2008: 42. Ordeal By Innocence

“It was dusk when he came to the ferry.  

He could have been there much earlier.  The truth was he put it off as long as he could.”

Ordeal By Innocence, Agatha Christie

This is actually a really good mystery.  It’s a stand alone (i.e. none of our famous detectives appear), and it starts with a man, Dr. Calgary, who has been in the Arctic cut off from the world for two years, coming to visit a family with some very bad news.  You see, their adopted brother Jacko was convicted of killing their mother, and proclaimed his innocence the entire time.  Moreover, he claimed that he had an alibi - that a man had picked him up hitchhiking at the time the murder was supposed to have occurred.  No man ever came forward, and Jacko was convicted, and died in jail before he could hang.  However, Dr. Calgary now arrives and tells the family that he was that man.  In an incredible series of coincidences, he was hit by a car that very day and thus was in the hospital and missed the entire murder kerfluffle - then left immediately to the Arctic.  He feels that he must inform the family of the terrible news - even if it is too late.  He expects them to hate him, but what he doesn’t expect is that they will be angry with him not for telling the news, but for reopening a satisfactorily closed crime.  He doesn’t realize that with out a known murderer, the innocent will suffer...   This is an interesting twist on a “the wrong person was convicted” story, and well worth reading.

Date/Place Completed: 3/13/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Re-Read; Agatha Christie Project

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017