The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon, is a murder mystery, where the detective is a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome. Consequently, the hero looks at the world and people in a unique and fascinating way.
Christopher Boone is a high school student in suburban England, and the murder he has chosen to solve is one the police have no interest in. It seems wrong to Christopher that the police have ignored the murder simply because the murder victim happens to be a dog. Wellington was a good dog and Christopher liked him more than he likes most people.
Someone has gruesomely killed Wellington with a pitch fork, and Christopher decides to solve the crime the way Sherlock Holmes solved the mystery of The Hound Of The Baskervilles. Of course, Sherlock Holmes himself was definitely on the Autistic Spectrum.
Christopher Boone is a wonderful, gentle person trying desperately to get along in a world he does not fit into. He is a genius at math, puzzles, and game theory, but the emotions and reactions of ordinary people are often beyond his comprehension.
His special education teacher, Siobhan, thought it would be good therapy for Christopher to write down his every day thoughts and feelings. Christopher decides to do better than that, and writes a complete book about his search for Wellington’s killer. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is that book.
In attempting to solve the murder of the dog, Christopher inadvertently uncovers the tangles of lies, deception, infidelity and betrayal that have been hidden for so long in this quiet English neighborhood.
Of course, like most people with Asperger’s Syndrome, Christopher constantly gets off track and focuses exclusively on subjects that fascinate him. Consequently, in addition to the murder mystery, the book is full of stories about famous puzzles, math problems and game solutions. This sounds like ti might be dull, but it is actually quite fascinating. It is a glimpse into a world that few of us really comprehend.
If you have a child or someone close to you with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, you will find The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time touching but also sometime quite sad. We loved the hero Christopher and it is difficult to read about the way he is sometimes treated by people who view him as “strange”.
Christopher also asks many questions that we never even thought of before. One of them, for example, has to do with Saint Christopher, who was the giant that carried the Christ child across a raging river. The name Christopher literally means “Christ-bearer” or “Christ-carrier”. In The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, Christopher Boone asks the question, “What was Saint Christopher’s name before he carried Christ across the river?”
It is this kind of inquisitive mind that allows Christopher to solve the murder of Wellington and many other mysteries as well. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time is one of the best books we have read in a very long time, and we highly recommend it.