Monday, July 11, 2016

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

First Sentence:  Mrs. Ferras died on the night of the 16th-17th September--a Thursday.
When Mrs. Ferras has commits suicide, it is speculated as being due to her guilt over poisoning her first husband.  There are also rumors she was being blackmailed and that she had a secret liaison with Roger Ackroyd, a wealthy resident.  Dr. Sheppard, Ackroyd's friend and neighbor, receives a mysterious call telling him Ackroyd has been murdered, and murdered he he has been.  Can Sheppard's new neighbor identify the killer? 
It's always wonderful to start with a cast of characters.  Those of us readers who are getting slightly older do appreciate it.  Even with the initial cast of characters, Christie takes just the right approach to introducing each characters as they enter the story.  One cannot help but love Christie's descriptions of people-"I am sorry to say I detest Mrs. Ackroyd.  She is all chains and teeth and bones." 

The introduction of Poirot is delightfully done.  We are missing Colonel Hastings in this book, so our narrator is Doctor James Sheppard, one of the village residents and a main character, who first assumes Poirot to be a hairdresser, judging by the moustache.   It is also fun that although we meet Poirot fairly in the story, he doesn't truly become a focus of the story until later. One cannot help but smile at--"That, too, is my watchword.  Method, order, and the little gray cells."--and that we learn his eyes are green.
It is refreshing to have a police inspector who isn't completely set on one suspect, but still can't ignore the evidence leading a particular direction--"I'm trying to judge the thing fair and square..I'm not wanting him to be the guilty one-but it's bad whichever way you look at it." 
The plot is wonderfully complex.  What is remarkably clever is that one is given all the clues:  everything is there.  However, there are red herrings aplenty and it is only when all the clues are laid out on the board does the whole picture become clear.
"The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" is as impressive today as it was when first published. It is easy to see why Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, with this being considered one of her very best works.

THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD (Trad Mys - Hercule Poirot - England -1920s) - Ex
            Christie, Agatha - 4th Poiriot
            William Morrow Paperbacks - March 2009

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