Also published as a play.
The story begins with Christopher Boone, narrating the story in the first person, present tense, discovering a dead dog in his neighbours garden.
The dog has been impaled with a garden fork. Christopher has an unusual psychology - he can't tell lies, his psychology makes it difficult to filter what he says in terms of 'regular' social norms, and he likes mystery stories where his hero - typically a detective - solves the mystery by accumulating facts.
The dead dog is a fact, and the reason it has been murdered, and by whom, is a mystery. Christopher decides to solve the mystery.
Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger Syndrome. He is very good at maths and patterns, but he finds human beings difficult to understand. They don't always tell the truth.
Apparently they say things that mean something other than what they say. He can't see any good logical reason to behave like this.
Haddon and The Curious Incident won the Whitbread Book Awards for Best Novel and Book of the Year, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book, and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.
As a writer for The Guardian remarked, "Unusually, it was published simultaneously in separate editions for adults and children."
In July 2009, Haddon wrote on his blog that "curious incident is not a book about Asperger syndrome....if anything it’s a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way.
The book is not specifically about any specific disorder," and that he is not an expert on autism spectrum disorder or Asperger syndrome.
The book is dedicated to Sos Eltis, Haddon's wife, with thanks to Kathryn Heyman, Clare Alexander, Kate Shaw and Dave Cohen.
Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year
'Outstanding...a stunningly good read'
'Mark Haddon's portrayal of an emotionally dissociated mind is a superb achievement... Wise and bleakly funny' said Ian McEwan.
A sympathetic review:
"I first read this book at the age of ten. My younger brother was 5, and had just started primary school; the same school as the one I was at.
I loved this book and thought it was funny, and deeply moving.
My brother (lets call him Joe Bloggs!) aka JB started to have problems at school. He wasn't paying attention, didn't seem to be learning anything.
He was diagnosed with Speech and Language Problems.
This book has brought my whole family closer to the truth and we all suspect he has autism.
This book has a very realistic take on autism and has helped me understand my brother".
The book is very positively reviewed by many readers.