ORDEAL OF INNOCENCE [Amazon Prime Video] and ORDEAL OF INNOCENCE By Agatha Christie

Whether you watch the Amazon Prime Video version of Ordeal of Innocence or read Agatha Christie’s 1958 novel of the same name (I did both), you’re going to meet a most dysfunctional and repellent family. Rachel Argyle (Anna Chancellor), the matriarch of a wealthy family, adopts five children. All of them are troubled. Jacko Argyle (Anthony Boyle) is accused and convicted of murdering Rachel Argyle. Jacko dies in prison. A year later, a man shows up on the doorstep of the Argyle mansion, claiming he has evidence that Jacko was innocent of the murder. The man, Dr. Calgary (Luke Treadaway), says he was part of an Arctic expedition and just recently returned to learn about this sensational case.

Once Jacko is cleared of the crime, the family members all become suspects. Hester (Ella Purnell), flighty and fragile, hated Rachel for being right about her lack of acting talent–and her taste in men. Tina (Crystal Clarke) and Mickey’s (Christian Cooke) secret relationship gives them motive for killing Rachel. Mary’s polio-stricken husband, Philip (Matthew Goode), seems to know more than he’s telling. Leo, Rachel’s husband (Bill Nighy), is cozy with his secretary, Gwenda Vaughn (Alice Eve). Kirsten (Morven Christie), the housekeeper, knows too much.

In typical Agatha Christie fashion, everyone looks guilty. Everyone has something to hide. My only quibble with Ordeal of Innocence is with the downbeat mood of both the book and the mini-series. The only comic relief is Alice Eve as Gwenda. Do you have a favorite Agatha Christie mystery? GRADE: B (for both)

22 thoughts on “ORDEAL OF INNOCENCE [Amazon Prime Video] and ORDEAL OF INNOCENCE By Agatha Christie

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I liked Ordeal By Innocence better than I expected. I thought it well done. I’m not a fan of Christie. I read some back in my teens but never warmed to her. I liked the standalones better than the series. Never liked either Poirot or Miss Marple. Probably liked Murder of Roger Ackroyd best.

      1. Steve Oerkfitz

        Don’t like mysteries solved by little old ladies. Found Poirot more a caricature than a character.

  2. Deb

    My favorite Christie is the very atypical ENDLESS NIGHT, which has a twist that—when I first read the book—left me gobsmacked. I believe it’s the closest thing to noir that Christie ever wrote. I also love the “travelogue” books: EVIL UNDER THE SUN, DEATH ON THE NILE, and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. But, being a huge Christie fan, I’m inclined to like almost everything she wrote.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, I discovered Agatha Christie in a Ninth Grade Study Hall. I read The Mysterious Affair at Styles that day and then found a dozen more Christies at our nearby used bookstore and binged on them. I liked the Christie mysteries from the 1940s the best–she was at the top of her game during that decade!

      1. Rick Robinson

        It seems George read everything by the end of high school, having read every Christie, Sayers, Chandler, Hammett, Rex Stout, all the SF available up to that time and just about everything else. Every time there’s a post here about a book or author, he says “oh, I read that (or all those) when I was a teenager.” Wow. By the way, we did not have “study hall” in high school, we had classes all day.

      2. george Post author

        Rick, somehow I always had one or two Study Halls each day of classes. When teachers were absent, sometimes the school couldn’t get a substitute in that area–Chemistry, Biology, Advanced Algebra, etc.–so those classes turned into Study Halls. So I always packed a book with me. Later in my High School years, I would feign illness to stay home and read.

  3. Jeff Meyerson

    I’m with Deb on a lot of her choices. I was always proud of myself when I was able to figure out (rather than just guess) one of her tricky plots. One that comes to mind is PERIL AT END HOUSE, a plot twist still being used today! When we first started reading them in the early 1970s (though I’d read AND THEN THERE WERE NONE in the ’60s), Jackie liked the “young adventurer” books like the Tommy & Tuppence series and things like THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS and THE SEVEN DIALS MYSTERY. I preferred Poirot. We haven’t watched ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE yet, but since Jackie loves Bill Nighy, it is already on our list.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I liked ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE on AMAZON PRIME VIDEO but some purists aren’t going to appreciate the differences between the mini-series and Christie’s book.

  4. Jeff Meyerson



    What’s the point? I could easily pick a half dozen more, or two.

  5. Patti Abbott

    My list would be close to Jeff’s. I read everyone but doubt I would today. I thought ORDEAL was one of the darker ones for sure.

  6. Michael Padgett

    I blew through most of Christie’s novels in the 60s and 70s and most likely read this one although I don’t specifically remember it. I definitely preferred the standalones to the series novels. For the sake of the novels I tolerated Poirot and Marple but didn’t like either of them. Also didn’t much care for the Amazon miniseries, although I can watch Bill Nighy in anything. Between this and the recent movies “Crooked House” and “Murder on the Orient Express”, Christie adaptations aren’t doing very well right now. The lone exception was “And Then There Were None”, a miniseries from a couple of years ago on, I think, BBC America.

  7. Rick Robinson

    No thanks to the streaming video thingie, I don’t want to watch a movie on a 3 inch screen or whatever. I’d read the book instead, which is what everyone should do, in my opinion, no surprise there, I’m sure. Besides, I don’t have all those fancy extras to get stuff like this, such as HULU, Acorn, Netflix Streaming and all the rest.

      1. george Post author

        Rick, I watch AMAZON PRIME VIDEO on my 65″ inch SONY 4K HDTV. A quick call to AMAZON Tech Support will get you up and running in minutes!

      2. Jeff Meyerson

        You can also watch youtube on the television, as we did recently when Jackie wanted to look at Aretha’s scene on MURPHY BROWN. Also, since it isn’t available on video, we have AMERICAN HOT WAX ready to watch on youtube on the television. It wasn’t hard to find.

      3. george Post author

        Jeff, Patrick set up YouTube, Netflix, and HULU on our SONY. But now that we have a new DVR box, everything needs to be reinstalled. Sigh.

  8. wolf

    I also read a lot of Agatha’s books as a teenager- couldn’t decide which is my favourite, there are so many of them …
    If pressed I’d probably say “Zehn kleine Negerlein” (Ten Little Niggers) aka And then there were none.
    Yes, these not so nice titles were used in Britain and Germany until the 60s …


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