Considered to be one of Agatha Christie’s most controversial mysteries, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd breaks all the rules of traditional mystery writing.
The peaceful English village of King’s Abbot is stunned. First, the attractive widow Ferrars dies from an overdose of veronal. Not twenty-four hours later, Roger Ackroyd—the man she had planned to marry—is murdered. It is a baffling, complex case involving blackmail, suicide, and violent death, a cast that taxes Hercule Poirot’s “little grey cells” before he reaches one of the most startling conclusions of his fabled career.
I know I’m not the first to say this, but oh my gosh Agatha Christie is such a genius writer. I’ve only read two of her other mysteries–Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None–and I’m just amazed at how she constantly writes such unexpected, unsettling endings. I would never have guessed who the murderer was, and even as Hercule Poirot was revealing who it was, I was still convinced the murderer wasn’t them, because how could it be?
At first, the book was a bit slow since the setting and context had to be set up, but it quickly became intriguing when, as the title of the book indicates, Roger Ackroyd got murdered. (I also loved the introduction of Poirot as “Mr. Porrot” haha.) I did have a bit of a hard time keeping track of all of the characters and all of the details, but even so, the book was fascinating.
I suspected almost every character at one point or another to be the murderer (OTHER THAN THE ACTUAL MURDERER!! how frustrating), but what I liked was how Agatha Christie didn’t seem to try very hard to mislead the reader. I feel like in some books and movies, it’s kind of obvious that the writer’s trying to confuse us, but Christie did so almost effortlessly, as she simply just put out the facts and left me to second-guess myself. Also, I feel like I came to love each of the characters because though they each had their secrets and none of them were perfectly innocent, they were all just so human. I loved the complex relationships between the characters and how they made the book less of a concept-based mystery and more of a fully fleshed-out story that just happened to have a murderer. I also thought that the addition of Caroline Sheppard, the sister of Dr. Sheppard (the narrator), made the book more humorous and lighthearted (or at least, as lighthearted a murder mystery can get).
As I gradually neared the end of the book, I was honestly so confused because every character seemed so innocent and I had no guesses as to who it was. And when, at last, the murderer was revealed, I got chills. Ahhhh!!!
Perhaps it’s strange to say so about a murder mystery, but I aspire to write such shocking, revolutionary plot twists one day. Though I didn’t like this book as much as I did Murder on the Orient Express, I still really loved how well Christie developed both the storyline and the characters, and would definitely recommend this book!