- File Size: 6795 KB
- Print Length: 256 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062986139
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 17, 2009)
- Publication Date: March 17, 2009
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000FC12YQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,226 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot series Book 4) Kindle Edition
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From Library Journal
This novel, written in 1927, is considered the best and most successful of the early mysteries. It met with no small outrage when it appeared, as it uses a plot device many readers thought "unfair." There is a full complement of characters populating the cozy English village of King's Abbot: Major Blunt, Colonel Carter, Miss Gannett, the butler, the housekeeper, the narrator, Dr. Sheppard, and his know-it-all sister (the precursor of Miss Marple, according to Christie), and, of course, the redoubtable Hercule Poirot and his little grey cells. There are clues with a capital C to mislead us, and the listener gets so involved with these red herrings (or not) that the very simple truth eludes the puzzler. Venerable reader Robin Bailey keeps the light, almost comic tone alive, although his voices are not particularly differentiated, and often he rushes the reading of dialog. A classic of the genre and essential for any fiction collection. Harriet Edwards, East Meadow P.L., NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Dr. Sheppard at the Breakfast Table
Mrs. Ferrars died on the night of the 16th-17th September--a Thursday. I was sent for at eight o'clock on the morning of Friday the 17th. There was nothing to be done. She had been dead some hours.
It was just a few minutes after nine when I reached home once more. I opened the front door with my latch-key and purposely delayed a few moments in the hall, hanging up my hat and the light overcoat that I had deemed a wise precaution against the chill of an early autumn morning. To tell the truth, I was considerably upset and worried. I am not going to pretend that at that moment I foresaw the events of the next few weeks. I emphatically did not do so. But my instinct told me that there were stirring times ahead.
From the dining-room on my left there came the rattle of tea-cups and the short, dry cough of my sister Caroline.
"Is that you, James?" she called.
An unnecessary question, since who else could it be? To tell the truth, it was precisely my sister Caroline who was the cause of my few minutes' delay. The motto of the mongoose family, so Mr. Kipling tells us, is: "Go and find out." If Caroline ever adopts a crest, I should certainly suggest a mongoose rampant. One might omit the first part of the motto. Caroline can do any amount of finding out by sitting placidly at home. I don't know how she manages it, but there it is. I suspect that the servants and the tradesmen constitute her Intelligence Corps. When she goes out, it is not to gather information, but to spread it. At that, too, she is amazingly expert.
It was really this last named trait of hers which was causing me these pangs of indecision. Whatever I told Caroline now concerning the demise of Mrs. Ferrars would be common knowledge all over the village within the space of an hour and a half. As a professional man, I naturally aim at discretion. Therefore I have got into the habit of continually withholding all information possible from my sister. She usually finds out just the same, but I have the moral satisfaction of knowing that I am in no way to blame.
Mrs. Ferrars' husband died just over a year ago, and Caroline has constantly asserted, without the least foundation for the assertion, that his wife poisoned him.
She scorns my invariable rejoinder that Mr. Ferrars died of acute gastritis, helped on by habitual over-indulgence in alcoholic beverages. The symptoms of gastritis and arsenical poisoning are not, I agree, unlike, but Caroline bases her accusation on quite different lines.
"You've only got to look at her," I have heard her say.
Mrs. Ferrars, though not in her first youth, was a very attractive woman, and her clothes, though simple, always seemed to fit her very well, but all the same, lots of women buy their clothes in Paris and have not, on that account, necessarily poisoned their husbands.
As I stood hesitating in the hall, with all this passing through my mind, Caroline's voice came again, with a sharper note in it.
"What on earth are you doing out there, James? Why don't you come and get your breakfast?"
"Just coming, my dear," I said hastily. "I've been hanging up my overcoat."
"You could have hung up half a dozen overcoats in this time."
She was quite right. I could have.
I walked into the dining-room, gave Caroline the accustomed peck on the cheek, and sat down to eggs and bacon. The bacon was rather cold.
"You've had an early call," remarked Caroline.
"Yes," I said. "King's Paddock. Mrs. Ferrars."
"I know," said my sister.
"How did you know?"
"Annie told me."
Annie is the house parlormaid. A nice girl, but an inveterate talker.
There was a pause. I continued to eat eggs and bacon. My sister's nose, which is long and thin, quivered a little at the tip, as it always does when she is interested or excited over anything. .
"Well?" she demanded.
"A bad business. Nothing to be done. Must have died in her sleep."
"I know," said my sister again.
This time I was annoyed.
"You can't know," I snapped. "I didn't know myself until I got there, and I haven't mentioned it to a soul yet. If that girl Annie knows, she must be a clairvoyant."
"It wasn't Annie who told me. It was the milkman. He had it from the Ferrars' cook."
As I say, there is no need for Caroline to go out to get information. She sits at home, and it comes to her.
My sister continued:
"What did she die of? Heart failure?"
"Didn't the milkman tell you that?" I inquired sarcastically.
Sarcasm is wasted on Caroline. She takes it seriously and answers accordingly.
"He didn't know," she explained.
After all, Caroline was bound to hear sooner or later. She might as well hear from me.
"She died of an overdose of veronal. She's been taking it lately for sleeplessness. Must have taken too much."
"Nonsense," said Caroline immediately. "She took it on purpose. Don't tell me!"
It is odd how, when you have a secret belief of your own which you do not wish to acknowledge, the voicing of it by someone else will rouse you to a fury of denial. I burst immediately into indignant speech.
"There you go again," I said. "Rushing along without rhyme or reason. Why on earth should Mrs. Ferrars wish to commit suicide? A widow, fairly young still, very well off, good health, and nothing to do but enjoy life. It's absurd."
"Not at all. Even you must have noticed how different she has been looking lately. It's been coming on for the last six months. She's looked positively hag-ridden. And you have just admitted that she hasn't been able to sleep." --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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I can't say much about the plot without giving away the secret, but it's easy to see why this book caused such a stir and why it continues to be so controversial among fans of classic British mysteries. Some of Christie's colleagues at the Detection Club accused her of cheating, but she stoutly maintained that all the clues were there. I think she's right and the book is even more fun to read the second time to see what you missed on the first reading.
In addition to the tricky plot, the book is of historical interest in other ways. It introduces a character that Christie DID care about. The narrator, Dr. Sheppard, has a nosy, bossy older sister who plays a pivotal role in the story. The author claimed that Carolyn Sheppard was based on her own grandmother and great-aunt, both important figures in her childhood. They were women who appeared to be sheltered and ignorant and yet they were shrewd judges of character and (through gossip and their servants) they knew everything that was going on around them. A few years later, this character would emerge as Miss Jane Marple and the books and stories that feature her are my favorites.
This book also appeared at a pivotal point in Christie's life. Her first book (THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES) was published almost by accident and led to the novice author signing a publishing contract which netted her very little money. She lived up to her obligations, but switched publishers as quickly as possible and made damned sure to be well-represented in the negotiations with her new publishing house. Mrs. Christie may have been shy and unassuming, but she knew her own worth and she wanted to profit from her successful books. "Money, it means much to me and always has done" says Hercule Poirot and the character speaks from the author's heart.
This was her first book with her new publisher and (partly because it was more effectively marketed than her earlier ones) was her most successful to that date. It was also the last book she wrote before her beloved mother died, her first marriage fell apart, and she became a public figure in a most unpleasant way. She would never again be the confident, trusting young woman who wrote this book, but she learned from her mistakes and (eventually) went on to even greater success and personal happiness. Good for her.
If you like Christie or are a fan of mystery, you must get this book. I especially like this particular publisher because of the good quality, attention to detail in editing, and that they organize the stories by Poirot, Marple, etc. in the top left corner.
What a pleasure to revisit Dame Agatha and M. Poirot. In the Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Hercule Poirot has retired to a small village to grow vegetables. He is convinced to return to work by Flora Ackroyd, Roger's niece, to solve the murder and clear the name of her missing fiancé. But things are never as simple as they seem. Roger's own fiancé just committed suicide because she was being blackmailed for murdering her first husband. Everyone in the Ackroyd household is a suspect. M. Poirot is aided in his investigation by the town doctor, Dr. Sheppard, and his gossiping sister. Dr. Sheppard narrates the story. I am pleased with myself for identifying the murderer about three-quarters through the book. That said, I picked the right person for the wrong reasons!
There is not much I can say about this prolific and beloved author that has not already been said. While seemingly simple, the plots are complex and hinge on small details. Careful reading and a good memory is required. It is so much fun to put the pieces together alongside M. Poirot, Miss Marple (love her!), and Tommy and Tuppence. It amazes me that Dame Agatha can write so many varied books without the "formula" so common with other mystery series. If you have not tried one of her books, please do! And if you are a longtime fan like me, pick one up again. You won't be disappointed!
Top international reviews
It starts with you wondering what is going on as it is told in the first person. That person lives with his sister, Caroline, a terrible gossip who is always fishing for information and sticking her nose into other people’s affairs. If you dislike gossips, this book is worth reading for the description of her character alone e.g.:
'...The motto of the mongoose family, so Mr Kipling tells us, is: “Go and find out.” If Caroline ever adopts a crest, I should certainly suggest a mongoose rampant. One might omit the first part of the motto. Caroline can do any amount of finding out by sitting placidly at home…'.
Christie doesn’t let up – Caroline appears throughout the book and the descriptions of her are pithy.
In this book, Poirot is semi-retired. A murder unfolds and there are two oddities – two things that don’t make any sense. One of them is that the murder scene has been slightly changed. “Surely it isn’t important?” says one of the characters to Poirot. Poirot replies: “It is completely unimportant. That is why it is so interesting”. For the rest of the book, you are left trying to figure out why it might be important, before Christie’s hallmark ‘grand reveal’ at the end of the book.
I found the mystery intriguing. I also smile at how things have changed since the book was written e.g. ‘It was Friday night, and on Friday night I wind the clocks…’; the arrival of the ‘evening post’; and a number of references to ‘the electric light’ - I find it interesting that back in 1926 when this book was written, they called a ‘light’ an ‘electric light’.
This was listed in the Guardian as one of Christie’s Top 10 books. However I would not read the synopsis on that web page as it hints at something which you don’t want to know (i.e. what the Guardian says is a bit of a spoiler).
I found the book a bit slow at the start but it gets better. Very much recommended.
Roger Ackroyd is murdered in a locked room. Almost anyone could have done it and plenty seem to have a motive for doing so. Hercule Poirot is living in retirement but feels he wants to involve himself and his 'little grey cells' in the case. The story is narrated by Dr Shepherd, who is Poirot's next door neighbour.
I did enjoy reading this book though Miss Marple is probably my favourite Christie Sleuth. If you haven't read any of Christie's novels then this could be a good one to start with as it is my opinion a much better book that the first Hercule Poirot - The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
Review for The murder of Roger Ackroyd:
Agatha Christie is an absolute genius. She leads you to suspect nearly everyone. But if you’re clever enough(or so you think) you limit your suspicion to 2-3 people. But even the few you suspect to be the murderer isn’t actually the murderer. The murderer is right in front of your eyes. It isn’t until he/she is revealed, do you then make connections with ludicrous past actions and comments and then you say to yourself “ah, I have been fooled indeed”. The twists and turns are what you focus on, the unexpected revelations and confessions veers you off the right track(which you wouldn’t have even been on to begin with). A true genius!
After reading Murder on the Orient Express, I was quite disappointed with The ABC Murders. This book has however abated any doubts I may have had as to the greatness of the author. Bravo!
This is a Hercule Poirot murder mystery and in the story he of the "little grey cells" is in retirement (as if!) attempting to tend to veg marrows when the death of a neighbour, a wealthy widow, occurs. Of course Poirot investigates. The narrator of the story is another neighbour, Dr James Sheppard; he steps into the role of sidekick to Poirot in the absence of Captain Hastings. The murder of Roger Ackroyd follows hard on the heels of the first death. The Ackroyd home is stuffed full of suspects including family, friends and staff. Nicely paced and cleverly plotted, the story contains classic Christie touches such as more than one character having something to hide and wrong doers relying on split second timings. The book is famed for the wonderful twist at the end, which still divides readers, and even though I know what is coming I still marvel at the ingenuity and can cast my mind back to the out-and-out surprise of the first time I read it.
An inspired and standout 5* mystery.
A later case in Poirot’s career, it occurs in his ‘retirement’ to the countryside after Hasting’s departure. But with the mysterious suicide of the close friend of the local aristocrat, he is drawn into a puzzling case where the smallest details, from the position of a chair to the colour of a pair of boots, are the difference between life and death.
As usual, the writing is crisp and wonderfully humourous when humour abounds and dark when mystery multiplies. But the reason this rivals the Murder on the Orient Express to be my favourite Christie novel of all time, is the ending. Poirot gathers the suspects in his classic showdown, but what happens next is so revolutionarily extraordinary it will literally knock you off your seat! Seriously, it may be better to sit safely on the floor when reading the ending...
It is utterly ingenious. And once again, I had no clue whatsoever. READ NOW.
The narrative of the book is very clever and since the beginning, little crumbs of hints are laid by the writer that a ( very alert) reader can pick but such is the masterful narration that the reader pays least notice to these crumbs. It strikes only when the murderer is finally revealed. A great one day read for me.
The book is good, holds the interest. Nothing seems worthless as the narrator never beats about the bush. There's something of value in every line, every gesture and remark. So keep your mind open while reading.
Also, it's quite cheap, got it just for 125 bucks.
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.
The crime/whodunnit is just not my genre so perhaps it’s my failing rather than the book, but I wouldn’t rush to read another one.
The book that changed crime fiction forever. I knew the premise and reputation of this book before I read it. In case you do not, I am not going to give the game away.
This book is a very clever and subtle piece of plotting. If you want to write crime fiction, grab a copy and learn the art. See how many traps you fall into and how plausible and obvious the truth.
Despite knowing the ending here I decided to tackle Roger Ackroyd. It's written in the classic Agatha Christie style of uncluttered prose, with Hercule Poirot (perhaps the best detective character ever written) solving the case through casual conversations and enormous leaps of logic based upon small apparently insignificant scraps of information. And therein lies the magic of Christie's Poirot; we like to try to spot the items of significance but never can. In reality the plotting is full of unlikely events, coincidences and extravagant conclusions, but it's lightweight and enjoyable all the same.