Tuesday, January 22, 2013

“The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie – Trusting Nobody

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (Book cover)
Agatha Christie is celebrated around the world as being one of the best and most influential contemporary writers, having left quite a noticeable mark on the world of murder mysteries, introducing many new concepts and raising the bar for writers of the future.

While many of her novels are indeed widely celebrated, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd may very well be the one which really put her in the spotlight.

In The Murder of Roger Ackroyd we follow the adventures of Christie’s legendary detective, Hercule Poirot, through the narration of Dr. Sheppard, who under the circumstances, takes on the role of being Poirot’s assistant. What circumstances are these? Well, while Hercule wanted to spend a nice little vacation, suddenly Mrs. Ferrars, a very wealthy widow, dies of what seems to be an accident.

However, it is discovered that a certain Roger Ackroyd was supposed to marry her, and what’s more, he claims she confessed to killing her husband before committing suicide herself. As the title would suggest, Ackroyd is himself found murdered recently after, and the list of suspects for the crime is taller than the Eiffel tower.

To be frank, it sort of pains me to review this book, mainly because revealing the reason as to why it became so popular would require me to spoil the entire ending for you. While from a modern perspective the twist may not seem very original, becoming more and more common these days, it has to be remembered that the book was released back in 1926, a time when what Agatha did was quite daring, using new and untested literary devices.

Rest assured though, the final twist is far from the only reason as to why you should read this book. As it with practically every Agatha Christie story, it is expertly crafted, with there being just enough clues given to the reader to figure everything out, but not enough clues to make it remotely easy.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (Book cover)
The characters are quite varied, and while there isn't much in terms of backstory, it is, for me at least, easy to relate and care about them. The web of murder is so intricately woven that every single thread in it will make you pause and wonder as to what it relates to.

All in all, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is one of the most solid classic murder mystery stories you could hope to find, and just to reiterate, while today it may seem somewhat formulaic, it was a real breakthrough for its time, without forgetting that even if it does feel clichéd, the technical aspects and overall appeal of the story, setting and characters more than make up for it.

Agatha Christie (15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976)

Agatha Christie
(15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976)

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Agatha Christie is thought of by many as being the grandmother of murder mysteries. Throughout her novels, which include the classics And Then There Were None and Death on the Nile, Christie developed many groundbreaking techniques for her time, most of which are being used in one way or another by modern murder mystery writers.

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