Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}'s Reviews > Ordeal by Innocence

Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie
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it was ok
bookshelves: crime-mystery-thriller, classics, kindle, read-in-2018, stage-and-screen
Read 2 times. Last read April 1, 2018.

Book vs. 2018 BBC Adaptation = Adaptation wins.

Book Review

(1) The picture painted of Rachel Argyll's character, our murder victim, was an interesting one. She becomes a collector of orphaned and unwanted children in order to fill a hole in her life that can't be filled, and while she looks after their every physical need, she's as guilty of neglect as the parents of those unwanted children in her care. She's unable to love. She shows no affection for her husband or her adopted children. They are things to be manipulated and controlled with money - a side effect of being rich, perhaps.

(2) Plot Hole Central, which means the ending doesn't make sense. (view spoiler)

(3) The killer is someone so obvious that I dismissed them as a red herring. I was disappointed when I found out.

Conclusion: This is definitely not Christie's best work, far from it.

2018 BBC Adaption Review

Three hours in total. The first 2 hours were utter tedium - my attention drifted so often I had to rewind bits to check I hadn't missed anything. Nope, nothing much happens, apart from some swearing and crass sexual insults for shock value.

Part of the reason for the boredom was the portrayal of the characters. Unlike the book, all of them were horrible people. There was no trace of subtlety, ambiguity, nuance and naivety which made these characters flawed yet relatable.

I was also annoyed that historical elements had been whitewashed, such as the source of Philip's paralysis. In the book, it's polio. In the BBC adaption, it's a car crash.

Everything seemed exaggerated and sensationalized and that was rubbing me up the wrong way, especially Gwenda's absurd, cheap-looking wig. Seriously, you're the BBC, buy a better wig.

That third hour, though - that's where the action was, the juicy motives came thick and fast. Hester's was the most abhorrent. (view spoiler) If anyone had done that to me, they'd suffer a slow and very torturous death. To be violated like that, I can think of nothing worse. This doesn't happen in the book.

Other differences include the killer. Three murders are committed in the BBC version instead of two, though it is the same characters who die. The new killer,(view spoiler)

What's most notable in this change of killer is the amending of Jack's relationships. (view spoiler) After Jack's vilification throughout, this revelation humanizes him. He sees his outrageous behaviour in a new light. It fits Christie's narrative.

The above alterations made sense, along with the change to Dr. Calgary's "amnesia". The reason he doesn't come forward sooner isn't that he went on an expedition - he was supposed to be heading there, but he ended up in a psychiatric hospital instead. Schizophrenia seemed to be his issue. He travels to the Argyll's as soon as he's released. His fragile mental state and vulnerability is well played by Luke Treadaway.

So much happened in that third and last hour to rectify the damage done in the first two. Action-wise, it made the first two hours look like a recording of tumbleweed blowing in the wind. I wouldn't blame anyone for giving up before getting to that non-stop brilliant ending.

Book vs. 2018 BBC Adaptation = Adaptation wins.


Finished with minutes to go before the BBC adaptation is aired tonight. Book & Adaption review to come.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 5, 2016 – Shelved as: wishlist
March 5, 2016 – Shelved
March 5, 2016 – Shelved as: crime-mystery-thriller
March 5, 2016 – Shelved as: classics
April 1, 2018 – Started Reading
April 1, 2018 – Shelved as: kindle
April 1, 2018 – Finished Reading
April 2, 2018 – Shelved as: read-in-2018
April 15, 2018 – Shelved as: stage-and-screen

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