Guess who killed Roger Ackroyd?
You won’t – even though, as ever, Agatha Christie has provided plenty of clues to tease readers-turned-amateur detectives.
But you’d need the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot to identify the killer in Christie’s groundbreaking 1926 whodunit.
Sorry, answering that question would be a SPOILER.
However, it’s not giving anything away to say that the twist at the end probably changed the detective fiction genre forever.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is narrated by Dr James Sheppard, who lives with his sister Caroline in the little village of King’s Abbot, which is short on able-bodied men but rich in unmarried ladies and retired military officers.
Caroline is consumed with curiosity when the little Belgian detective moves in next door – especially as the village Intelligence Corps fails to supply any information about the newcomer.
However, he and Sheppard soon become friends and, when Ackroyd, ‘a man more impossibly like a county squire than any county squire could be’, is murdered, Poirot enlists the doctor to fill the shoes of his friend Hastings, now living in South America.
Poirot invites him to record details of their investigation and Dr Sheppard proves a meticulous narrator.
Jewel in the crown
Indeed, he even admits in the closing pages that he is rather pleased with himself as a writer.
He’s right to be pleased – this is another jewel in the Christie crown that, like all her best mysteries allows suspicion to fall on everyone in turn.
It doesn’t matter that I know the identity of the murderer this remains a Christie favourite – as you can tell from the well-worn cover.
Review by Sue Featherstone.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is available to buy on Amazon.