I haven’t read all of Agatha Christie’s books, but when I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, I knew that it figured among the best of her novels. Right up there alongside Murder on the Orient Express, this book makes you scratch your head while marveling at the art that is Agatha Christie. More than 90 years have passed since The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was published, but the web it weaves has remained consistently intricate.
Hercule Poirot is an interesting, eccentric character, a Belgian detective who knows his powers, who deciphers everything that’s going on, and who’s not as Sherlock Holmes as other detectives turn out to be. He knows how to humor people and to get out of them the exact details that he is looking to get. He is polite, sometimes berates himself, and sometimes rude or authoritative when the occasion demands it. When Agatha Christie describes his appearance, he seems strange. But when it comes to solving crimes, he is miles away from being called strange.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a novel that takes flight gradually. Yes, the title and the author tells you what it’s about but the book starts off as a warm, gossipy kind of story, so much that it might almost fool you into thinking you’d been conned. Almost. And before you know it, the murder mystery of the book is kicking you in the gut and twisting your insides. The nail-biting anticipation is almost too much to bear. But it is the way Christie weaves her stories that makes the wait all the more sweet.
Agatha Christie, the Queen of crime thrillers, was an enigma unto herself, one that the world has been enamored with long after she passed from it. In every book she wrote, every story she built, she made sure she put her everything in those words. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is one such story, the end of which leaves the reader reeling with shock.
When you read an Agatha Christie novel, you try to solve the crime yourself, guessing and second-guessing every fact that is being put through to you. In this novel, I tried to do the same and got a little cocky. But the Dame has her way of putting you in your place. The end! My God, the end! Never in your dreams could you have imagined! And so many places, she has put clues in! But you cannot know that the clue is a clue and that the end is justified until you read through the book at least a couple of times!
The entire story is pretty straightforward. You think someone killed Roger Ackroyd (no spoilers there). You think someone close to Roger Ackroyd killed him because he has a motive. You think you would understand, with the ease with which Christie has written the story, that there is no way the end is actually the end. The book leaves you in denial, but if you are being rational and true to yourself, you know it makes sense. It makes the most sense!
I might not be able to talk coherently about The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (the book, not an actual murder) without mumbling, fumbling, and bumbling about for a long time to come! And I wish I could give it more than just the 5 stars. But for now, I’ll make do with calming down enough to do something productive and giving it the full 5 stars!
Now I understand why it figures in so many must-read lists! I never doubted Agatha Christie but The Murder of Roger Ackroyd has destroyed even the slightest possibility of that ever happening!
Rating: 5/5 stars
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