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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: 07/22/08

I've been reading Agatha Christie's mysteries on and off for twenty years. The recent series four episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp" of Doctor Who piqued my interest in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926). It is her third Hercule Poirot mystery and one of her most controversial novels for its twist ending.

Like many early detective novels, the Hercule Poirot isn't the narrator of the mystery. Just as Sherlock Holmes has Dr. John Watson, Hercule Poirot in this mystery has Dr. James Sheppard. As they are strangers, Sheppard's insights into Poirot are flawed. At first he mistakes the man for a hair dresser. He even gets his name wrong, rendering it as Porrott until he is later corrected. Sheppard tells an interesting story and seems likeable but he's terrible at getting to the facts of case.

With Sheppard being too unreliable of a narrator, the role of confidant and partner falls on the shoulders of the reader. It's the formula of Columbo andCriminal Intent. Even if you spot the twist early on, like I did, the book is still an interesting psychological drama between the hunter and his prey.

Comments (4)

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Comment #1: Saturday, July, 26, 2008 at 04:55:19


I re-read this one a while back and enjoyed it even more the second time (apparently forgetting the big twist from the first reading). I love the way that Christie works with the unreliable narrator angle.

Comment #2: Saturday, July, 26, 2008 at 20:08:31


I think some day I might want to re-read it too."

Comment #3: Saturday, July, 26, 2008 at 22:52:14


I just listened to my first Agatha Christie on CD and loved it. I have two of her books on the shelf and then maybe I can get to Ackroyd. Thanks for the review."

Comment #4: Saturday, July, 26, 2008 at 20:12:41


Which books are you reading? Happy reading."

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