I first read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie in March 2018, and this review was originally posted on my Goodreads account then. Some minor edits have been made to this review.
Agatha Christie, you brilliant storyteller, you. The moment I finished this book, I wanted to start over and read it again.
This mystery novel is about a murder that takes place in a small town. The victim, Roger Ackroyd (bet you didn’t see that coming), turns out to have secrets that are startling and baffling (bet you didn’t see that coming either), and the search for the killer begins in earnest when the great detective Hercule Poirot arrives. From there, our narrator — not our favorite mustachioed crime solver, unusually — takes us on a journey the reader cannot help trying to unravel… and which surprises us in, for me, a rather unexpected way.
We begin by getting to know the narrator, Dr. James Sheppard, and his rather delightfully gossipy sister Caroline. Those two have some great banter throughout the story, though there are several other great characters. But what really kept me so engaged was the murder (to be expected, I suppose). The entire time you read, you feel that the solution is so close to hand. So, when the solution is revealed, it’s all the more satisfying-astounding-obvious. (Assuming you are like me and were unable to solve the murder despite your detailed notes on the characters and the timeline and the evidence and the…)
One thing I especially liked about this book was the point-of-view; we got to see Poirot through another man’s eyes. Therefore, the case seems more opaque, and Poirot’s quirks even more eccentric. It was quite fun to be an outsider of his process.
Avoiding spoilers, the way Christie executes the ending is exceptionally clever. It could have felt like a cheat, but she actually made it make perfect sense. I will remember the last pages so well — the exchange between Poirot and the killer, then the killer’s parting words — just wow.
Overall, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a remarkable book. Well-written characters, an engaging murder mystery, a fantastic use of POV, and an ending that kind of made me scream. There’s a reason why Christie is called the queen of mystery, and this book exemplifies that reason perfectly.
Overall rating: 9/10
What did you think of Roger Ackroyd? Or, if you haven’t read it, what’s the book with the most amazing plot twist you’ve ever read?