Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Published: 1926
Pages: 358
Genre: Mystery
Following the mysterious suicide of a local widow, Dr. Sheppard receives a phone call at night informing him that his friend, Roger Ackroyd, has been murdered in his study. Unable to solve the crime on his own, Dr. Sheppard gains the help of Hercule Poirot, an ingenious detective. He unravels rumours of blackmail, a secret wife, and discovers the shocking identity of the murderer.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the definition of the classic Christie mystery. We've got multiple suspects, a limited understanding of the details of the murder, and lots of underlying drama between characters. The stage was set for the perfect, straightforward discovery of the murderer, but that's wasn't the case here at all! Even though I was shocked to discover the truth, it all made total sense. All the clues, all the hints... they lined up beautifully in the end.

I didn't find the plot itself to be that noteworthy. It was solid, and it was believable. That's about all that I can say. But the subtle hints that were automatically deemed "unimportant" in my mind proved to be quite substantial, and the conclusion was totally uncalled for. So, even though there wasn't excitement and action on every page, it all worked together and, in classic Christie style, every detail was necessary. From the untraceable phone call to the chair that wasn't in its place, it all matters.

As I've said before, I really like the way Christie writes. Her Englishness comes across in her descriptions, her characters, and the words she uses. And on that note, I admire the way she can invent characters the way she does. In this type of book, it's essential that each person stands alone and has their distinct way of acting and thinking - Christie is a master at this! Hercule Poirot is likely my favourite literary character of all time. I love his personality (even though he is a tad conceited), and I love the way he goes about his detecting.

In the end, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was a tight, strong mystery novel. I'll admit that it felt dry at times, yet every moment was useful to the story. The way Christie can come up with this complex web of characters and information is mind blowing! It all leads to one shocking, slightly disturbing ending. In my mind, that's the perfect mystery.

Recommendation: If you enjoy mysteries, give this one a try! I guarantee that you won't see the ending coming.


Kathy said...

Oooh, is this the one where the row of stars is very, very important, or am I mixing this one up with another one? I love Agatha Christie books. I rarely read them anymore, but I compare all murder mysteries to hers.

Juju at Tales of said...

I always write out the hints :) Great review!

Beth said...

I love this book and I used it this year with my Grade 8's. We listened to the audiobook version for our mystery unit and they were SHOCKED at the end.

miss cindy :) said...

I will defintely check this one out. Great review :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed this one, Emidy! I knew you would. You know, I think that Agatha Christie was one of the first authors to use that plot device. It's hard to see it coming, isn't it?

I wrote about MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS for my Bookish Nostalgia post this week. I wasn't please with the new adaptation of the book by Masterpiece Mystery.

Emidy said...

Kathy - I love them, too! Thankfully, she's written so many of them. And no, this isn't the book with the row of stars. Which one is that? I don't think I've read it yet.

Juju - I should start doing that! It would help. Thank you!

Beth - That's great to hear! I wish we read these types of books at school. I was shocked, too!

misscindy - Why thank you! I hope you read it sometime.

Kay - So true! Her way of developing the mystery is so unique. Oh, cool! I'm about to get started on Murder on the Orient Express.

Nymeth said...

Christie is on my list of authors to try before the end of the year. I hope I'll enjoy her writing as much as you do :)

Becky (Page Turners) said...

I hope to work through all of the Agatha Christie novels once day so I am sure I will read this at some point. Sounds great

Kathy said...

Oh, dear. If this wasn't the one with the row of stars, I of course have no idea which one it was (although I can tell you two or three that I'm sure it wasn't). And I hate to say too much about the row of stars, because knowing about it would be a huge spoiler . . . perhaps I can just say that there is one Agatha Christie book where you come upon a row of stars that you assume simply refers to the passage of time but . . . it doesn't.

Emidy said...

Nymeth - You have to try her books! She seems like the kind of author you'd like. I hope so, at least!

Becky - That's so great! I hope you get around to that sometime.

Kathy - Whoa, you've got me curious, now! I've read most of her books but haven't come across it yet, so it's bound to pop up soon in my reading.

Kerrie said...

You might like the submit this post to the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Blog Carnival. The submission spot is here.

Jennifer said...

Here from Book Blogger Hop. Roger Ackroyd is one of my favorite of Christie's books. I still remember the complete shock of finding out the identity of the murderer. She was an amazing writer.

Lauren said...

Great review! I haven't heard of this before but it sounds pretty great, and becasue I love mysterious, I think I'll be trying to find a copy soon. :)

Elle said...

I love love loved The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I didn't care that it was a bit dry/ lacked suspense in the middle, but building through to that fantastically enlightening heart just dropped to the pit of my stomach! Of course, the twist does not work on everyone (I have a couple of friends who hated it and felt as if they were cheated) but I thought it was great! :) Glad you enjoyed it too.