Well this is fairly widely regarded to be the best of all Agatha Christie’s books and having just finished it I can definitely see why.
Why You Should Read This Book
1. It features Monsieur Poirot and if you aren’t taken with the little Belgium with his little grey cells, I don’t think you should read any further!
“You should employ your little grey cells”
2. The story includes a butler and a parlour maid and either of them might have killed Roger Ackroyd.
“It is well at any price to have peace in the home.”
3. Instead of Poirot’s faithful narrator we have Dr James Sheppard who was called to the locked room of Roger Ackroyd by means of a telephone call to find the victim with a sword in his back and the window opened.
“You are like the little child who wants to know the way the engine works. You wish to see the affair, not as the family doctor sees it, but with the eye of a detective who knows and cares for no one-to whom they are all strangers and all equally liable to suspicion.”
4. Agatha Christie came up with a most ingenious solution to what is almost a closed house mystery
“You will find, M. le docteur, if you have much to do with cases of this kind, that they all resemble reach other in one thing… everyone concerned in them has something to hide,”
5. If you haven’t read it already you’ll be exceptionally hard pushed to come up with the villain from the cast of suspects
“Men have been known to do that-act guilty when they’re perfectly innocent.”
The basic plot is that in a small town named Kings Abbott where our narrator, Doctor Sheppard announces:
“Our hobbies and recreations can be summed up in the one word: ‘gossip’.”
The Doctor is called by an urgent telephone call telling him his friend, and patient, Roger Ackroyd has been murdered. When he reaches the hall this proves to be true and his dear friend has been stabbed, quite literally in the back.
Then the victim’s niece then outs Poirot, who had coincidently chosen Kings Abbott as a place to retire and grow marrows. Flora Ackroyd is fearful that her soon to be husband, the adopted son of Roger Ackroyd, is being accused by the local police investigating the murder so she entreats Poirot to take up the case and to find the truth. Poirot in turn ropes in Dr Sheppard to carry out his investigations which includes a lot of checking of scenarios and examining the actions of each and every member of the household as well as tracking down a mystery visitor near the hall on the night in question.
Doctor Shepard carries out his tasks willingly, keen to learn from Poirot although equally as eager not to incude his elder sister Caroline, who he lives with, because much of the gossip and intrigue come from her very lips.
I love the language in these books, the formal way in which everyone behaves (when they are not bumping each other off of course) is a delight to read and of course I adore dear old Poirot, but in this book, the best is left until the end when the cast gathers in true Christie style to hear Poirot unveil the murderer. Who is it? Read the book and find out for yourself, you really won’t be disappointed.
Now for a quick poll – which of the following is your favourite Agatha Christie novel? If you have an alternative answer please let me know in the comments box below.