Ordeal by Innocence, which I read back in August in Torquay and then at home, is one of Agatha Christie’s after the murder type of books. If you’ve read her, you’ll know what I mean. If not, let me clarify. Some of her books are set some time after a murder, and somebody wishes to clear someone else’s name. I can think of a few. Five Little Pigs is one, with a daughter trying to clear her dead mother’s name after a gap of years. To a certain extent I would put Mrs McGinty’s Dead into the same category, although the defendant is alive in that. She writes these very well, making you think no one can possibly solve a murder such a long time later. This was especially the case here, with no Poirot to magically find new evidence.
The basic premise of Ordeal with Innocence is this: Jacko was sent down for murdering his mother. Then he died in prison. The witness on whom his defence relied was nowhere to be found at the time. His alibi was therefore disbelieved. Now, the witness has reappeared and comes to the family home to apologise and clear the name of Jacko. The family resents this as it means that someone within the household must have ‘dunnit’. The mysterious stranger, along with a doctor friend seek to uncover the truth so it will not destroy the family.
Thus ensued a great read with more murders and a plot thicker than something very thick indeed! I loved this book. Once again, I’m enjoying Christie’s stand alone novels more and more, and this one was in the form of a very battered first edition I found in a second hand shop in Whitstable. If you haven’t found time to read Agatha yet, make time for Ordeal by Innocence. It’s subtle, and I kept guessing the solution without any success! Great fun! The characters are likeable for the most part, and the writing flows.
I give this book 8/10.