Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

rogerackroydI’ve been reading one Agatha Christie book each month since the beginning of the year. I’m reading them in order of publication for the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge. It’s been loads of fun. Each month I seem to say that this one is my favorite. Well, not this month. I know, this is suppossed to be one of Agatha Christie’s best. Not to me.

Summary: The tale of the events leading up to and including The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is told by Dr. James Sheppard. Dr. Sheppard is a country doctor in King’s Abbott, a small village where the chief form of entertainment is gossip. In fact the entire tale is told in a very gossipy manner. King’s Abbott also happens to be where the famous Hercule Poirot has recently moved. Most residents know him as the elderly, vegetable growing Mr. Porrott. He will only tell them he is a student of human nature.

But as we already know, wherever you find Mr. Poirot, there is sure to be a murder. First there is a suicide in King’s Abbott of a Mrs. Ferrars. Her husband died suspiciously last year and everyone thinks she killed him. A day later we have the murder of Roger Ackroyd, a wealthy landowner who was going to marry Mrs. Ferrars. He was killed in his locked study. How did the killer get in and out? Later a third person, the butler, is murdered. It’s definitely enough to pull Herccule’s little gray cells away from his vegetables.

Mr. Poirot has plenty of suspects. There is Roger Ackroyd’s stepson, his brother’s widow and niece, Mr. Askroyd’s secretary, the parlourmaid and so on. All with opportunity and a motive. A perfect cast of characters for a cozy mystery.

My opinion: This Agatha Christie novel was still an enjoyable read. They all are. It just won’t go on my list of favorites. The main reason: The ending seemed too contrived. It didn’t feel right. The murderer didn’t even seem like a murderer. If there were clues, I didn’t catch them. Most “experts” say this is her best book and set the standard for the genre. The ending is supposed to be an act of genius on Christie’s part. There was a great deal of uproar and controversy when this was first published. I see why and I know which side I would have been on back in 1926.

Just because I was disappointed don’t let that keep you from reading this book.  Books are so personal. What one person likes, another may not. I certainly won’t stop reading Agatha Christie. Oh, no. I’m not going to worry about this one disappointment. After all, I have 72 more to read.

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DID YOU KNOW . . .

The character of Dr. Sheppard’s sister, Caroline, was the inspiration for Miss Marple. In her autobiography she said, “She [Caroline] had been my favorite character in the book – an acidulated spinster, full of curiosity, knowing everything, hearing everything: the complete detective service in the home.”

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You can buy The Murder of Roger Ackroyd at Amazon

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11 Responses to Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

  1. Beth F says:

    I never read this one (saw it in either movie or TV form) — So sorry it didn’t live up to its reputation.

    As I always say, I love revisiting Christie through you!

  2. stacybuckeye says:

    Can’t love ’em all! This is a cool challenge.

  3. Interesting. I have never read one of her books.

  4. Kathy says:

    I’m really interested in reading this one now to see what all the fuss was about and to see if I’d feel the same way as you.

  5. Sherrie says:

    Hi Margot,
    Not all Christie books are great. But they still have the Christie touch to them. Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great day!

    Sherrie

    P.S. I’ve catching up on your posts. Loved the one on the hamburger, we haven’t got one of those places. A White Castle just opened here a couple of months ago.

  6. Cathy says:

    This sounds like an interesting challenge – I haven’t read many of Agatha Christie’s books so, I may just have to challenge myself later.

  7. BooksPlease says:

    I haven’t read this one yet, so I’ve only read the begining and end of your post. I’m planning to read it so will come back later. I see you said it’s still enjoyable but I’m intrigued now to see for myself whether I’ll like it or not.

  8. Belle says:

    I have always thought that it was probably considered Christie’s best novel because it was the first time that something like that had been done. I agree with you, it has never been one of my favorites, although it’s still a good read. I recently re-read it in audio (I still feel funny saying that! Maybe it should be “listened for a re-read”?) and it was nice and entertaining and sort of comforting, as good re-reads always are!

  9. Cerrin says:

    Maybe the movie would be better then the book.

  10. Tyrie says:

    This is a brilliant novel by Christie. It was on a reading list for a 20th century British fiction course I took in graduate school. I just referenced that same course yesterday. Another book from that class, Waterland by Graham Swift, is the first entry (#10) on my top 20th century novels list. hit up my blog if you get a chance and read about it – I think you would enjoy it.

  11. Pingback: Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, 1926 (Hercule Poirot #3) by Agatha Christie – A Crime is Afoot

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