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Last week, I rewatched the episode of the Poirot series based on Agatha Christie’s 1972 book, Elephants Can Remember. Heather liked The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna. Tina shared a murder mystery set on the border between Wales and England: The Last Party by Clare Mckintosh.
This week, as part of my month of Agatha Christie, to celebrate her September birthday and the first month of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril in 2022, I’m reviewing the 2017 film adaptation of her 1949 book, Crooked House.
Crooked House was one of Agatha Christie’s rare stand-alone mysteries. The detective in this story is Charles Hayward, a young man awkwardly trying to both follow in his famous father’s footsteps and strike out on his own. His father worked for Scotland Yard.
Charles became involved with Sophia Leonides in Cairo, during World War II. Now, both are back in England. When Sophia’s rich and famous grandfather dies, Charles has an opportunity to prove himself an able detective while resolving his complicated relationship with Sophia.
The crooked house of the title is the family estate of Aristide Leonides. And, by family, I mean all the family. Both sons and their wives and children, including Sophia. There’s even the first wife’s sister, Lady Edith. When Charles starts to interview these characters, it becomes quickly apparent that there are multiple dysfunctionalities in this crooked house, partially caused by the crooked man who was just murdered.
Minley Manor in Hampshire, with its many turrets and towers, stood in for the exterior of the crooked house. It’s now a wedding and event venue. This interview with the production designer talks about how the interiors were put together and includes many stunning photos.
I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces in this film. Glenn Close was a surprise but perfect for Lady Edith. I most remember Julian Sands from A Room with a View, so it was fun to see him all grown up. Gillian Anderson played an over-the-top sort of character in this film — I’m becoming quite the fan of her work that includes The Fall, Sex Education, and the fourth season of The Crown.
Crooked House is one of Agatha Christie’s most chilling novels. I encourage participants of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril to consider this film or book, even if you usually find an Agatha Christie novel too tame for your tastes. If you’re after the more conventional Christie novel, with a cozier plot, I suggest a different choice.
This is my final Agatha Christie post for this year. In October, I plan to explore a notorious London murder full of passion and intrigue that happened 100 years ago.