The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

 

Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

One of the advantages of having a smartphone is having an e-book reader in it. My cellphone is not even an Android phone but it looks like it and has a text reader. So I converted this e-book in text format and transferred it in my mobile phone. I felt I was also turning the pages because of the phone’s animation whenever I swipe the screen to the next page.

Also, I’ve observed myself that reading a book on a cellphone or e-book reader is much faster than reading an actual book in my hands. I know that some of you may disagree, it’s just my personal observation. But I still love buying books and collecting them.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (by Agatha Christie, 1926)

This is the third novel to feature Hercule Poirot as the lead detective. It was originally a fifty-four part series in the London Evening News in 1925 under the title, Who Killed Ackroyd? Dr. James Sheppard narrated the story and acted as Poirot’s assistant, instead of the usual Captain Hastings. Poirot has retired and was living in King’s Abbot incognito. Captain Hastings, as mentioned in the novel, has settled down and is in Argentina.

Dr. James Sheppard, Poirot’s next door neighbor, was invited to dinner by Roger Ackroyd at his home in Fernly Park. At that time, the news in King’s Abbot was about the recent death of Mrs. Ferrars, a rich widower who was suspected of poisoning her husband. This bothered Roger Ackroyd because he planned to marry Mrs. Ferrars.

So Roger Ackroyd invited Dr. Sheppard for dinner, together with Roger’s sister in-law, niece Flora, secretary Geoffrey Raymond, and friend Major Hector Blunt. It was announced during dinner Flora’s and Roger’s adopted son’s, Captain Ralph Paton, engagement. After dinner, Roger talked to Dr. Sheppard in private in his study room. He admitted that he knew Mrs. Ferrars committed suicide because someone tried to blackmail her. On his way home, Dr. Sheppard bumped into an American stranger who was looking his way to Fernly Park. At home, he talked to his sister Caroline and suddenly received a phone call from Roger’s butler, John Parker, saying that Mr. Ackroyd was found dead in his study. Dr. Sheppard returned to Fernly Park and the crime investigation began.

Everyone started pointing a finger to Captain Ralph Paton who lacks discipline even in his finances and was thought to be hiding. But as in all Christie’s novels, everyone is a suspect. Flora requested Poirot to find the whole truth. So Poirot, being a friend of Ackroyd and who knew his incognito status, obliged and made Dr. Sheppard as his companion.

The manipulation of false clues,  irrelevant details, red herrings, and an unexpected plot twist made this novel as one of the Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time.  It was also said that the character of Caroline became the prototype of Miss Marple.

 

 


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