murder roger

After reading so many contemporary novels over the past few months, last week I wanted to read something old fashioned, comforting and familiar – so I turned to Agatha Christie. It seems odd to say that a book about a murder is comforting, but there is something about Christie that is so routine and recognizable and that makes her novels a nice reprieve from modern life. And haven’t we needed an escape lately?

This novel is narrated by a Dr. Sheppard of King’s Abbot, a small village to where Hercule Poirot has retired to tend to his garden and retire from society. But as everyone there knows he is a lauded detective he gets asked to help when Roger Ackroyd, a wealthy businessman, is found stabbed to death in a locked room. With the assistance of Dr. Sheppard, Poirot goes through his usual logic-based investigations, relying on village gossip and speculation to fill in the blanks.

It all smoothly hurtles along until the reader is snapped to attention by the completely astounding ending. It’s an ending that I certainly didn’t see coming and it is so admirably clever that I sat in silent admiration for Christie’s skill after the last page had been turned.

I’ve read a lot of  contemporary mysteries lately and I have to say that this novel trumps them all. I’d forgotten what a skillful writer Christie is and how you can get lost in her books like nothing else. After finishing this I ordered a few more Poirots to read over the summer and I’m looking forward to spending a few lazy afternoons  reading about the Belgian detective and his little grey cells.

*Thanks to Simon and Rachel for mentioning The Murder of Roger Ackroyd on their “Tea or Books?” podcast and inspiring me to read it.

15 Comments

  1. Isn’t it a wonderful book? I also go to Christie for comfort reading and to be reminded just how brilliant a writer she is. I agree – modern stuff pales by comparison!

    • It really does! I think modern mysteries attempt to be dark and gothic and complex. I do like a lot of them, but there is nothing like a good, old-fashioned murder mystery to make you see that many of them are just trying too hard!

  2. I love Agatha Christie but unfortunately I spoiled this one for myself by guessing the solution (I could remember reading another book with a similar twist). I hope you enjoy your other Poirots!

  3. piningforthewest

    I find a lot of vintage crime books to be real comfort reads. If you haven’t already done so you should try Dorothy L. Sayers.

  4. Yes, this is a wonderful book. I do wish I could come to it again, not knowing that extraordinary twist.

  5. I can still remember the shock of that ending! And I must have read it at least 30 years ago.

  6. I love a good, cosy crime and you’ve reminded me how much I need to read more Agatha Christie!

  7. Yayyyy! I love this book! I actually have a whole crapload of Agatha Christie books and I’ve been meaning to do a reread for a while. Hercule Poirot is my favorite!

  8. I’ve heard so much about the shocking ending of this one that I’m getting really curious about it! I may have to seek this one out sooner rather than later.

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