Ordeal by Innocence

This new cover for the Agatha Christie classic story is an ad for the movie version, which Amazon happens to be selling. I did not buy the movie but I watched it on Prime, even though I had bought the book last year on sale.

I must say, I found the movie–all three hours–to be fantastic. This is one rare occasion when the movie is better than the book. In fact, I can’t think of any other example, except possibly Gone With the Wind which I have not read.

As I said, I have the book on my Kindle, but I kept putting it off. After watching the movie, I had to read Agatha’s version. She said it was one of her favorites and I agree that it is a great story.

One thing I noticed Christie doing in the book was giving us long explanations of how people were reacting or feeling or what they were thinking. We are supposed to show all those things in the written word. “Michael shouted; Rita revealed no emotion; Leo curled his lips slightly.” I don’t remember that being a problem for me as a reader of her books before.

This story was written midway through her career–mid 1950’s and it was a unique plot. The adoptive mother of five grown children was murdered two years earlier (in the book) and the youngest son, Jack was quickly convicted and sent to prison where he died.

Now, a man appears who was with Jack at the time of the murder. He does not help Jack but does cause the remaining family members to begin to look at each other.

The movie kept the story, but did make several significant changes. Personally, I think all the changes strengthened the story.

Read the book AND see the movie.

Mike Lawrence

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