The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Genre(s) | Mystery, Crime
Goodreads Rating | 4.24
Humpo Show Rating | 4.30
Published: 2013 (originally 1926)
The book is set in the fictional English village of King’s Abbot and opens with the suicide of Mrs. Ferrars, a wealthy widow. The same night, wealthy industrialist Roger Ackroyd, rumoured to have been Ferrars secret lover, is found murdered in his study. There’s no shortage of suspects, all the members of the household stand to gain from his death, but the police focus on Ralph Paton, Ackroy’d stepson and heir, as he has the most to gain from the death and the fact that he is nowhere to be seen. Retired sleuth Hercule Poirot, who has recently moved to the area, agrees to investigate the case – one which will uncover many secrets along the way.
Ackroyd is found stabbed to death in his study. His family and staff had been instructed to not disturb him that evening and when his body was discovered about ten o’clock that night, the door to his study was locked from the inside. A window was found open, and muddy boot prints suggest that someone entered and left the study by climbing through the window.
Narrated by Dr James Sheppard, a friend of the Ackroyd household and Poirot’s neighbour, we get a unique perspective on the case: the developments, clues, and interviews with potential suspects. Sheppard acts very much like Holmes’s Watson, chronicling the case and failing to see what the great master sees.
There are any number of potential suspects, including house guests, family members and the large household staff. Several of these people have money problems; most of them are in Ackroyd’s will and will be financially better off now that he’s gone.
Christie has crafted a brilliant story with a myriad of clues, red herrings and small details that has the reader second guessing themselves throughout. Obviously the book has its classic status for one chapter in particular (no spoilers here) and I absolutely agree that it is well deserving of that status – it reshaped the genre completely, with many mysteries, horrors and action books and films taking inspiration from the plot design Christie used.
An exceedingly clever mystery that would definitely flummox the murder documentary enthusiasts out there. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a wonderful story, well worth the acclaim that it has received over the last 90 years and has whetted my appetite for more of her work.
The Humpo Show | Richard