The year was 1926, and Agatha Christie had just published her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced detective Hercule Poirot and helped to establish Christie as one of the best crime writers in history. The novel also featured an intriguing mystery that led to one of the most famous literary controversies of all time, known as the murder of Roger Ackroyd. This murder story, based on real events in 1926 that would influence Agatha Christie’s writing forevermore, makes for a fascinating and captivating tale worth revisiting today.
Agatha Christie had established herself as one of the most famous mystery writers in history by the time she published her book The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. However, critics and readers alike accused her of betraying the principles of the classic whodunit by giving away too much of the plot in the novel’s first few pages, rather than slowly revealing all over the course of several chapters or even multiple books.
Most of Agatha Christie’s mysteries are set in or near her home in Devon, England, and the village of St. Mary Mead and its surrounding countryside play an important role in several of her novels and short stories, including The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. In it, she describes the scenery and buildings as picturesque but also characterizes the village as shabby and distressed by neglect—two descriptions that seem to contradict one another.
An Overview of The Intriguing Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Roger Ackroyd is found dead in his study. It becomes clear that this is not a suicide but murder, and the detective, Hercule Poirot, sets out to find out who killed him. There are many suspects: other residents of the house where he died; people who had a relationship with him in the past or present; those who might have been jealous or resentful of him.
And then there’s Mr. Raymond – the one person who has given no motive for killing Ackroyd. His death would benefit from an inheritance and it would be easy enough for him to plant poison in Ackroyd’s drink without anyone noticing. But it turns out he was only playing cards at a friend’s home that night, so couldn’t be guilty either.
A motive for killing Ackroyd soon appears when Mrs. Ferrars reveals she spent money which wasn’t hers on behalf of her sister-in-law Lettie because she thought Lettie was dying from cancer even though she wasn’t actually sick – but now her husband will divorce her if they can prove what she did so they’re all in danger because they’ll lose their share of Mr. Ferrars’ inheritance.
She also wanted revenge against Ackroyd for refusing to help her when she needed it most and knew he could never be caught as long as he stayed alive. The police arrest Mrs. Ferrars, who tries to use the same logic again, that someone else must have done it since she didn’t commit any crime herself.
The detective looks back over everything he knows about Ackroyd and concludes that no outsider could possibly know everything about the case unless they were very close to him like family members, friends or servants and none of these possibilities seem likely so must be wrong after all. He decides Mrs. Ferrars must have committed the murder instead since this is the only explanation left and brings charges against her for having poisoned Roger Ackroyd deliberately.
Characters of the Book
Roger Ackroyd is a wealthy bachelor who lives in the fictional village of King’s Abbot. He has one sister, Cora, and two brothers-in-law: Dr. James Sheppard and Mr. James Wargrave. Major Blunt is a retired military man who lives in the same village as Roger Ackroyd and has known him for many years. The novel also includes an assortment of other villagers, including Mrs. Maud Bellamy, Miss Jane Marple, Dr. Quimper, Captain Arthur Hastings, and Sergeant Cuff.
What Makes This Book A Fantastic Read?
Agatha Christie is a masterful mystery writer, and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is no exception. This book tells the story of a murder in an English village in 1926, with twists and turns that will keep you guessing.
The book also features multiple perspectives, making it more difficult to predict the outcome. Moreover, it has plenty of red herrings and surprises to keep you interested in finding out what really happened. Also, it has several plot twists which make for an unpredictable ending.