Crooked House

Crooked House

Large Print - 2012
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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...
Publisher: London : Liverscroft Leicester, 2012, c1949
Edition: Complete and unabridged
ISBN: 9781444802993
Branch Call Number: CHRIS
Characteristics: 292 pages

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Brontina66
Dec 01, 2017

I would compare this story to "Murder on the Orient Express" for the final twist, although in this case the final revelation is definitely more shocking. Agatha Christie is a fine connoisseur of human psychology and here she is at her best. The characters are all believable and we keep on wondering until the end. Christie is one of my favorite writers and I recommend this book to everyone, just be warned: nothing is what it seems!

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gerhardh
Nov 09, 2017

211 pages

s
s390325
May 25, 2017

I think this is one of Agatha Christie's best mysteries. I was completely swept up in the story, and was quite surprised by the ending. I thought that she did a really good job of bringing all the characters to life, adding detail and "fleshing them out" much more than in most of her mysteries. Even the dead man has quite a personality! Although the mystery setup is familiar, the atmosphere seems even more charged with fear and suspicion, perhaps because the narrator is in the house quite a bit and engaged to the granddaughter of the deceased. I thought it was interesting that Agatha Christie writes in her forward to this book that it is one of her personal favorites, a pleasure to write and a book that she felt was one of her best.
*Spoiler alert* I was shocked that the young girl was able to murder without remorse or more contemplation than "He won't let me go to ballet lessons" or "She gets annoyed and scolds me frequently". However, since I have read "The Sociopath Next Door" (great book!) multiple times, it sounds like she is definitely a sociopath/ psychopath. If she is this good at killing people, hiding her tracks and throwing suspicion elsewhere at a young age, it seems inevitable that she would just continue doing that and worse as she got older and smarter. I thought it was interesting that at the end, there was some suggestion that the grandfather may have realized that something was "different" with her and that's why she had a tutor at home instead of going to school. That decision would have increased the safety of her would-be schoolmates, but did not change her in any fundamental way. I am not sure that there is any way that she could have been changed if she really was a sociopath since (according to the other book) sociopaths don't think anything is wrong with them and are unable to empathize and form connections with other people. I don't know if there would have been any way the family could have kept Josephine's murderous ways under control. I don't agree with her great-aunt taking her own life and Josephine's, however that was probably the easiest way to have a relatively tidy ending to the story. (one of the reasons that I enjoy Agatha Christie) : )

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maspochni591
Nov 26, 2016

This is easily one of the best, and most shocking Agathe Christie books. The identity of the killer is super surprising and pretty disturbing. Crooked House is a must read for any Agathe Christie fan.

JCLJoyceM Nov 09, 2016

This Agatha Christie novel captured my attention quickly. The rich patriarch of a dysfunctional family has been poisoned. Many family members are suspect. As usual, the suspense builds to an unexpected conclusion.

EuSei Mar 13, 2016

After the excellent prior comments, I can only add this was one of Agatha Christie's most "psychological" thrillers. The tension is palpable and never ending. I believe no reader will be able to guess the killer. And by telling the reason I would be fatally naming the killer... Highly recommend this book.

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writermike
Jun 09, 2015

In the forward to her 1949 stand-alone mystery “Crooked House,” Agatha Christie calls it one of her “special favourites,” and writes in her autobiography that it is one of the two that “satisfy me best.” This is interesting because the novel does not feature Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, or any of her other series detectives. In fact, the classic detective is largely absent from this mystery, as the reader is left along with narrator Charles Hayward to try to solve this exceptionally cunning mystery. Christie is always scrupulously fair about the mystery, and lays a trail of clues for those who have the eyes to see. The climax to “Crooked House” features a classic Christie turnabout of the “I-never-saw-this-coming” variety. And you’re led to believe that in fact no one has “solved” the crime at all…until you read the last sentence of the novel. You can see why this was one of her favourites.

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newfieshawn
Feb 09, 2015

Excellent Book great twists

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eex97
Sep 15, 2013

a great read!
basic, but with an amazing twist

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KarenW
Aug 31, 2010

In the crooked house the crooked man dies and one of the family must be the murderer. Classic Christie, this plot seems so basic, but turns so cleverly that the red herrings and twists and turns happen without the reader really noticing. Always one of the author's own personal favorites, this is one of mine as well.

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maspochni591
Nov 26, 2016

maspochni591 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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