The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot #4) by Agatha Christie

One-Sentence Summary: Roger Ackroyd's lover is going to reveal who has been blackmailing her and forces her to commit suicide, but the blackmailer has acted first before the revelation.

The narrator, Dr James Sheppard, introduces himself at the beginning of his memoir and recalls a murder that occurred in his town. It begins with a conversation with his sister Caroline during breakfast about the death of Mrs Ferrars. Caroline is convinced that Mrs Ferrars has committed suicide after she had poisoned her husband a few years ago. James denies her baseless assumption and believes that Mrs Ferrars died due to an overdose of drugs and her husband's death is related to excessive consumption of alcohol. James is getting frustrated with his sister, who knows every news in the village before him and, at the same time, spreading her assumptions to other villagers in King's Abbot.

In King's Abbot, there are two houses of importance in the village - King's Paddock, left to Mrs Ferrars by her husband, and another is Fernly Park, owned by Roger Ackroyd. Roger Ackroyd is a highly successful manufacturer of wagon wheels. When he was twenty-one, he married a woman who was a few years his senior, but the marriage was cut short. She died after four years of her marriage due to alcohol abuse. His wife's child by her first marriage, Ralph Paton, is now twenty-five and is a wild boy that causes a lot of trouble to his stepfather. Gossip is the soul of life to the villagers in King's Abbot. The villagers notice a close relationship between Ackroyd and Mrs Ferrars and assume the couple will get married soon. However, there are other rumours of potential Mrs Ackroyd, including his series of housekeepers throughout the years and the unexpected arrival of his widowed sister-in-law from Canada. Mrs Cecil Ackroyd, a widow to Roger Ackroyd's younger brother, has arrived with her daughter and live in Ferny Park.

James is unconvinced that Mrs Ferrars died of suicide because she never left any notes behind. He recalls that he saw Ralph Paton talking to her earnestly the day before. Ackroyd invites James to Fernly Park for dinner and seems to have no idea that Ralph was in King's Abbot when James mentioned Ralph to him. Ackroyd reveals his problems to James about Mrs Ferrar's confession before her death. She admitted to Ackroyd that she poisoned her husband a few years ago, and someone has been blackmailing her since then. Ackroyd receives a letter from her about the decision of committing suicide and asks him to punish the blackmailer who pushes her to the dead end. However, Ackroyd chooses not to read the blackmailer's name and asks James to leave him alone. When James arrives home and almost goes to bed, he receives a call about Ackroyd's death.

Meanwhile, a new neighbour has recently moved in, and his name is Mr Porrott. Nobody knows anything about the secretive man except his interest in growing vegetable marrows. The man's secrecy frustrates Caroline because she can't get more information to satisfy her curiosity. The story later reveals the actual name of Mr Porrott is Hercule Poirot, the prominent detective that had retired one year ago and wanted to live a quiet life. Poirot's peaceful life is cut short when Ackroyd's niece Flora wants to clear her fiancé's name, Ralph Paton.

I loved the colourful characters and the gossip surrounding the village. The villagers have different theories about everything and simultaneously spread various news around the town. I liked village gossip because it challenges the investigation, and investigators have to sift through the overwhelming information to extract the truth. The gentle humour and wittiness throughout the story have enthralled the readers to keep reading and get involved in seeking the murderer. The murderer will only be revealed until the last few pages. Everyone is a suspect, but they have their alibis, respectively. At the same time, there are loopholes in their accounts because everyone has their own secrets and benefits from Roger Ackroyd's death. There will be very few readers able to solve the murder, and the ending was out of expectation. This has to be one of the best crime novels I have ever read. This book will make you applaud the writer's brilliance and says, "Well Played, Agatha".

ISBN: 9780062073563 (ebook)
Number of Pages: 286
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
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