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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hercule Poirot (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,170230889 (4.05)533
A widow's sudden suicide sparks rumors that she murdered her first husband, was being blackmailed, and was carrying on a secrey affair with the wealthy Roger Ackroyd. The following evening, Ackroyd is murdered in his locked study, but not before receiving a letter identifying the widow's blackmailer. Kings Abbot is crawling with suspects and it's up to famous detective, Hercule Poirot, to solve the case.… (more)
  1. 150
    And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (lahochstetler)
    lahochstetler: Two of Christie's best plot twists
  2. 10
    Endless Night by Agatha Christie (Anonymous user)
  3. 10
    Who Killed Roger Ackroyd? by Pierre Bayard (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Caution! Instant spoilers for Christie's novel; strictly for pursuing afterwards.
  4. 00
    Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers (cbl_tn)
  5. 00
    Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (CGlanovsky)
1920s (13)
My TBR (31)

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» See also 533 mentions

English (215)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  Piratical (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (228)
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)
Absolutely blown away by this book.

THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD was my first foray into Agatha Christie's work (as part of a larger personal effort to broaden my horizons beyond SF/F), and it hooked me instantly. Monsieur Poirot is loveable from the start, and the story is narrated with a quintessentially British dose of playful snark.

The central mystery is complex, with misdirection piled on top of misdirection, until the final twist ending blew my head off of my shoulders and made me silent-scream "HOLY CRAP WHY DIDN'T I SEE THAT COMING IT WAS RIGHT THERE ALL ALONG GAH?!?".

Wonderful. A joy from start to finish. An unforgettable read. ( )
  loganaube | Jul 31, 2020 |
A clever novel on many levels. It's important to keep track of the time.
  SimB | Jul 9, 2020 |
Updated: December 2019.
This book still is for me the best murder mystery I have read. Christie totally deserves all of the accolades she got for this book. I loved every minute of it and the set-up. I still gasped when we have our Poirot deducing who killed Roger Ackroyd.

I started reading Agatha Christie about a year or so ago. I had only read three of her Miss Marple novels and this was my first Hercule Poirot novel.

I was once again pleasantly surprised and thrilled to find that I found another new detective that I will happily enjoy.

The novel is narrated by Dr. James Sheppard who ends up assisting Hercule Poirot in his investigation of the murder of Roger Ackroyd.

A widow named Mrs. Ferrars is found dead of what is believed to be an accident. Mrs. Ferrars was seeing Roger Ackroyd who all of the village believed was on the cusp of proposing to her.

After her death, Roger Ackroyd comes forward stating that Mrs. Ferrars admitted killing her husband and that she committed suicide. After his revelation Roger Ackroyd is found murdered in his locked study.

The mystery novel includes so many suspects that you will find yourself second guessing everyone. Agatha Christie writes so well that you have no idea that all along she is slipping you clues until the very end.

I can actually say that when you get to who murdered Roger Ackroyd it will surprise and stun you.

As soon as I finished this novel I went right back and read it all over again to see if I could catch the clues that Poriot points to after his unmasking of the murder.

Would definitely recommend reading this and all of Agatha Christie's novels! ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Hands down ,the best Agatha Christie book I've read so far. I wonder what took me so long to get to it. This book has the most unexpected queue of events unfolding . All the facts are presented to you at every point of the story. You get to know what Poirot gets to know, and how he draws the conclusions he does, is just amazing. Reading this book gives you a whole new prospect of a crime novels. If you want to limit yourself only to a certain Agatha Christie's books, don't miss this one. ( )
  manogna_thumukunta | Jun 5, 2020 |
A Book of Detective Fiction*

I'm not sure how I feel about The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (meaning the novel itself - I'm solidly in the anti-murder camp). If you judge it based on its entertainment value, it is a well-written, satisfying book. From that perspective I enjoyed reading it and understand why its on the 1001 Books list. But that is not the type of book I typically read, and that's the angle I'm struggling to set aside (old dogs, new tricks).

TMORA is told by a first-person narrator, Dr. Sheppard, who relates the tale of his late friend Mr. Ackroyd, discovered dead shortly after receiving a letter from another dead person, Mrs. Ferras. The letter reveals to Ackroyd who it was that was blackmailing Ferras for poisoning her husband; however, Ackroyd decides to withhold the name from Sheppard (and consequently from we readers). The letter disappears after the murder, leaving us in the dark. And the whodunnit begins.

Spoiler Alert: although I won't reveal the criminal, it should be fairly obvious from the focus of my discussion. I don't see a way around critiquing the book without giving it away.

Dr. Sheppard is an unreliable narrator, more than your typical first-person narrator. I suspected his narration early on, when he misspells the name of his neighbor, the famous detective Hercule Poirot, even though he is narrating the story after the events have occurred and knows the proper spelling. It is an odd detail, similar to the mysteriously moving chair in the murder room, that is significant precisely because of its peculiarity. There were several other points in the story where the doctor's actions were suspect, where he withholds information from the police and Poirot (but which he has supplied to the reader) that build his unreliability. Those were obvious clues and easy to spot. What wasn't easy, and where I have difficulty with the story, is the facts Sheppard omits from his narrative and which aren't supplied in any other fashion until Poirot reveals them in dramatic fashion when he gathers all the suspects for the climactic "the murderer is in this room" scene. They made me think about the detective story as a genre, and what a reader's expectations should be of the author. My opinion is that the reader should have a fair opportunity to solve the crime, that the reader is a part of the investigative team and should be privy to whatever evidence the other investigators discover. With that belief, I feel cheated by the withholding of one critical piece of evidence by both the narrator, who perpetrates the hoax, and Poirot, who uncovers it. This hidden action is the only way the criminal can get away with the crime and, conversely, through its discovery get caught.

I also felt manipulated throughout the telling, as Christie throws multiple diversions at the reader through the introduction of the backstories of most of those present the night of the murder and is fond of having her detective make unexplained comments, all to seemingly throw the reader off the trail. I'm less clear on whether that's fair or not, given that the reader in this case is being treated like the detective and subject to the same bad assumptions, diversions and dead ends.

I will complement one aspect of Christie's method, that of her characters speaking not only to the other characters but to the reader. Several character's descriptions of other character's lend credibility to the maligned character's culpability. And take Poirot's statement about murder cases, "Everyone in them has something to hide," to heart. Christie is leading you to the criminal as she leads you away.

What the reader absolutely has to set aside is any sense of proportion in the sheer mass of backstories. Each backstory provides its character a motive, weak or strong, and each falls under suspicion and is cleared as the novel progresses. There is a lot going on with all these people, more than seems plausible, but TMORA would be a much different book, and likely not an entertaining one, if we only had one suspect and it was just a rehashing of how the crime was both committed and detected without the color these diversions provide.

* - I've had to set my themed reading list aside for now, as I'm taking a couple literature classes this summer through a state program that provides free tuition for Texas residents over 55. This novel is assigned for my Modern and Contemporary British Literature class that's focused on detective fiction. ( )
  skavlanj | Jun 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anthony, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arentz, Ronald ArcherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barnard, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barzun, JacquesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bernard de Ferrer, GenovevaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berutti, HeitorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cerf, Bennett A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Christensen, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dou-Despportes, MiriamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Driesbach, ElizabethDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Estrada, ManuelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, G. Bernard deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Folch i Camarasa, RamonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gomes, AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Handels, TanjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hata Shizuko yakuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Λοράνδος, ΛουκάςTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ιωάννου, ΛουκάςTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jamoul, FrançoiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jan ZakrzewskiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jenkins, JulieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jensen, N. P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lachard, BrunoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lambert HamelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Motta, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Putsch, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rammul, TiitIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rezende, RenatoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sciascia, LeonardoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, Wendell H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, LauraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toming, RalfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, BruceNotes and Questionssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vuerhard, L.M.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zakrzewski, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Canonical title
Original title
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Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Alibi ( [1931]IMDb)
Awards and honors
To Punkie, who likes an orthodox detective story, murder, inquest, and suspicion falling on everyone in turn!
First words
Mrs Ferrars died on the night of the 16th-17th September—a Thursday.
Never worry about what you say to a man. They're so conceited that they never believe you mean it if it's unflattering.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the main work for The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. Please note that the German title is Alibi.
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Canonical DDC/MDS

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Book description
Belgian Inspector Hercule Poirot has retired to the countryside in the small English village of King's Abbot. Dr. Sheppard, observing his new neighbor, is sure that he must be a former hairdresser. But the brutal murder of a local squire reveals the truth: the peculiar little man is actually a detective par excellence. The Murder of the wealthy industrialist Roger Ackroyd begins the night before with the suicide of Mrs. Ferrars, a wealthy widow. Her death is believed to be an accident, until Roger Ackroyd is stabbed to death in his locked study. There are rumors she poisoned her first husband, rumors that she was being blackmailed, rumors that her secret lover was Roger Ackroyd, a man who knew too much, but no one is sure.

There's no shortage of suspects, all the members of the household stand to gain from his death, from Roger's neurotic sister-in-law who has accumulated personal debts, to a parlormaid with an uncertain history who resigned her post the afternoon of the murder. But the police focus on Ralph Paton, Ackroyd's stepson and heir, and the person with the most to gain from Roger's death. When sleuth Hercule Poirot, who is living quietly in King's Abbot, agrees to investigate, the case takes a completely different turn. Poirot exonerates all of the original suspects, and lays out a completely reasoned case that the clever and devious murderer is someone who had not come under suspicion at all - someone whose motive has nothing to do with money.
Haiku summary
Murder most cunning
All matter of perspective
Little gray cells win
Retirement doesn't
have to be dull, Poirot finds.
Exercise the mind!
Suicide, blackmail,
murder – Hercule Poirot solves
a puzzling case.
Stabbed with a knife,

many suspects to question.

M. Poirot solves it.


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