Posted in Uncategorized

Book Endings

The End

Imagine the scene, it won’t be hard, you’ve turned the last page of your book and you settle down to write your review.

How much do you say about the ending?

If you read my post from yesterday which was of the classic crime fiction The Murder of Roger Ackroyd you’ll note that this is less of a review and more of, well I’m not really sure – a collection of quotes and a brief synopsis. Why? Well the reason why this book is held up as potentially one of the best written by Agatha Christie is because of the ending, at the time the whole set up was a new idea, and although it may be not so unusual in modern crime fiction it was this device that made the book quite so exceptional. But I review books and obviously if I told you the ending it would spoil your enjoyment so I’m left waffling on sprinkling quotes on a page and not able to talk about the one thing that made the book so wonderful.

For those of us that read and review, this problem isn’t a new one, and often I’m fine with that but this is the one area where blogging just doesn’t create quite the same experience as discussing a book with others who have read it. After all a good ending is key to an enjoyable reading experience and the very bit I am not able to dissect in my writing whereas I could have written an entire post about what I thought of the ending!!

This is particularly true in crime fiction series. How do we know if they’ve ended? One of my favourites wrapped up the main story arc in the latest book – who knows if this is the final episode? Who can I ask? There have been no clues given so I suppose I’m just going to have to wait and see…

Of course the obvious way to finish a crime series is to kill off the lead detective as Colin Dexter did to Morse in A Remorseful Day and it is well-known that Agatha Christie tired of her little Belgium detective and killed him off! Reginald Hill indicated a similar intent in his last book featuring Daziel with Death of the Fat Man. All a bit final but how else do you stop the readers clamouring for more of their favourite detectives? And is it my imagination or are detectives getting younger these days? (Perhaps I’m just getting older?)  What is the modern crime-writer to do with their younger cast? Only this week I came across a blog post by Sharon Bolton entitled Please don’t ask me when Lacey is coming back. I simply don’t know, which summed up the issue from this author’s perspective and after all author’s these days can’t hide from their readers, we can stalk them on social media begging for another story featuring our favourite characters!

What do you think about endings? How do you tackle them in your reviews?

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2016, Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie #20booksofsummer

Book 9

Classic Crime Fiction 5*s
Classic Crime Fiction
5*s

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.

First Published UK: 1926
No of Pages 260
Genre: Mystery
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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.