Book Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

February 13, 2012


It has certainly been some time since I did a book review. However, it has not been too long. The reason for this was what happened last month. I still suffer from the feelings of loneliness and read very little immediately after it happened, but I did try to do some things to keep me occupied. Today, I will review a book that I had for a while and recently finished, which is called The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.

Roger Ackroyd is a man of extreme wealth and is strict with his money matters. However, his doctor, Dr. Sheppard, is made known to the fact that Roger knew somebody was blackmailing the recently deceased Mrs. Ferrars. Not succeeding in finding out alongside Roger who had been blackmailing her, Sheppard leaves the premise. Later, he is called back to Roger's residence on a call claiming that Roger had been found dead. Authorities suspect Roger's adopted son, Ralph, but others think he is innocent, which prompts Hercule Poirot to take up another, though he claims to have retired, and find the real culprit.

This was a very enjoyable book. I had my suspicions on one person and it did keep pointing in that individual's direction. It also seemed to show the importance of gossip to an investigation of murder. Each suspect seemed to hold their secrets very well, except for one, who was a perfectly innocent man. Once again, Poirot showed that he does not really assume anything. He takes various possibilities into account and that is what leads us to the truth. After all, scientific experiments are supposedly based on assumption. At the same time, these days, we have faked evidence of those assumptions even outside the archeological realm. Such methods rarely, if ever, lead to the truth. As that is for a different topic, I will not discuss further, just keep in mind that assumptions are almost never a good thing. What surprised me though was the ending. As it will spoil things, I will not discuss it, outside of the fact that I have not come across much of what exactly happened.

Although the book was enjoyable, there were some things that were not so great, but none took down the quality of the work. The first thing that I did not particularly like was the fact that the background characters, such as Sheppard's sister, though she did ply role as information gatherer, and her merry band of gossip lovers all had their own assumptions. It is not that they had their own assumptions that annoyed me, since almost everyone in detective fiction, crime fiction, and mystery all have their assumptions. One may say that three are all the same genre, but each have their differences. Presence of a mystery does not necessarily mean that a crime has been committed. A crime story does not always have the genius detective that catches the culprit. The thing that annoys me is that they have no evidence. It is common in stories like this, at least from what I have been reading and watching, so it cannot really take the work down. However, in both my line of study, which involves computers, and criminal investigation, making assumptions without evidence gets nowhere. That is the reason people like me run tests, when we troubleshoot computers, and law enforcement investigates many leads. My biggest complaint though had to do with the ending, which I stated earlier surprised me. However, since I did not mention why I liked the ending, I cannot discuss what I did not like about it, except for the fact that some things did hint towards the possibility, so I was not totally surprised.

Despite my annoyance with background characters making baseless assumptions and the fact that the end was not totally surprising, yet still a bit surprising, I cannot really say that this book was not worth my time. I definitely recommend it to fans of crime and detective fiction.

What are your thoughts on The Murder of Roger Ackroyd? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Feel free to comment.

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