Agatha Christie Wiki
Advertisement

In the novel Crooked House, Laurence Brown is the tutor of Eustace and Josephine Leonides and lives with the rest of the household at Three Gables. Because most of the family believe that he is having on affair with Brenda Leonides, the young second wife of Aristide Leonides, Laurence becomes a natural suspect when Aristide is found murdered.

During the Second World War, Laurence had been a Conscientious Objector. He convinced a tribunal that he just couldn't bring himself to kill someone. He was set to work at a hospital stoking boilers. Later he was given educational work. After the War, Aristide Leonides engaged him to be a tutor for his grandchildren. Charles Hayward, investigating The death of Aristide Leonides, shared some of the family's prejudice against him but nonetheless actually found him a good teacher.

Laurence's background as a Conscientious Objector at first made it unlikely that he could be the killer. But when Charles Hayward looked closely, he found that the pattern of violence actually fitted Laurence's profile. The attack on Josephine Leonides used a doorstop balanced on top of a door. It was an inaccurate, unreliable method that could easily fail. Much better to wait and strike the victim with the door stop held in the hand. But the unreliable method was just what Laurence would use--it was remote. He did not have to be around to meet the victim or see her die. Planting eserine into Aristide's bottle of insulin was likewise a remote method and again, a method someone like Laurence would use.

Advertisement