, and the denouement comes as rather a shock, though the clues were all there.I was very glad to have revisited this novel after so long, and I may well try my hand at several more from her prolific output.