The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Book Review
by E. Stevens
‘Make sure to put aside a whole afternoon to enjoy this book, as once you start reading you will not be able to put it down.’
Author: Agatha Christie
Main Characters: Dr Sheppard, Hercule Poirot, Roger Ackroyd, Ralph Paton
Synopsis: Hercule Poirot is asked to investigate the murder of wealthy Roger Ackroyd by his relative, young Flora Ackroyd. Everyone in the house is under suspicion and, helped by his new neighbour Dr Sheppard, Poirot must uncover the truth before it is too late.
What is the truth behind the deaths of Ackroyd’s fiancée, Mrs Ferrars, and her previous husband? Who was being blackmailed? Why has a supposedly innocent man disappeared from town after the murder? Only when these questions are answered can the mystery be solved, but Christie creates such an intricate plot that this book will keep readers guessing until the very end.
The story is narrated by the quiet and reserved Dr Sheppard, who lives with his inquisitive sister, Caroline. They are old friends of the Ackroyd family, who live on one of two large estates in their village, King’s Abbot. After Dr Sheppard was called to examine the body of Mrs Ferrars, Ackroyd’s fiancée, Ackroyd invites him to his house (Fernly Park) to discuss a secret she had told him just before she died. It is revealed that Mrs Ferrars was being blackmailed by someone who knew she had killed her previous husband, so she had committed suicide rather than give in to the blackmailer. She had given Ackroyd an envelope with the identity of the blackmailer inside, but Ackroyd refuses to open it until Sheppard returns home. However, later that night, after Sheppard leaves Fernly, Ackroyd is found dead in his study. Famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is at once asked by Ackroyd’s niece, Flora to investigate the crime. Her fiancé and Ackroyd’s stepson, Ralph Paton has been accused of the murder, but to make matters worse, he has disappeared from the town. Flora fervently believes he is innocent, but as Poirot conjectures, why would an innocent man run away?
To the reader, it seems there is a new revelation on every other page. Every character is distinct and well developed ,and everyone appears to be hiding something that is a clue to the mystery. Christie’s murder mystery plots are always ingenious, but this one especially so. True to her other Poirot mysteries, Christie includes several red herrings to make the truth even harder to uncover, but once it is revealed the answer seems obvious. Perhaps even more enjoyable is re-reading the story and noting all the subtle clues the writer included to hint at the solution. Make sure to put aside a whole afternoon to enjoy this book, as once you start reading you will not be able to put it down.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is available on Kindle and in all good bookshops (such as Waterstones in St Neots)