Crooked House

  • Novel
  • 1949

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 millionaire’s granddaughter…

Curious thing, rooms. Tell you quite a lot about the people who live in them.

Chief Inspector Taverner, Crooked House

More about this story

The crooked house of the title is much like the house in the nursery rhyme There was a Crooked Man. The narrator, in love with a daughter of the household, wonders if this means dishonest or as she describes it “twisted and twining”, unable to grow up independently, all surrounding the family patriarch and murder victim. The shock ending was nothing new for Agatha Christie but it certainly surprised her readers. It was so shocking in fact that her publishers at the time wanted her to change the ending, but Christie refused.

Agatha Christie describes Crooked House as one of the books that satisfied her the best.

Crooked House was recently adapted for the screen by Sony Pictures. The film adaptation starring Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close and Max Irons aired in the UK and the US in 2017. Find out more.

The story was previously adapted for a four-part radio drama on BBC Radio 4 in 2008.

Did you know?

  1. Agatha Christie once said "Writing Crooked House was pure pleasure and I feel justified in my belief that it is one of my best."

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