“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”: An interesting take on the mystery genre

     “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon is a realistic fiction novel about a boy named Christopher and the mysterious death of his neighbor Mrs. Shears’ dog Wellington.

     Christopher is a fifteen-year-old boy with autism, his mother died two years prior and he lives alone with his father. Christopher is very good at math, but not very good at understanding people; he loves dogs, space, the color red and mysteries. He hates anything yellow or brown.

     The book begins with Christopher finding Wellington dead in Mrs. Shears’ front yard, stabbed with a garden fork. This sets off a chain of events which leads Christopher to uncover multiple secrets about his family and neighbors, as well as who Wellington’s killer was.

     Compared to many other mysteries I’ve read, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” stood out. When you begin reading it, it’s hard to see how it could become such a long story because at face value it seems relatively tame and simple. In fact at multiple points in the book, I was left wondering how the story would continue or if Christopher truly would ever find Wellington’s murderer, but each time I was surprised by a new plot twist that uncovered more layers and mysteries in Christopher’s tale.

     Christopher is really a fascinating character; in most cases his sheer stubbornness to solve the mystery of who killed Wellington was one of the only things that kept the story moving forward. For example in chapter 59 he explains. “But when other people tell you what you can’t do they don’t do it like this. So I decide for myself what I am going to do and what I am not going to do” (30).

     In fact at some points his stubbornness was almost frustrating. At multiple points while reading the book I would find myself cheering him on or shouting at him in annoyance.

     I stayed surprisingly engaged while reading this book. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” was certainly an interesting and entertaining read; it did a wonderful job with portraying Christopher’s autism, and I would happily recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting mystery novel or just for a fun read.


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