The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose. But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish the letter, he was stabbed to death!
Reviewed on 7th March 2010
Classic Christie with some special twists that make it clear why this is one of the most popular of Hercule Poirot's adventures. When Roger Acroyd is murdered the help of Poirot is quickly enlisted to find out which of his friends/family was the culprit.
It's interesting that Poirot's usual assistant, Captain Hastings, has been written out 'to the Argentine' and the narrator's spot is taken by one of the characters close to the victim - the local doctor. This provides a good point of view as it's someone who knows and can explain the characters' backgrounds, and who doesn't understand Poirot - whereas Hastings would have come to expect things. Unlike some of the Marple novels which have this structure, it doesn't feel as if the detective has been shoehorned in, but is there as a natural extension of his own ongoing narrative.
The Christie clichés are still present - the large country house full of suspects, all of whom have motive, opportunity and secrets (but then that's integral to the mystery). It's amazing that I can read these still without seeing through the clues. I need to remember in future that nothing is mentioned by Christie without being relevant, even tiny things - it was not until about two pages before the reveal that I fell in, and everything that had been mentioned clicked. Christie really was a genius.
So yes, it's a good book and it certainly had me fooled, although a couple of bits were a little 'meta' - with the doctor writing the narrative forming a part of the narrative, and even lending his manuscript to Poirot. A satisfying mystery.