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

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  18,645 ratings  ·  1,405 reviews
Recovering from amnesia, Dr. Arthur Calgary discovers that he alone could have provided an alibi in a scandalous murder trial. It ended in the conviction of Jacko Argyle. The victim was Jacko's own mother, and to make matters worse, he died in prison. But the young man's innocence means that someone else killed the Argyle matriarch, and would certainly kill again to remain ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 19th 2002 by Minotaur Books (first published November 3rd 1958)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,645 ratings  ·  1,405 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Ordeal by Innocence
carol.
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Simona B
“That was the trouble with people who had no legal sense of discretion. They insisted on saying things which were much better not said.”

Every time Christie makes her stories revolve around a big and extraordinarily dysfunctional family, I invariably find myself utterly spellbound. The same happened with Appointment With Death; but the mystery in the latter was certainly more satisfying, as I see it. I would have liked -and expected- a more imaginative solution, I think.

In brief, not one of Chris
...more
daph pink ♡
4✨

DECEMBER 2019- book 16

(I don't review her books, never could because honestly I will be bias because I love her. )

For all who don't know , I am in love with Agatha Christie ever since I started reading her books( 5 years ago) and I planned to read a book of her each month so that I don't run out of her books !
...more
Hamad
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

“Justice is, after all, in the hands of men and men are fallible.”


It is no big secret that I am such a fan of Agatha Christie and I pick up one of her books whenever I am in the mood for a good mystery/ thriller from an author I trust. I have been reading much fantasy lately, I read exactly 20 consecutive fantasy books before I decided to take a break and read something different. I am glad I did because Agatha did not disappoint once agai
...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: Calgary came to the end of the nice new road with the nice new houses on either side of it, each with its eighth of an acre of garden; rock plants, chrysanthemums, roses, salvias, geraniums, each owner displaying his or her individual garden taste.

At the end of the road was a gate with SUNNY POINT in Gothic letters on it. He opened the gate, passed through, and went along a short drive. The house was there ahead of him, a well-built, characterless modern house, gabled and porched. It mi
...more
Nandakishore Varma
This is one of those standalone mysteries written by Dame Agatha which features none of her favourite sleuths - and it's fantastic and insanely readable. Jacko Argyll, the black sheep of the Argyll family who has been convicted for the murder of his mother, dies in prison after protesting his innocence for two years: an alibi involving a hitched ride which he could not prove in court. However, it turns out that for once, Jacko had been telling the truth: Dr. Arthur Calgary who had given him a li ...more
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
“How can I go on living here and suspecting everybody ?”

I usually avoid comparing movies to books as in comparing apples to oranges....but since I graced my teeth on this Christie story first through Prime's version of the haunting tale, I can't help but constantly compare when reading and reviewing. I knew when watching the three-part series that Christie would not have been racy enough to put in the themes of child abuse, abortion and molestation in her book, and I was right when reading this
...more
BrokenTune
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
‘All right. It’s your say so–and you’re sticking to it. Jacko didn’t kill her. Very well then–who did kill her? You haven’t thought about that one, have you? Think about it now. Think about it–and then you’ll begin to see what you’re doing to us all…’

I've been reading away on my Agatha Christie project for a while, and although the books tend to, with exceptions, follow a formula, there are other issues or themes that Christie discusses in the different books. This could be anything from discuss
...more
mark monday
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it
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
...more
jade
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: murder mystery fans with a fondness for fucked-up family dynamics
Recommended to jade by: Shannon
Shelves: murder-mysteries
“justice is, after all, in the hands of men and men are fallible.”

two years ago, the argyle family matriarch was murdered, and the youngest son was found guilty for the crime. the argyles have put the whole tragedy behind them, and are trying to move forward -- until dr. calgary shows up and tells them that the youngest son had an alibi all along.

pandemonium ensues as the police reopens the two-year-old case, and the family members start suspecting each other. could it be the father
...more
Chaitra
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
...more
Vikas Singh
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
One of Christie’s must read thrillers. Written in her true who-dun-it fashion the plot has an interesting beginning. True a murder has been committed and innocent person is jailed where he later dies. The stage is set and there is usual bunch of suspects. It is not the police but an amateur sleuth who finally solves the case. Great read.
Sara
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Agatha Christie once said this was her favourite book she had written and its easy to see why, Ordeal of Innocence proves once again, that Christie is the Queen of whodunits.
Shabbeer Hassan
A classic Christie tale which explores the central theme - "If you love someone dearly, how far would you go to protect them". Instead of Poirot or Marple, we have a bespectacled geophysicist investigating a crime to which he was an alibi to the hanged murderer, in a family which is dysfunctional at its core and only a thin veneer of sanity covering it up. As you read, our protagonist peels those layers to reveal the true murderer and the hidden crime of many years ago.

My Rating - 3.5/5
...more
Kavita
Apr 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: uk, mystery
I am not sure how to rate this. On one hand, it had all the elements I love in a murder mystery - murder within the family, a large number of suspects, family drama, and some humour. But Ordeal by Innocence also bashes you on the head with Christie's private views about adoption and heredity, which are basically utter nonsense. Every chapter contained a polemic, expressed by different people, against adoption and how a mother can never be a mother unless she gives birth. It's annoying to read, e ...more
Bruce Beckham
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
I think my watching of the BBC adaptation shortly before reading it hampered my judgement of this book. However, I still believe I would have rated it ‘disappointing’.

I had heard that the plot had been altered for the screen version – hmm, worth investigating – but I couldn’t get out of my head the paradox of the location (‘Sunny Point’ and ‘Drymouth’ – filmed in Scotland? Come on!) – nor the actors’ faces that were emblazoned on the cover of the new paperback edition I bought.

The ‘original’ sto
...more
Amina
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first three stars rating for an Agatha Christie book (and I can't believe it)
I liked this one, but it was kinda disappointing, the events were a bit dull, I could figure out half of what happened pretty easily, but the second half in the end was great.
...more
Katherine
”’It’s not the guilty who matter. It’s the innocent.’”

4.5 out of 5 stars

I’m beginning to think that I prefer Christie’s standalone titles over her more famous Poirot novels. While I’ve mildly enjoyed those, I adored And Then There Were None. And the completion of this novel confirms my suspicions, because this book was fantastic.

Dr. Arthur Calgery, having just come back from a years long expedition to Antarctica, finds himself in a dire situation. Before he left, he offered a lift to a hitch
...more
Meave
Aug 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Dr. Laurel Young
Feb 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
DJ
I found this one a bit difficult to get into. Though I think that might have more to do with me and the headspace I am in right now than the book itself.

The plot was good, a typical whodunnit, but the characters were a bit... lacking, I think.
Kate (GirlReading)
An entertaining mystery and one in which I didn’t entirely predict ‘whodunit’ but also didn’t care all too much about who did it either. The characters were okay but all felt very similar and somewhat flat. However, it was an entertaining read, just not as gritty or addictive as I was hoping it would be, having read and loved another of Agatha Christie’s titles a few months previous to this.

TW: discussion of suicide, ableism, sexism
Jaksen
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Yeah, I'm giving it two stars due to an enormous plot hole. I mean it's so big you can fit a submarine in it, or maybe a battleship, a couple of cruisers, a destroyer. (I so want to play classic Battleship lately.) Seriously, I'll put it in the spoiler tags. Meanwhile...

I went on a Christie campaign in the 80's and read everything my local library had. (There was no inter-library system at the time.) I thought I'd done good, read almost every Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and those Tuppence-and-wh
...more
Bill Lynas
In many Agatha Christie stories there is a crime & a large number of suspects. Here she shakes things up a little by having the murderer already sentenced & in prison. He then dies of pneumonia & (if that wasn't enough) someone comes along to prove he was actually innocent.
Unfortunately far too much of the novel is taken up with characters discussing who the real murderer might be & this soon becomes so repetitive that I no longer cared who committed the crime.
I think the story would work better
...more
Caidyn (he/him/his)
3.5/5

I liked this better than the miniseries.

The miniseries isn't bad, keep that in mind. It's actually very good and I really liked watching it. However, it's very melodramatic and packed full of *~controversial~* stuff that misdirects and kind of links in with current events, such as the #MeToo movement. And, when I decided to read the book after watching it, it really came across as campy.

Mr. and Mrs. Argyle get married and Mrs. Argyle wants to have a family. However, they couldn't get pregna
...more
John
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: agatha-christie
After watching a recent tv adaptation a few months ago with a bizarre ending I decided to read the book. WTF the tv adaptation was awful. After reading the book where there is a completely different murderer which made sense. Dr. Calgary also is completely different as a character and in my view better.

Mary and Philip work better in the book as do the other characters Mickey, Tina, Hester and the wicked Jacko. The best thing about the tv adaptation was the house and background location. In term
...more
Lobstergirl
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Royal Sappers
So dull.
Roman Clodia
One of my least favourite Christie's, this is tiresome and dull, and suffers from not having a detective to pull the whole thing together. Dr Calgary is a poor substitute and doesn't inspire us with confidence that he has to be told multiple times that the implication of him providing an alibi for Jacko means someone else must be guilty.

The characters are lifeless clones that we've met before in other books and quite a few of the relationships are a bit icky... Christie seems to be cruising and
...more
Ariel
This is one of the last Christie's I'll be reviewing for the Cool Down With AC challenge this summer. I fell a little behind schedule when I needed a break from the Christie a week schedule I was on. This is one of the stand alone novels and was one Agatha Christie's top ten personal favorites making a must read.

In this novel we have Dr. Arthur Calgary, who after having suffered a concussion, suddenly remembers an important piece of information in a murder case. Unfortunately by the time he deli
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Adivinha quem não voltou pra casa?
  • O Segredo das Larvas
  • Spider's Web
  • The Unexpected Guest
  • Sei lá, viu!
  • Uma Mulher no Escuro
  • Bom Dia, Verônica
  • O Vilarejo
  • Black Coffee (Hercule Poirot, #45.5)
  • A maldição do carneiro de ouro
  • Porém Bruxa
  • O Bebê de Laila
  • Se não fosse por você, eu não estaria aqui: Cartas para quando eu era adolescente
  • Digo te amo pra todos que me fodem bem
  • O Quarto Branco
  • O sorriso da hiena
  • Entre estantes
See similar books…
43,759 followers
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 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in Romance. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in t
...more

Articles featuring this book

It's no secret that television is getting in on the book adaptation game. With so many channels—along with Netflix, Hulu,...
80 likes · 18 comments
“How can I go on living here and suspecting everybody ?” 24 likes
“He felt lost without his hatred–lost and afraid.
About Mickey Argyle”
8 likes
More quotes…