Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ordeal by Innocence” as Want to Read:
Ordeal by Innocence
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ordeal by Innocence

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,848 Ratings  ·  357 Reviews
According to the courts, Jacko Argyle bludgeoned his mother to death with a poker. The sentence was life imprisonment. But when Dr. Arthur Calgary arrives with the proof that confirms Jacko’s innocence, it is too late—Jacko died behind bars following a bout of pneumonia. Worse still, the doctor’s revelations reopen old wounds in the family, increasing the likelihood that t ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 10th 2010 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published November 3rd 1958)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ordeal by Innocence, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ordeal by Innocence

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 21, 2013 Carol. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christie fans, fans of psychological mysteries
You really have to admire 1950s for their marvelous plot devices. Amnesiacs, mistaken identities, and in this mystery by Agatha Christie, a man with a concussion fails to provide an alibi, and shortly after recovering, heads off to Antarctica for a research expedition. Barring that somewhat awkward premise, Ordeal was an interesting psychological mystery that kept me engaged.

Dr. Calgary, the Antarctic research scientist, discovers through old newspaper articles that he was the missing alibi for
mark monday
Choose Your Own Adventure!

Did you kill the Argyle matriarch? ‘Tis true, she was an awful sort. A control freak: dramatically highly-strung and passionately venomous, her grasping hands ever eager to twist and to bind, to bind you and others to her. She is played by Faye Dunaway in tiny flashback sequences and that is certainly apropos casting. Mama Argyle was ever so unfair to you. She never let you do what you wanted, it was always her, Her, HER! She deserved to die, damn it! The world is a bet
Ick. Not one of Christie's best. Not even close. It's the standard detective story set-up: a murder, a finite set of would-be-murderers, no one has a motive/everyone has equal motive. The twist here is that a man has been convicted, and has died in prison before his alibi turns up.

As far as mysteries go, it's a fairly decent book. But several other things bugged me:
1. Arthur Calgary, the hero. This is the alibi, the scientist who turns up two years too late to provide evidence that the convict
Marija Simić
Sep 13, 2015 Marija Simić rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many interesting characters in this book, but my personal favourites are Hester & Philip. Philip's death broke my heart, but at least we got a happy ending, i find Dr Arthur Calgary actually perfect for Hester. Definitely one of my favourite books, i would enjoy it even more, only if i didn't spoiled it to myself by watching a movie adaptation..
Laurel Young
Feb 22, 2011 Laurel Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Agatha Christie claimed that, of all her many novels, Ordeal by Innocence and Crooked House pleased her best. Crooked House is one of my absolute favorites, but I had rather forgotten how very good Ordeal by Innocence is. The premise is gripping: an innocent man convicted wrongly of murdering his adopted mother has died in prison, but new evidence shows that he had an alibi. This means that the murderer is still at large, but it must be a member of his family. The closed setting of the family ci ...more
Aug 09, 2010 Meave rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Classism time in classism town. More precisely, "adoption is unnatural, adoptive children and parents never truly and properly bond the way biological children and parents do, and all good women desperately long to have their own babies" time in [ibid.:] town. Also a lovely running theme about how the one daughter who's half-black and half-white, to whom everyone refers as "half-caste," is all inscrutable and cat-like as has no sense of time because she's half-black. With Aggie, it's all nature, ...more
From BBC Radio 4:
Doctor Calgary comes to visit the Argyle family with good news, or so he thinks. He tells the family he is there to clear the name of Jacko, who was convicted of the murder of his mother. But his news is not greeted with the enthusiasm he expects.

directed by Mary Peate.

Along with Crooked House, Ordeal by Innocence was Agatha Christie's favourite of her own works. It is easy to see why. Eschewing the traditional detective format, it takes an original idea - how the innocent suffe
Ale Rivero
Apr 20, 2016 Ale Rivero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esta historia de la autora no me ha resultado tan pesada como otras que he leído de ella.
En principio, los investigadores aquí son tanto oficiales como aficionados del momento, y es uno de estos últimos el que descubre a quién provocó los asesinatos.
La premisa de la sinopsis sobre la intriga familiar hace que a lo largo de la historia se dude de todos y se quiera saber qué pasará a continuación.
Me ha resultado un caso de lo más interesante y entretenido. Recomendable.
May 10, 2011 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A perfectly good Agatha Christie mystery with the usual situation. The murderer had to be someone within a small group who all suspect each other. However the 1950s pop psychology/nature vs. nurture aspect of the plot irritated me. Why do I like Ms. Christie's 1930s classism but find her 1950s classism distasteful? Perhaps the 1930s seem a bit like fairy tale times while I remember 1958.

I must give her credit for the way she tied up loose ends with several new romances--it is nice to get some b
Aug 05, 2015 فاتن rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
أظن هذه المراجعة الوحيدة لي لأغاثا ، فلا طاقة لي لحرث رواياتها السابقة التي بدأت في قراءتها منذ صيف حتى توقفت في صيف ثم استأنفت في هذا الصيف قراءة رواياتها، والذي يجعلني أقطّع في قراءتي لها، هو مدى توفر عناوين جديدة لترجمات دار الأجيال بعد أن وقعت في حبائل ترجمتها فلم تعد أغاثا تعني لي إلا وهي مصحوبة بدار الأجيال فحسب

ولا حاجة لي لكتابة مراجعات عن ماسأقرأه لاحقا، فروايات أغاثا وإن كانت تعني لي سابقا إثارة بوليسية تناسب الفتاة المراهقة، إلا إنني كلما أوغلت في القراءة لها على امتداد عمري الفاني،
Mar 23, 2014 Lobstergirl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Royal Sappers
So dull.
Kat Hagedorn

This is what happens when you set your Kindle to "wireless on" and you go on a road trip. Sigh. (If your Kindle has a leaky wireless connection, you will run out of battery by the time you get to your destination. If you are stupid enough not to bring your plug with you just in case or even a real paper book, for heaven's sake, you are hosed.)

The cottage had many mothbally, ancient choices. I have read so many Christie novels in the past that their plots all run togethe
Well this one starts with a bang. (view spoiler) Well okay Agatha you've hooked me again. A re-opened family murder case is opening and at first it seems like no one else has a motive....and then everyone has one! I was completely surprised by the murder's identity, but of course it all came together in a dramatic ending! I didn't like any of the chara ...more
This one dragged through the first 20 chapters or so and then rushed to the finish in the last four. I gave it three stars simply because, as a fan, I couldn't give it anything less than that. Christie at her worst is better than most writers at their best, so she definitely deserves that. I can't say, however, that I enjoyed this one as much as some of her other titles. She herself listed this one as one of her personal favorites, but I just can't agree with her. Maybe she had more fun writing ...more
Moonlight Reader
Through this Christie reread, I've discovered that some of my favorite books are the ones where she abandons the fussy, arrogant Poirot and the cotton-wool-over-steel Miss Marple for a one-or-two-off character study of a murder. Crooked House, And Then There Were None, Towards Zero, Endless Night have all ended up as favorites. Perhaps my least favorite part of the Poirot novels is Poirot?

Not really, but he can be truly irritating.

Anyway, this is another of her stand-alones, featuring a characte
Mar 26, 2016 Ruthiella rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2016
When fresh evidence posthumously exonerates Jack Argyle of the murder of his adoptive mother, one would think his family would be pleased. However, they are not, because if Jacko didn’t do it, then someone else in the family got away with murder!

This is a non-Poirot/Miss Marple entry. The set-up is great and I thought it was an entertaining, claustrophobic mystery. However, the ending was just bonkers; the murderer just sort of runs off after being outed and no one is much fussed or feels the ne
Neveen Helmi
رغم كل روايات أجاثا كريستي اللي قريتها، ورغم أني حفظت أسلوبها تقريبًا، ورغم أني مش مغرمة بشخصية بوارو عامة. فإن الحاجة الوحيدة اللي ممكن أقراها وأنا ضامنة مية في المية اني هاتسلي واتبسط هي رواياتها. الروايات مش بس محبوكة ومسلية ومكتوبة بحرفية، إنما كمان الشخصيات على درجة كبيرة من التعقيد، ونادرًا لما تلاقي شخصية سطحية أو أحادية البعد، وديما في تحليل نفسي لتصرفاتهم ودوافعهم. يعني مثلًا الشخصية المحورية هنا هي شخصية القتيلة رينا، اللي بنكتشف
ورا كل الكلام الجميل عن أعمالها الخيرية وأفضالها على النا
As much as I adore Poirot, I think Christie's novels with no recurring characters are fantastic. Ordeal by Innocence is no exception. Perhaps I liked it a little less than I did the first time, but only because I remembered very well both the murderer and the motive, but it is still a 5 star mystery for me. The twist is just great!
I also loved how deeply psychological it was: Christie's characters are always peculiar, but in this story they were particularly well constructed and complex. There a
Apr 28, 2016 Marija rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Just gonna say, I knew who the killer was because of the first sentence of chapter 23. It was wrapped up nicely, except for the romantic pairing in the last three sentences. I know it's meant to be cheesy, but I really dislike that Agatha does it.
Over all it was an enjoyable read. I love how this one was more character driven than the other ones I've read. She usually focuses on the relationships between characters, in my opinion, but i felt that now it was more about the individual qu
Well well, now at my 30th book of the year (woop woop) and exactly halfway to my goal which is looking very attainable folks, dare I say I may secretly wish to break 100 books this year whew just book dreams my friends but I am excited to read more and more….Unfortunately and sadly there were no five-star amazing books for me so far and I am disheartened at myself for being hasty and impulsive and not researching like I always do but trying to just jump out there and read it all … there have bee ...more
Vicky (A Backpack Full of Adventures)
According to the courts, Jacko Argyle bludgeoned his mother to death with a poker. The sentence was life imprisonment.

But when Dr Arthur Calgary arrives with the proof that confirms Jacko's innocence, it is too late - Jacko died behind bars following a bout of pneumonia. Worse still, the doctor's revelations re-open old wounds in the family, increasing the likelihood that the real murderer could strike again.....

Reading these few lines was enough for me to know that it's going to be a great read
Aug 16, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I love the fact that I've read 3 Agatha Christie books in a row and each of them had a completely different tone from the other. There is a feeling of dissatisfaction, oppression, and suspicion among the characters which is what leads the tone to feel darker (vs. darker books because of suspense or psychological thriller). There is a large, but not too large, cast of characters, and although most of them are in a family together, since they were all adopted as children (not infants), they have t ...more
Aug 01, 2012 Aries rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giallo
Se i romanzi con protagonista il Belga Hercule Poirot sono, a conti fatti, una garanzia quasi totale di qualità o, comunque, di un testo avvincente (non parlo di Miss Marple, non avendola ancora mai letta), devo dire che i pochi romanzi della Christie popolati da personaggi diversi finiscono sempre per rappresentare, almeno per me, una piacevolissima sorpresa.
Libera da un certo tipo di schema che, con personaggi ricorrenti, spesso e volentieri diventa obbligato, l’autrice si lancia in scelte più
Pankaj Goyal
While Agatha Christie is no more with us, her novels still rule the world of murder mysteries. Her novels have been reprinted so many times and most probably will keep entertaining the readers in future too. I started reading Christie a long time back and always enjoyed reading her works (except some which disappointed me). I still reread many of her novels with perfect enjoyment.

This novel has the usual situation as one generally witness in Christie’s mysteries. The murderer is someone within
Onellyantie Chuah
Nov 08, 2012 Onellyantie Chuah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would say the first 20 chapters bored me as they almost made me give up reading this book. But, I'm glad I didn't because the last 4 chapters are simply BRILLIANT! The ending was very well concluded, everything tied to each other, though I have no idea how the main character, Dr Calgary could arrive to that conclusion. He didn't do very much talking, instead, he was the one who got talked to! But somehow, he got the answers to everything and made a beautiful ending for the whole tragedy and fo ...more
Apr 23, 2013 lia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I couldn't find the latest edition that was republished by Gramedia so the old one has to suffice (actually the latest cover was so good i bought it despite having read it before).

Anyhoo, good old 'who done it' mystery from Agatha Christie. Everytime i read books by AC (I re-read almost every one of them for several times) it transport me back to the day when i was a teenager and really love spending my whole day in the local library reading Agatha Christie. What a wonderful memory! I haven't s
Bit of a slow start, but understandable as a slow build up is required to fully appreciate the characters; once this was established, the story took more shape and I was keen to find out who did in fact murder Mrs Argyle. Christie is great at making you think deeply about "justice" and often I found myself sympathising with the Argyle family and thinking "why rake up the past - what's done is done, why did Dr Calgary have to come here and upset everyone", but on the flip side, I found myself kee ...more
Jul 30, 2015 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The opening is brilliantly atmospheric; a stranger climbs the hill up from the Ferry at dusk one cold evening, asking for directions to Sunny Point, a house still called Viper’s Point by the locals. The stranger is Arthur Calgary, a scientist recently returned from an Arctic expedition; he has important information for the family at Sunny Point. News, which when delivered will change everything for the shocked members of the Argyle family.

Full review:
Dec 15, 2015 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Io credevo di portare a termine qualcosa, dando, per così dire, una conclusione diversa a un capitolo già scritto. Ma mi si è fatto capire che, invece di 'metter fine', stavo 'dando inizio' a qualcosa. Qualcosa di completamente nuovo."
"In realtà non era sollievo, quello che provavano, e nemmeno gratitudine. Era apprensione... paura di quel che potrebbe capitare in seguito."

Non posso proprio fare spoiler, perciò non dirò nulla sulla trama... dico solo che questo romanzo mi è piaciuto molto,
Manuel Alfonseca
A man has died in prison after being convicted of the murder of his foster mother. Two years later, his innocence is proved by a surprising alibi. How will this fact affect the other suspects, specially those who are innocent?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Agatha Christie L...: November 2015 - Order by Innocence 19 50 Nov 29, 2015 07:52PM  
  • The Scoop and Behind the Screen
  • Detection Unlimited (Inspector Hemingway Mystery #4)
  • Light Thickens (Roderick Alleyn, #32)
  • The Life and Times of Hercule Poirot
  • Agatha Christie: A Biography
  • The Case Is Closed (Miss Silver, #2)
  • Frequent Hearses (Gervase Fen, #7)
  • L'aiguille creuse (Arsène Lupin, #3)
  • Agatha Christie
  • Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days
  • Have His Carcase  (Lord Peter Wimsey, #8)
Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is t
More about Agatha Christie...

Share This Book

“He felt lost without his hatred–lost and afraid.
About Mickey Argyle”
“Ma non aveva mai tenuto conto della natura umana. Aveva sempre considerato le persone come casi da trattare e problemi da risolvere. Non aveva mai capito che ciascun essere umano era diverso, aveva le proprie idiosincrasie, avrebbe reagito diversamente. Già allora l'aveva ammonita a non aspettarsi troppo. Ma lei si era sempre aspettata troppo, anche se non voleva ammetterlo, e così era sempre rimasta delusa.” 0 likes
More quotes…