Where Ideas Grow

A blog for students of creative writing at York St John University

Book Review: The curious incident of the dog in the night-time

By Beth Percy

“I like dogs. You always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk.”

Mark haddon


ISBN: 9780099450252

Author: Mark Haddon

Publisher: David Fickling Books

Publication date: May 2003

Page count: 274

Plot Summary (No spoilers)

Christopher, a 15 year old boy with Asperger’s, finds that his next door neighbour’s dog has been murdered. He endeavours to find the killer and bring them to justice as it is the right thing to do. Using his love of Sherlock Holmes’ logical thinking, Christopher investigates the street and its inhabitants – whether they want to be investigated or not is another thing entirely. Along the way, he discovers some truths that he wasn’t expecting to find.

An endearing and, at times, sad look at the world through a new and innocent perspective.


  1. The diagrams/drawings used throughout really helps illustrate Christopher’s thought process. Particularly the smiley faces at the start really translate and explain how he doesn’t understand certain stuff due to his Asperger’s.
  2. The tone really makes you sympathetic for Christopher and really highlights how needlessly complicated and often unfair life can be. You just want someone to just listen to him!
  3. The often simple statements are very effective in both gut-punch moments and comedy.
  4. Whilst certain plot twists weren’t entirely unexpected, the emotional impact of their reveals were exceptionally strong. It is believable as Christopher’s perspective, but also effectively conveys the mixture of emotions and conflicts within each adult.
  5. The book is commended for its thoughtful representation of Christopher’s condition and I 100% agree. This isn’t just a story with a character who happens to have Asperger’s; the murder would not have been investigated and solved without Christopher and his unique perspective on the world.
  6. Toby is the best character.

Critical Reception


The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize

The Whitbread Book of the Year Award

The Alex Award

10/10 would recommend

Fun fact: there is both a children’s edition (clean) and an adults edition (has swear words).


It was adapted into a stage play for the National Theatre in 2012 by Simon Stephens in collaboration with Frantic Assembly – a physical theatre company run by Stephen Hoggett and Scott Graham. They brought a whole new dimension to the story using their unique blend of theatre, movement and sound to not only enhance the story but to also illustrate Christopher’s inner world. The production won many awards and went on to perform in the West End and on Broadway.

It is also being considered for a film adaptation.

Enjoyed our book review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time? Then check out more of our thoughts with our other reviews! Why not submit your own as well?

Next Post

Previous Post

© 2024 Where Ideas Grow

Theme by Anders Norén