Tag Archive: Nick Charles

Jun 15

Book Review – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

WHAT’S PLAYING: Solomon Burke “The Judgment”

This week’s second book is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.



Christopher Boone is a 15-year old autistic savant in Swindon,England. He hates being touched, cannot tell a lie, or understand metaphors or jokes. He is a whiz at math and enjoys puzzles. When he finds Wellington, the neighbor’s poodle, skewered on a pitchfork, he sets out to solve the mystery and write a true account of his detective work. In doing so, he stumbles upon the messy, illogical, emotionally complicated secrets of his parents and their neighbors.

I absolutely loved this book. I started reading it after breakfast and didn’t look up again until I was done. The thing that makes this book so compulsively readable is Christopher who, despite his autism or maybe even because of it, is a beautifully rendered, original and nuanced character. Haddon puts us deep inside Christopher’s mind, so deep in fact, that I found myself questioning the common sense and erratic emotionalism of the so-called normal people around him.

His solo journey from Swindon to London is just as suspenseful and harrowing as any scene in a hardboiled detective novel. He literally sees everything around him and is unable to edit the onslaught of sensory data in a new environment. And he is afraid of strangers and ill-equipped to ask for their help.

In fact, Christopher is ultimately more hard-boiled than any gumshoe in previous detective fiction. Unlike Sam Spade or Nick Charles, he has no sentimental streak, no underground reservoir of emotional identification with other human beings — although he is fond of dogs.

This book is a prime example of how character defines story. In the hands of a less talented author or told by any other narrator, the plot would have felt melodramatic and maybe even a bit boring. But Haddon manages to pull it off without a hitch. An excellent read!


Favorite Line/Image:  It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs. Shears’s house. Its eyes were closed. It looked s if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog. The points of the fork must have gone all the way through the dog and into the ground because the fork had not fallen over. I decided that the dog was probably killed with the fork because I could not see any other wounds in the dog and I do not think you would stick a garden fork into a dog after it had died for some other reason, like cancer, for example, or a road accident. But I could not be certain about this.


Bottom Line:  Read it! Read it now! Seriously, why aren’t you reading it yet?


Coming Up Next: Pay Me in Flesh by K. Bennet


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Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/06/book-review-the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time/