Christopher is an intelligent youth who lives in the functional hinterland of autism--every day is an investigation for him because of all the aspects of human life that he does not quite get. When the dog next door is killed with a garden fork, Christopher becomes quietly persistent in his desire to find out what has happened and tugs away at the world around him until a lot of secrets unravel messily.
Haddon makes an intelligent stab at how it feels to, for example, not know how to read the faces of the people around you, to be perpetually spooked by certain colours and certain levels of noise, to hate being touched to the point of violent reaction. Life is difficult for the difficult and prickly Christopher in ways that he only partly understands; this avoids most of the obvious pitfalls of novels about disability because it demands that we respect--perhaps admire--him rather than pity him. --Roz Kaveney
"The clash between Christopher's view of the world and the way it looks to the rest of us makes this an extraordinarily moving, often blackly funny read. It is hard to think of anyone who would not be moved and delighted by this book, so the decision to publish it simultaneously for older children and adults is certainly well-founded" (Jill Slotover Financial Times)
"Brilliantly inventive, full of dazzling set-pieces, unbearably sad, yet also skilfully dodging any encounters with sentimentality, this isn't simply the most original novel I've read in years . . . It's also one of the best" (The Times)
"A stroke of genius, as the advantages of having a naive, literal-minded boy in the driving seat are manifold . . . We do learn what it might feel like to have Asperger's Syndrome" (David Newnham TES)
"The book gave me that rare, greedy feeling of: this is so good I want to read it all at once but I mustn't or it will be over too soon" (Kate Kellaway Observer)
'Lots of things are mysteries. But that doesn't mean there isn't an answer to them'
This is Christopher's murder mystery story. There are also no lies in this story because Christopher can't tell lies. Christopher does not like strangers or the colours yellow or brown or being touched. On the other hand, he knows all the countries in the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7507. When Christopher decides to find out who killed the neighbour's dog, his mystery story becomes more complicated than he could have ever predicted.
BACKSTORY: Meet the author and learn about the background to Christopher's story.
From the Back Cover
'The most original novel I've read in years' The Times
Fifteen-year-old Christopher has a photographic memory. He understands maths. He understands science. What he can't understand are other human beings.
When he finds his neighbour's dog, Wellington, lying dead on the lawn, he decides to track down the killer and write a murder mystery about it. But in doing so, he uncovers other mysteries that threaten to bring his whole world crashing down around him.
'Believe the hype: a brilliant, heart-warming book' Scotsman
Winner of the Booktrust Teenage Prize, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
But I could not be certain about this.
I went through Mrs Shears gate, closing it behind me. I walked onto her lawn and knelt beside the dog. I put my hand on the muzzle of the dog. It was still warm.
The dog was called Wellington. It belonged to Mrs Shears who was our friend. She lived on the opposite side of the road, two houses to the left.
Wellington was a poodle. Not one of the small poodles that have hairstyles, but a big poodle. It had curly black fur, but when you got close you could see that the skin underneath the fur was a very pale yellow, like chicken.
I stroked Wellington and wondered who had killed him, and why.