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Ordeal By Innocence ~ Ppr [Paperback]

Agatha Christie
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 15 1987
According to the courts, Jacko Argyle bludgeoned his mother to death with a poker. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he died behind bars following a bout of pneumonia. Two years later, new evidence emerges, with the increasing liklihood that the real murderer will strike again.

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Product Description


'Family tensions and suspicions are adroitly handled, and the solution is characteristically surprising' New York Times 'Has the particular distinction of presenting a new temporary detective in place of Poirot or Miss Marple.' New York Herald Tribune Book Review --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

According to the courts, Jacko Argylebludgeoned his mother to death with apoker. The sentence was life imprisonment.But when Dr. Arthur Calgary arrives withthe proof that confirms Jacko’s innocence, itis too late—Jacko died behind bars followinga bout of pneumonia. Worse still, the doctor’srevelations reopen old wounds in thefamily, increasing the likelihood that the realmurderer will strike again.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Christie Excels with Twice-Solved Murder June 13 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jack Argyle was convicted of the brutal murder of his mother and sentenced to prison where he died six months later. He had always maintained his innocence and said he had been hitchhiking at the time of the murder. The man who had given him a ride had never been found.
Two years later, Dr. Arthur Calgary, the man who had given him the ride, returns from an Arctic expedition. Calgary had been struck by a lorry the morning after giving Jack a ride, suffered a severe case of amnesia, and left immediately to join the expedition without knowing of the murder or of the fact that he alone could provide an alibi.
Although it is too late to change things, Calgary feels it necessary to tell the family his story. The family is less than receptive because this new revelation means the real murderer is still at large and could be one of them. This novel is filled with maladjusted personalities and one more murder plus an attempted murder will occur before the truth is revealed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An Okay Mystery May 29 2000
By Lily
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a fairly good mystery, the characters are interesting, Christie tries to keep you guessing, but the bottom line is, that this mystery is just not as good as her others. Although there are some interesting twists towards the end, the murderer's identity does not seem that surprising, and some details (one in particular) just seem sort of tacked on. This causes one to feel somewhat unsatisfied with the ending. Still, it was enjoyable for a light read, and it has some worthwhile aspects. One of the interesting things about this mystery is that it does not involve any of her usual detectives (Poirot, Miss Marple, Parker Pyne -- any others? I'm a hard core Poirot fan myself). You might try to find at your local library before you buy it, however, since you probably won't want to read it again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting character study Nov. 25 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jack Argyle is acquitted, two years after his death, of murdering his mother, and the revelation of his innocence casts new doubt upon everyone in the Argyle household. Thus begins this Agatha Christie whodunit. Though it cannot compare to her earlier, better works, ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE does hold its own.
ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE is most notable for the remarkable strength of all the characterizations, the dark, menacing atmosphere, and the fascinating themes of guilt and innocence that Christie brings up. The plot is not as intricate or complex as her masterpieces, but the clues are laid with absolutely impeccable skill, and the solution is both clever and surprising. One of her best late books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading May 1 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The book "ordeal by innocence" was very good because it plays with the personality of the caracters. It is interesting to see how they deal with the murder of Mrs Argyle. There are many interesting caracters with a "strange personality". The end of the book is very good, but for the fans of Agatha Christie they will see that is very easy to reach the final conclusions.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mechanical But Expert May 6 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE is a good example of Christie's tendency to tweak and twist earlier plot devices and then combine them with different themes to create something new, and here she renders the sort of situation seen in CROOKED HOUSE with an unexpected most-likely/least-likely solution and combines it with her oft-repeated theme of an old, previously solved crime that reopens to affect present lives.
The Argles are an unusual family, composed of wealthy parents and five adopted children--all of whom were drawn from underprivledged backgrounds that continued to affect them well into adulthood. One of these children, Jocko, grew up into a singularly undesirable man; constantly involved in legal scrapes, he is the obvious suspect when his adoptive mother is found with her head bashed in by a poker, and he soon convicted. But two years after his death, a man who could have given Jocko an iron-clad alibi suddenly resurfaces, and the family is suddenly thrown into disarray as the case is reopened.
Christie is, as always, extremely expert in her writing, but ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE proves an extremely mechanical effort without more than one or two memorable characters--still, it offers a typically surprising and memorable Christie solution, and that is saying a great deal indeed. While it does not rank among her finer efforts, both fans and newcomers should enjoy it quite a bit.
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