It wouldn’t be a trip to Devon and more specifically Galampton and Greenway House without at least one Agatha Christie read (the latter is the country home she purchased with her second husband, Max). I came to this part of Devon last year with Mum and two dogs, but this year we left pug at home, mainly because she likes to bark at sea gulls, the wind, small children etc. Now of course I bought some new books, especially as I’m on a mini mission to read all Poirot books, but I opted for a book that doesn’t feature the famous Belgian detective…or the elderly Miss Marple…or even Tommy and Tuppence, two less well known Christie creations.
Ordeal By Innocence is the third and final book in my Greenway Collection, a series of books that were inspired by Christie’s time at Greenway. The first two (Dead Man’s Folly and Five Little Pigs) both feature Poirot, however Ordeal by Innocence is one of Christie’s novels that does not include a returning detective. Dr Arthur Calgary has the proof to show that Jacko Argyle did not murder his mother. However as we arrives at the family home he discovers he is too late; Jacko died of pneumonia six months into his life sentence. The Argyles do not show the expected delight in discovering Jacko’s innocence, they know that his innocence means that one of them is guilty. But who?
I love Agatha Christie and whenever I read one of her novels I am quickly engrossed in the mystery and trying my hardest – and failing – to guess the murderer. Ordeal by Innocence was true to form. However I was missing something. I kept expecting Poirot or Miss Marple to appear on the next page to come along and solve the crime. Obviously they didn’t! There were amateur detectives in the form of Dr Calgary and the brother in law of the wrongly accused, but they weren’t the same as a character you come to know and love over a series of novels. There were some interesting ideas regarding nature and nurture in the raising of children, as the victims five children were all adopted. This seemed to be more of a red herring and although I know very little about psychology I imagine this was a relatively new or popular theory during the time of writing this novel which is why it plays such a key part of the narrative. I did enjoy Ordeal by Innocence but this is not one of my favourite Christie novels.