I’ve read a lot of Agatha Christie lately. Well, re-read is more like it. See, Dame Agatha is more to me than the undisputed Queen of Crime novels. She is an inspiration. She is also the one who wrote the first ‘adult’ book I ever read. I was eight, or nine maybe –yes, nine probably- and I went from Enid Blyton to murders with The Body in the Library. I’ve read most of what she wrote, all those murders thoroughly plotted and I’ve enjoyed the ride. More than that, I decided I wanted to be part of it and become a writer too. But that’s another story, the one I want to tell you about today is one of my favorite of hers. It doesn’t involve Poirot, or Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence or Parker Pyne. Ordeal by Innocence is a story told backwards, sort of, through flashbacks. The murder of Rachel Argyle has taken place a couple of years ago. Jacko Argyle, her adopted son, has been convicted, and hung. But one night, under a showering rain, Dr. Arthur Calgary knocks at the Argyles’ door. He is here to provide an alibi for Jacko who was with him at the time of the murder. The news should be relief for the family, but it isn’t. Evryone was too happy that Jacko, bad seed and constantly broke Jacko, was the one who killed their mother because she refused to pay for his debts. This is not an idyllic, loving family. The children were all adopted after the war, and Rachel wasn’t as generous and caring as she was authoritative and controlling. And if Jacko didn’t kill her, it means one of them did it and it’s not a pleasant idea. Arthur will investigate anyways, because he thinks he owes it to Jacko and that makes for a thrilling story. I loved it. I loved it because of that initial mistake, that missed opportunity that can’t be repaired. Like Lady Macbeth would say: ‘The deed is done and cannot be undone’. It seems unfair that Jacko was convicted and killed for a murder he didn’t commit, but is it really? He was not a likeable person, but did he deserve to die? Those are the questions Dame Agatha must have wondered about when she wrote that brilliant piece; and she now serves them to us. With a plate full of murders. Enjoy!