Ordeal by Innocence | By Agatha Christie





Book Review | Mystery thriller

Ordeal by Innocence
Considered by critics as one of the best of Agatha Christie’s later novels, and a personal favorite for Christie herself, Ordeal by Innocence is a psychological thriller involving crimes from both past and present. According to the courts, Jacko Argyle bludgeoned his mother to death with a poker. The sentence was life imprisonment. But when Dr. Arthur Calgary arrives with the proof that confirms Jacko’s innocence, it is too late—Jacko died behind bars following a bout of pneumonia. Worse still, the doctor’s revelations reopen old wounds in the family, increasing the likelihood that the real murderer will strike again. (Goodreads)




My thoughts




Narrative and Plot






Reading any Agatha Christie novel is an exciting experience for me. In the last couple of years, this is the second book I am reading by the author for my book club. It is like stepping into a different world and different era. Not only that, each time you are reminded why she is considered as one of the masters of the whodunnit genre. The atmospheric read about the murder mystery at Sunny Point was yet another riveting thriller.



Of course, certain things in the book didn’t age well. While I say that, I would still love to think that the misogyny in the book can be interpreted in a sarcastic manner.








Characters and Conflicts







The story focuses primarily on the events of the day of murder. It repeats several times in the book and you are trying to join the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. More insight comes as we get to know each character. Mrs Argyle, the victim and her five children seem like the primary characters. But there are other intriguing additions to the story that pique our interest.

The theme of nature vs nurture was quite prevalent in the story. It seemed to me that this one was favoring towards nature. However, as the book progresses, we find out that things aren’t as simple as it seemed to be. There are so many layers to it and you cannot wait to peel each one of them.

I couldn’t guess the culprit till the last few pages. By then it was handholding me and I cannot believe for the age old smoke screen that was thrown in front of me and I fell for it. Many modern thrillers which try so hard to shock the audience must take notes from this one. Sometimes it is best to keep things simple in the end and still make the whole thing seem incredible to the reader because of the journey.
















I enjoyed this one despite a few misgivings here and there. The setting, characters and conflicts have all stood the test of time. Who am I to judge a classic? But still, if anyone asks me about a good classic Agatha Christie thriller, this one would be on my list.

















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2 Responses

  1. `Great review. It is some years since I read this one but it is indeed a classic. 💕📚

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