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The murder of Roger Ackroyd
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Top customer reviews
This novel has all the ingredients which we associate with early 20th Century crime novels. A murder in a country house with a large cast of characters. Everyone is a suspect. Everyone has a motive Everyone has something to hide. The cunning Belgian detective investigates each suspect meticulously in turn. He doesn't quite eliminate them, but instead keeps all the balls in the air until the last few pages, keeping the reader guessing till the last. We finish off with the much-copied classic scene - M. Poirrot drawing all the possible suspects together in a single room with the lines we all want to read at the end of a novel like this "I know the murderer is in this room now".
Crime Fiction doesn't get more classic than this. Even though the novel is now almost 90 years old it still reads as fresh as though it was written yesterday. There is nothing out of place and nothing dated about the writing. Perhaps most refreshingly, even though there are wealthy people and servants, there is none of the shocking upstairs/downstairs class prejudice which is seen in other fiction from early 20th Century.
It is a good read but with careful thought the murderer can be identified quiet early on.
No Hastings or Japp in this story, I always think they make her books more interesting.
I find this more contrived than her earlier books.
Is it her best? that is down to personal opinion,I am of the opinion it is not her finest work.
It's interesting that Poirot's usual assistant, Captain Hastings, has been written out 'to the Argentine' and the narrator's spot is taken by one of the characters close to the victim - the local doctor. This provides a good point of view as it's someone who knows and can explain the characters' backgrounds, and who doesn't understand Poirot - whereas Hastings would have come to expect things. Unlike some of the Marple novels which have this structure, it doesn't feel as if the detective has been shoehorned in, but is there as a natural extension of his own ongoing narrative.
The Christie clichés are still present - the large country house full of suspects, all of whom have motive, opportunity and secrets (but then that's integral to the mystery). It's amazing that I can read these still without seeing through the clues. I need to remember in future that nothing is mentioned by Christie without being relevant, even tiny things - it was not until about two pages before the reveal that I fell in, and everything that had been mentioned clicked. Christie really was a genius.
So yes, it's a good book and it certainly had me fooled, although a couple of bits were a little 'meta' - with the doctor writing the narrative forming a part of the narrative, and even lending his manuscript to Poirot. A satisfying mystery.
It built the suspense right until the end, and I was left guessing under Poirot revealed the details of the murder. Excellent novel, highly recommended!
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