Ordeal by Innocence is a murder mystery detective novel by the famous crime author Agatha Christie.
Mrs Rachel Argyle is found dead in her home. Her adopted son, Jack, is found guilty and sentenced. He dies in prison. Two years later, a man comes forward with an alibi for Jack, proving he was innocent. The question is, if Jack Argyle didn’t murder his mother, who did?
Though I’ve only read a few so far, I’ve decided I really like Agatha Christie stories. They’re short but fun to read, and I like her clear style of writing.
I liked that there were some red herrings and a whole range of different plot devices used to withhold or reveal key pieces of information. I liked trying to understand the mystery and keep track of various clues that could be useful later on.
The characters were fine – although a little shallow and archetypal – and as there were so many characters, I felt they crowded one another.
Whilst I enjoyed reading through the mystery, I thought that the “whodunnit” reveal was annoyingly brief. When the true culprit was revealed, I was left a bit disappointed. Mostly, this was because I’d been imagining other possible endings, investigating the characters myself, and imagining potential secrets or motivations. However, my predictions were all wrong and I was dissatisfied with the answer given to me.
I haven’t seen the BBC adaptation of Ordeal by Innocence yet – although if it’s as good as their adaptation of And Then There Were None, I want to try and watch it at some point.*
*Since writing this blog post, I have watched the Ordeal by Innocence adaptation – all three episodes in one evening. Whilst a lot of key plot and character elements were altered, I still think the story was enjoyable as a dark, gritty drama. I really like the style of filming used for both the Ordeal by Innocence and And Then There Were None adaptations, and I admire the way the BBC have turned Christie’s books from an arguably light-hearted, rather quick-paced murder mystery into intriguing, dark, and mysterious TV series.
Overall, Ordeal by Innocence was still a fun read, but not as enjoyable as And Then There Were None (which still remains my favourite so far) but I liked reading more of Agatha Christie’s work.