Having never read an Agatha Christie novel or any detective fiction before, I was pleasantly surprised at how crafted this novel proved to be. Albeit, I was rather sceptical; my idea of Agatha Christie was naive and tainted by an impression that only an older audience would enjoy her writing. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Christie is a perfectly easy read for anybody looking for an enthralling and intellectual book. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the perfect starting novel for your appreciation of Christie’s writing talent to begin.
The novel, as the title implies, is about the murder of a wealthy village man, Roger Ackroyd. It is infamous French detective Hercule Poirot’s job to uncover the truth. Like a game of Cluedo there is a pool of characters, with the quintessential ‘whodunit’ theme running with the audience throughout the unravelling plot. Was it the problematic ‘adopted son’ Ralph Paton? How about shady Flora Ackroyd, the potential daughter in law seeking a fortune? There are so many brilliant crime connotations in Christie’s novel: the suicide of Roger’s fiancé-to-be, Mrs Ferrars, revelations of blackmail, and a secret marriage between unlikely classes of people. While all of this develops, the novel is still expertly easy to follow.
Agatha Christie is an extremely talented writer. The interlinking of clues and a pool of suspects give the reader a chance to solve the mystery. Crucial reveals of plot changing clues are timed rather effectively throughout the book. There really is a sense of the unknown in this novel. Perhaps nowadays we live in an era in which we feel the need to know everything in an instance; The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd slows the reader down, and through Dr Sheppard’s narration the reader is transported into the tale almost as if the detective process is unravelling before their own eyes.
Pure detective genius, Christie expertly tricks her readers into a real twist of an ending. Some critics state that this book is ‘a one trip pony’, meaning that once the murderer is revealed, perhaps the novel will not have the same sense of heightened tension as it may have done on the first read. However, without the pressure of needing to uncover the murder at the end, the reader can begin to link clues to the said murderer they had glazed over initially. Nevertheless, this novel is a must-read, especially to novice crime and detection readers, or simply a reader looking a great story with a very unexpected twist!
Words by Megan Tarbuck