The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Back in Spring 2021, I disappeared down a rabbit hole of reading crime thrillers, and this was in particular thanks to Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson. I loved this book. Set in the world of bookselling, a bookshop manager has published a blog post about the most ingenious or 'perfect' murders committed in novels. And a murderer is recreating these plots. I loved it, it was set near Christmas, it was about bookselling and it talked about a number of crime novels. What is not to love!
The novel mentions a whole host of the great and the good in crime fiction including a large number of hidden gems. Today I am reviewing one of the titles from the list, and it is a very beloved Agatha Christie novel and considered one of her classics.
Poor Roger Ackroyd. He knew that the woman he loved had been harbouring a guilty secret - she poisoned her first husband. And yesterday she killed herself.
But guilty secrets rarely stay secret. Who had been blackmailing her before her death? Had it really driven her to suicide? And would it all be revealed in the letter that arrived in the evening post. Sadly Roger Ackroyd wasn't going to live long enough to find out....
This is the fourth Hercule Poirot novel, but you are absolutely fine to read this as a stand alone novel. If you haven't read any other Agatha Christie novels, then please do read this, it's considered a classic for a reason.
The narrator is not our usual beloved Captain Hastings, whom it would seem has gone to Argentina. But is instead the mild-mannered Dr Sheppard. Dr Sheppard is a reliable narrator, calm with an inquisitive sister, who was considered as Christie's early version of Miss Marple.
Through Sheppard's eyes we have a careful and meticulous account of the murder scene and the events leading up to it. An account which Hercule Poirot greatly appreciates when he is called in to investigate the murder of Roger Ackroyd.
As we have come to expect from Agatha Christie, the murder is ingenious and seemingly impossible to solve.
Having been firmly in the Miss Marple camp, I can confess that I am becoming rather fond of Hercule Poirot. This strange little detective with an egg-shaped head and a precise, some might say pernickety manner. I love his careful questioning of suspects. He has an ability to inspire confidences when he warmly encourages the youths of the novel to tell 'Papa Poirot'. To becoming almost rageful when he encounters a 'hard nut' who continues to lie to him. It is really quite wonderful to behold.
I don't want to tell you more about the plot, that is the joy of this novel. (No spoilers here!). This is seen as one of Christie's best books and I can entirely see why. It's clever and wise, Poirot at his very best. Loved it!