Monday, November 10, 2008

Book Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christier

"You will find, M. le docteur, if you have much to do with cases of this kind, that they all resemble each other in one thing... everyone concerned in them has something to hide." Page - 105

Roger Ackroyd, the wealthiest man in King's Abbott is found murdered one night and almost everyone has a motive. His nephew, Ralph, has a gambling problem and as inheritor of the estate, could pay off his debts. His niece and sister-in-law, dependant on his miserly penny-pinching "charity" could live comfortably off his money. And then there's Parker the butler. Fortunately Hercule Poirot is called upon to solve the case, having conveniently retired to the same town to cultivate marrows.

The Good:

This is one of Christie's best known works and a great example of her authorial abilities. The story is narrated by Dr. James Sheppard who lives with his sister Caroline, a nosy would-be-detective. They team up with Poirot to solve the crime with Dr. Sheppard standing in for Captain Hastings who has retired to the Argentine.

Christie manages to keep the reader guessing with various red herrings and a convoluted series of events to throw them off the scent. But Poirot slowly wheedles down the list of suspects as he gathers evidence and conducts interviews. Maps and diagrams help to illustrate the crime scene and enable the reader to try and puzzle out the truth but you'll have to read quite close to the end to discover who really murdered Ackroyd.

Poirot is as always, amusing and deductive in his reasoning. His "little gray cells" work overtime and it's interesting to see his analytical method at work. As well the reader relies on him heavily to explain the various secrets and motives of the various characters.

This book has everything. Poisoning, a blackmail plot, murder, a nervous butler, drug smuggling, marrows, etc. As well, it has a great plot twist at the end that makes it a most satisfying read.

The Bad:

Christie's ability to tell a story is the only frustrating aspect of the story. Events build on one another, complicating the plot and the explanation of the murder. This leaves the reader suspecting everyone and no one until by the end you're thoroughly confused and anxious over what really happened.

The Ugly:

Somebody find Eli Wallach.

Rating:

5/5

1 comment:

mister anchovy said...

I remember this one...haven't ready those mysteries in years.