“always bear in mind that the person who speaks may be lying”
― Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
I spent my early teenage years obsessing over Agatha Christie books. My father has a complete collection of her books and he always urged me to read them – and because I exhausted my comic books and children lit, I grabbed one of them and my life changed. I became a girl who was obsessed with murder, mystery, and detectives.
The Murder of Roger Ackyord was one of Agatha Christie’s best, although it might not be my favourite but I agree with the critics, it’s one of the most brilliant. I’ll give you some summary but don’t worry, there’ll be no spoilers!
In a little village where Hercule Poirot chose to retire and grew vegetable marrow, a murder happened. Roger Ackyord, a rich business man, was found dead in his study. There were so many suspects, his stepson who was deep in debt, his niece – who in needs of money, his housemaid – who he was thinking of marrying once, his butler – who acted suspicious, the list goes on and on. To his good friend Dr. Shephard, Roger told him in confidence of the trouble that has been following him. His fiance, Mrs. Ferrars, was found dead in her sleep. Mrs. Ferrars had an abusive alcoholic husband and she killed her husband by poisoning him – apparently someone in the village found out and had been blackmailing Mrs Ferrars for money. Mrs Ferrars told Roger this but she didn’t tell him her blackmailer name until her death. However, she sent Roger a letter with the name of the person.
When reading the letter in his study, Roger was killed. The letter was missing. And Hercule Poirot was called for help.
“What one does not tell to Papa Poirot he finds out.”
I think Agatha’s mysteries are great not because of the tricks – often I found at the end that they all were quite simple. Her forte lays in the way she presented her mysteries to the readers. She knew how to divert our focus, but she did it subtle enough that we actually feel so foolish (but entertained nevertheless) once we found out who the murderer was and what the trick used. Her mysteries all feel very female – no actions, no shooting, no chasing around (well maybe not much), they’re always so calm, happen in a little town or village, among civilised and normal people (one of them is definitely the murderer!). Yet, her simple and innocence style lets us see the evil in human nature so vividly.
I enjoyed rereading this book and this gorgeous edition makes me want to collect all the edition in the series.