NOVEMBER 2015 BOOK OF THE MONTH - THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD

TuppenceTuppence City of London, United Kingdom admin
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is often referred to as the book that changed Agatha Christie's career. It was her first novel published by William Collins, who remained her publishers throughout her life. This November the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) are celebrating 80 years of the Talking Book. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was one of the very first books to be adapted and recorded as a Talking Book in 1935.


Share your thoughts and comments about The Murder of Roger Ackroyd below.
Any questions? Please email generalenquiries@agathachristie.com
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Comments

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭
    I am re-reading it now, I have got to the part where Caroline has told the Doctor Poirot Visited while he was out o
  • luismkluismk Bariloche,Rio Negro, Argentina Investigator
    Es una gran novela, una de mis favoritas.. Muy buena ambientación, personajes creibles y descenlace acorde a la trama, bien planteado el proceso de inverstigación..La recomiendo!!! Por favor, para aquellos que aúbn no la han leido, NO CONTEMOS EL FINAL!!!
  • This book is amazing. I love it. It's masterpiece. The way A.C. develops the plot and its shocking and fantastic ending, it's certainly one of the best!
  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    The characters and their conversations are much more developed than, say, in The Sittaford Mystery - which is a good novel, but more sketchy. I have been interesting myself trying to work out the answer to a difficult question, namely, at what point does Poirot first begin to suspect the murderer? Re-reading the book today, I find myself thinking that it was much earlier than I first thought. I now think that after examining the study, and learning from Parker that the chair had been pulled out, he suspected. When he says he doesn't think it was Parker. I love the way that some of Poirot's comments seem innocent at first, but later on you realise he is suspecting certain people. When he tells SPOILER ALERT the doctor that he realise he is very keen to help him, just like Hastings was, because he is always at his shoulder working out what he is thinking. Obviously Poirot realises that the doctor is just a bit too interested in this investigation. And when the doctor says that he wished he had thought about the question of which family members are going to inherit - Poirot finds this comment significant. I never saw these subtle touches the first three times I read the book.
  • MarcWatson-GrayMarcWatson-Gray Dundee City, United Kingdom ✭✭✭
    Starting this tomorrow.Didn't care for the T.V. adaptation much....Maybe because the book is so good. It's a cold,windy night tonight. About to listen to an audio of Mrs McGinty's Dead...Happy reading folks......Hope you found some audios Griselda...
  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    I haven't found them yet, Marc, but will get on Amazon, and will do what you suggest, and go on You Tube for now. I fancy Mrs McGinty's Dead, and might try it tonight. It is a very surprising ending with superbly planted red herrings. I particularly admire the SPOILER ALERT focus on females, as suspects, and the ambiguous name which might be male or female. I think the visit of Ariadne to the actors. - at a play I think - is the cleverest bit. Something one of the actors says leaves a hint in your brain, but you can't figure out straight away why it's significant.
  • cujascujas Investigator
    I was teaching in France and I had already finished the Christie books that I had brought over. So I went to a French bookstore and I bought Roger Ackroyd.

    It was in French so I was wondering how that was going to work out. I found as I was reading the book that it was her first book, I believe to be published in France. So it was quite a big deal at that time.

    I've heard so many people say that she is the most published author because she appeals to all nationalities. What I found the most amazing about this book, after having read all the others in English, was-- in other words-- it didn't lose any of what I would called intrinsic local color or quality of the English  village or culture.

    After a few paragraphs it was just as though I was reading the book in English. The only difference was what took me 10 minutes at bedtime not took me 20 minutes. But it was so unbelievably enjoyable in a foreign language.

    So I would suggest to anyone who enjoys Christie and who really knows a foreign language to check that out. It adds a new dimension, yet at the same time  is still the reliable Christie. And you get to see, firsthand why she's been translated in every language in the world.
  • cujas, this is very interesting. My first experience of AC was in Hebrew, and I really disliked her. Only years later, when I read her in English, did I enjoy the books. I wonder if the difference in our experiences is because French is closer to English, while Hebrew is a very different language, or because the Hebrew translations at the time were very bad - at that time AC did not have the reputation of a serious writer, and the translations were poorly done and poorly edited. Decades later, my niece read AC books in Hebrew in a new translation and absolutely loved them. 
  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    I just had an interesting thought about this book, which got me thinking. In fact, if it wasn't so perfectly written, and so interesting, what I've noticed might even count as a plot fault. It's about a what if. If Poirot had not investigated the mystery of Roger Ackroyd, sooner or later, SPOILER ALERT, the doctor would have had to do something with Ralph. He could not keep him in the nursing home forever, under a false name, so eventually, he would have had to take him on a day trip and kill him, and make it look like an accident, but he couldn't make it look like an accident, because everyone at the nursing home would know that it was he, Dr Sheppard who had taken him out, and, anyway, Ralph would eventually get bored of pretending to be sick, and to be someone else, and would just say who he was, and in a posh voice, which  would guarantee respect,  command his underlings, the staff, to call the police. He would be missing his true 'wife' and need to reassure her. When the police realised Sheppard had helped hide him, they would have wondered what on earth was going on, and why he, a doctor, had lied to them, and they would have suspected lies in the rest of his story. First card in his house of cards to come crashing down would be the phone call. The police would realise that this phone call was essential to get the body discovered at a particular time, and that it was very weird and unaccountable, and they would question whether it happened as he said. He would have lost his career for lying and helping a suspect, so it was unlikely he would have done it-  the hiding of Ralph. I guess, the plan might have been to kill Ralph with poison at the nursing home,  and say it was natural causes, but then he'd have to go through paperwork to notify the family of 'John Smith' ( or whatever was the pseudonym). Surely easier to have killed Ralph on the way to the nursing home, and to make it seem like suicide driven by a guilty conscience at having killed his stepfather. Not such a good story that way, not such happy ending. It makes me think that when we speak about a story by AC being perfect, we mean perfect for we readers in making us guess, and keeping the rules of sporting with the reader but giving enough clues perfectly fair.
  • GriseldaGriselda ✭✭✭✭
    Following on from my last post, if Poirot had not been on the scene, and Ralph had managed to leave the nursing home and give his true story to the police, the fact that Sheppard SPOILER ALERT had helped him would have made it seem probable  that both men were in some way involved in the murder: I think the police would think that they were both in it together, and that, for some reason, they had needed to get Roger Ackroyd out of the way. The police would not believe any professional would be so altruistic so as to get themselves involved with a murderer - to shield him, just out of kindness. The police may have wondered if Sheppard could be Ralph's true father, perhaps, and whether this could account for his willingness to protect Ralph. But Sheppard's plan as AC devises it is foolhardy - too foolhardy to be realistic. To be reasonable, Ralph alive and kicking and very evident in the vicinity of the country house and village would have made a good scape goat, given the boot print, so why bother to hide him at all? Perhaps Sheppard knew Ralph was likeable and well-known in the area (Colonel Melchett believe he could be innocent because he has known the lad all his life). Perhaps Sheppard, a shy cautious type, doesn't trust his own story will be believed with a passionate and appealing, not to say well-born, young man loudly and ingenuously contradicting it. AC usually thinks through permutations, so I expect she subjected her plot, in this instance, to rigorous scrutiny.
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