Book Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie has become my main “go to” author; if I’m not sure what book I want to read next, I read one of Christie’s mysteries.  Since she was a very prolific writer, she will probably hold that position in my personal library for quite some time.  I’ve read three of her novels so far this year, the first being The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

It’s such a fine line between knowing enough about a story to be interested in reading it and knowing too much about a story so that it’s not as interesting when you actually read it.  According to the book jacket, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is “the book that made Agatha Christie a household name” and further lauds the story as a “landmark in the mystery genre.”  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd certainly comes up frequently on many “must read” lists and is often cited as one of Christie’s best in discussions of her bibliography.  Unfortunately, as a result of all this publicity, I think I knew a little too much of this story before reading it myself to judge the novel on its own merit.  Thus, when I say I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as I have enjoyed other novels by Christie, I can’t be certain whether the fault lies in the writing or in my foreknowledge.  My advice is that you read no reviews of this book, stick your fingers in your ears when it is brought up for discussion in reading circles and experience the story for yourself.  Then you can come back and tell me what you thought of it.

My Synopsis: Nearly everything that happens in King’s Abbot is known to the Sheppard household, for James is the town doctor and his sister Caroline is chief among the local gossips.  But it is only after the murder of Roger Ackroyd that either of them discovers that the foreign gentleman who recently retired to the cottage next door is none other than the famous detective, Hercule Poirot.  Although Inspector Raglan is confident that this is a simple case, Flora Ackroyd, the victim’s niece, thinks Poirot has a better chance of uncovering the truth.  So with Dr. Sheppard standing in for Captain Hastings, Hercule Poirot comes out of retirement.

First line: Mrs. Ferrars died on the night of the 16th-17th September–a Thursday.

I would recommend this book to: Anyone who is a fan of Agatha Christie.  Anyone who knows nothing about this novel.

Would I read it again: Probably. At the very least I’d read it again for the verbal sparring between Caroline & Dr. Sheppard–quite amusing!

My personal rating: 3 out of 5

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About ChainThree

I am a daughter, sister, wife and aunt who has always loved a good yarn.
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3 Responses to Book Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

  1. Lauren says:

    I’m not a fan of modern mystery novels – which I feel tend to replace plot and character with graphic violence and sexuality aimed at shocking the reader hoping you won’t notice they have no actual story – so I adore the older mystery books, like Agatha Christie. I read a bio of her once and the author said the reason Christie’s novels are so good is because she was a talented mathematician and wrote her stories like a puzzle. My other go-to mystery writers are Arthur Conan Doyle and Elizabeth Peters -who, while being a modern writer, sets her stories in the late 1800s and they have a distinct Christie feel. I would recommend her Amelia Peabody series. Besides being funny, the story is set in Egypt, and as the author is a PhD in Egyptology, the facts are interesting and true. ~ L

    • ChainThree says:

      Thanks for your recommendations. Dad read some of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories to me growing up (I particularly remember A Study in Scarlet and The Red Headed League). I read Crocodile on the Sandbank a couple years ago and I confess I was not as taken with Miss Amelia Peabody as many of my friends and family have been. If you prefer mysteries in an older style, I highly recommend Sally S. Wright’s novels featuring Ben Reese, the first of which is Publish and Perish. One of the fascinating things about these novels is that the character Ben Reese is based on a World War II veteran that Ms. Wright knew. According to Ms. Wright: “I write the Ben Reese mysteries about a university archivist who’d been a World War II Scout who uses those skills to investigate murder in the early sixties. I started writing the Ben Reese books after I’d badgered an archivist I knew into telling me what he’d done in the war. The contrast between what that was, and what he did when I knew him, made me want to create a fictional character with those internal contrasts.”

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters | Picots, Poetry, and Prose

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