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VINE VOICEon 10 August 2014
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ordeal by Innocence, written by Agatha Christie, was originally published in 1958 and was a Crime Club Book Choice. It was noted at the time as one of her darker works but also as one of her favourites. It evolves around the perceptions of innocence.

This BBC Radio 4 dramatisation gives it a refreshingly updated feel whilst retaining the original storyline.
Whilst serving a sentence for killing his adoptive mother, (and protesting his innocence,) Jacko Argyle dies in prison.
His alibi for the homicide, Doctor Calgary, is subsequently involved in a road traffic accident and is in a coma, only recovering
consciousness, a little over a year later.

Upon learning of the fate of Jack Argyle, and knowing his innocence, Calgary resolves to put things right and begins an investigation to reveal the true identity of the killer. In so doing he has to persuade a sceptical senior detective, and a family,who both adopt a 'let sleeping dogs lie approach,' for entirely different reasons.

Calgary is nothing but persistent and determined much to the frustration and irritation of the family members, although he does find one ally, who is found murdered. The plot gets thicker. He patiently unravels the pieces of the jigsaw.

This slick BBC production is brilliantly presented, finely acted and richly atmospheric.

This excellent drama is ideal to play in the car, download onto your MP3 player or at home on a CD player in your favourite armchair. Recommended.
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This review is for the 2014 full cast radio dramatization of ‘Ordeal By Innocence’.

Ordeal by innocence, first published in 1958, was Agatha Christie’s 50th (I think) full length novel. It came at a time when she had established her name and reputation enough that she could break free from the confines of her ‘traditional’ stories to do something a little different, but before she reached the stage in her career where she was just churning out the same old stuff. It is probably one of her most interesting stories, and I am told it was a favourite of hers.

This has all the Christie hallmarks, a murder has been committed in a country house, it has to be one of the respectable family living there, the police are baffled and it is left to an amateur sleuth to work it all out. But it is very different to the usual tale. The murder was committed 2 years ago, a man was found guilty and died in prison. But then a witness comes forward who can clear the convicted man’s name. The focus of the book is not so much on the investigation, but on the effect that this revelation has upon the people in house. If the matter is not cleared up they will always be under suspicion, and the innocent will suffer as much as the guilty. If the mystery is solved then one of them will be revealed as a murderer. What follows is a well-drawn character study as the tensions start to explode the family apart.

This 2 hour radio dramatization is well up to the BBC’s usual standards. It provides a good clear story, getting in both the mystery and the study of a family falling to pieces. I did not recognise any of the actors, but in general they provide an array of distinctive voices that allow you to keep track of who is who. There is a decent pacing in the direction, and all in all this made for an enjoyable listen. The story is split across two discs, roughly an hour per disc. The discs come in a fold out jewel case. Liner notes are the only let down, with the same short description of Christie that appears on every BBC Christie audio drama release and a list of cast members and production team. The BBC could take a few notes from NAXOS on how audio book liner notes should be done.

All in all though a fine rendition of a great book. 5 stars.
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on 26 November 1998
Jack Argyle is acquitted, two years after his death, of murdering his mother, and the revelation of his innocence casts new doubt upon everyone in the Argyle household. Thus begins this Agatha Christie whodunit. Though it cannot compare to her earlier, better works, ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE does hold its own.
ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE is most notable for the remarkable strength of all the characterizations, the dark, menacing atmosphere, and the fascinating themes of guilt and innocence that Christie brings up. The plot is not as intricate or complex as her masterpieces, but the clues are laid with absolutely impeccable skill, and the solution is both clever and surprising. One of her best late books.
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on 7 April 2015
Two years after Rachel Argyle’s murder, following the conviction of her adopted son for the crime and his subsequent death in jail, new evidence comes to light showing that he was in fact innocent and so the case is reopened. Someone in the closed circle of the family and its closest associates is naturally going to be less than delighted at this news...

It’s a setup somewhere between Crooked House and Five Little Pigs, though this is a slightly more realistic offering from Agatha Christie and so is big on the psychology of the culprits – more in the line of The Hollow – and lacking the anfractuous delights of her most accomplished work. It is perhaps a bit too long, too, though it paints a very vivid picture of the damage caused by this purportedly good news and, until the frantic final couple of chapters (containing, nevertheless, a beautifully subtle clue), is content to simply play out the type of character interactions that seems to have become Christie’s purview in this later phase of her career.

The reversal in the portrayal of the seemingly blamelessly altruistic victim aside, there’s little here that will interest anyone new to Christie: I was delighted to see her trying something new, building on the slow-burn structure of 4.50 from Paddington, but even I felt my attention flagging at times. Had this been an unfamiliar author, I doubtless would have skipped a few pages here and there. If your perception of Christie is all drawing rooms and afternoon tea, you may be interested at the lack of capriciousness on display here, but she has written better, more compelling books (even though she wasn’t always a fan of them herself...).

Cautiously recommended.
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on 16 May 2013
i loved it because it was a story i wasn't familiar with and its always a real treat to read an agatha christie
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on 19 May 2015
One of Agatha Christies best stories without Poirot or Miss Marple. Once again the BBC have produced a top notch adaption of one of Christie's books. A great way to lose yourself for 90 minutes in this wonderful radio drama. If you're a fan of radio drama or Agatha Christie stories then you can't go wrong with this.
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on 24 August 2013
This book strikes me as being a bit different from the usual Christie novels. We see Dr Calgary suddenly arrive at the Argyle residence to tell them that Jack who was convicted of killing his mother is in fact innocent. This plunges the family into more turmoil trying not to suspect each other of murder, but actually wondering which of them at the same time.

Can Dr Calgary and the local Police catch the real killer before another murder takes place? A very easy book to read, but I found it didn't flow as well as the Poirot and Miss Marple novels.

Would recommend
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Despite being one of her favourites among her novels, Ordeal by Innocence has largely ignored by film and TV adaptations - there was a well-cast film in 1984 rendered all but unwatchable by a hideously inappropriate and very in-your-face score and the story was unsatisfyingly reworked as a Miss Marple story in the 2007 ITV series and given a French TV adaptation in 2009, but that's it - so it's been left to radio to attempt to do it a bit more justice. The story is certainly a good one, with a man emerging from a coma and discovering he is the only alibi for a convicted murderer who died in prison. But by trying to make amends to the man's family, he only reopens old wounds - not to mention the investigation as it becomes obvious that the real killer may be one of the family who are trying to put the crime behind them - and destroys more lives, both figuratively and literally. Unfortunately the execution doesn't always live up to the premise: for all the secrets and resentments uncovered, there's that aura of cosiness to the business of murder that tends to always be the default position for Christie adaptations, and the happy ending for two characters seems a particularly unlikely bit of reassurance for the readers. This BBC radio adaptation isn't able to do much about that, though it does make its hero's single-minded pursuit of the truth despite the consequences for others less than admirable. But while it isn't able to add the genuinely tragic dimension the novel aspires to, it's a well executed production, even if it is one that doesn't resonate after it's over.
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on 4 April 2013
Great read - read the last half of the book in a day. Great ending - you'll never guess. Read read read!
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on 11 October 2014
As a confirmed Agatha Christie fan, I did enjoy this but as I knew it was not from her pen I was looking for the old magic of her writing. I feel the presentation of her name on the packaging misleading. The story was ok.
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