The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot #4), by Agatha Christie

Eight stars

Back for more Agatha Christie, I turned to the forth novel in the Hercule Poirot series. Full of the same writing that Christie has made popular over the years, the book seeks to explore a murder like no other with a cast of suspects that only Poirot could analyze effectively. When the well-to-do gentleman, Roger Ackroyd, is found murdered in his home, all eyes turn to those who had seen him in his last hours. From maids to butlers and even a few family members, the list of suspects is high, as are the motives. It will take the keen observances of Hercule Poirot, retired Belgian detective, to piece it all together and come up with the guilty party. That revelation may be a surprise to many, as Agatha Christie proves why she is the Dame of Mystery.

King’s Abbot is a quaint English village, full of wonderful people. However, the locals are left aghast when the widow Ferrars takes an overdose of a drug and ends up dying. If that were not enough, a second body, that of Roger Ackroyd, is found murdered in his home not twenty-four hours later. While the local constabulary begins their investigation, nothing is coming together, leaving more questions than answers.

When someone suggests reaching out to Hercule Poirot, a retired Belgian detective, the police jump at the opportunity. Not only has Poirot made a name for himself, but his keen sense of detection is unlike anything many have seen. When Poirot arrives to examine the Ackroyd household, he begins developing some theories that might offer new leads. Roger Ackroyd was involved in many things, all of which could bode poorly for him and leads to a long list of suspects.

As Poirot whittles down the list to something more manageable, he makes a few key revelations that are not readily apparent from the outset. However, it will take some trickery and a little deception to coax the killer out of the woodwork and ensure justice is done for Roger Ackroyd and his family. Agatha Christie does a wonderful job in this, her most intense crime thriller to date. It’s sure to impress those who, like me, have come to enjoy the series.

When I began this series, I was not sure what to expect. Having surrounded myself with many mysteries over the years, I find myself to be somewhat of a expert reader on the subject. However, Agatha Christie takes things to a new level, creating pure and unadulterated stories that truly show crime thrillers as they were meant to be, without all the fluff and extemporaneous aspects to the story. Christie does well to delve deeply into the story and keeps the reader entertained throughout, without losing any of the momentum they would expect of a well-crafted tale.

While the story centres around the mystery of Roger Ackroyd and his murder, I did not feel that anyone stole the limelight in this piece. Poirot was ever-present, offering up his insights and ideas, but did not commandeer the narrative at any point. Rather, Christie offered a well-rounded collection of views and characters who flavoured the writing well and kept the reader informed of what was going on, which only made things better throughout the journey. I can only wonder if this will be the case for subsequent novels.

Those who seek a strong mystery at a time when the genre was just coming into its own will not be disappointed with this piece. Agatha Christie writes with such ease and makes the reader feel as though they are part of the action. She weaves her stories through a strong narrative and great plot lines. The attentive reader will pick up on some of the nuances embedded into the story, allowing them to enjoy things on a deeper level. Chapters are of a decent length and allow the reader to see how things play out effectively. I have read a few of the stories beforehand and so I am aware of how things develop, but I am still eager to see what is to come and how I will continue to enjoy all that Christie has to offer.

Kudos, Dame Christie, for another winner. Let’s keep going to see where it leads us!