The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4) by Agatha Christie
Amy Caudill‘s review
While this was hardly the first novel by Agatha Christie I have read, I was pleasantly surprised by how much Dame Christie could surprise me with hidden depths in her characters and writing style.
This particular work, touted as number 4 in the Hercule Poirot series, opens with a Poirot who has retired and is living semi-anonymously in a small English village. When a local wealthy man is murdered on the heels of the suicide of a local wealthy woman whom he was close to, someone close to the cases comes forward and pleads with the famed detective to assist.
Poirot agrees, in part because he is already getting bored with his retirement, and enlists the local physician, Dr. James Albertson, to take over the duties of chronicler/assistant normally ascribed to his longtime friend Albert Hastings. Together they will work with the local police as they interview the members of the household and examine several scenes for clues and rumors relating to the events of the murder. Dr. Albertson, himself one of the last people to see Ackroyd alive, writes his observations knowing Poirot has guessed he is hiding information from the investigation.
While Dr. Albertson includes many of his thoughts in his narrations; he leaves out just enough that when Poirot reveals the truth, we are left realizing what an unreliable narrator the reader has had all along. This is where I marveled at Christie’s design; the voice of the narrator seemed perfectly sober and honest up until the end; I had assumed that this new character was simply the Hastings for this story, when instead we got so much more.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and recommend it to aficionados of mysteries everywhere. For those who haven’t tried the classic cases of Agatha Christie, her stories have timeless appeal for readers young and old. I award this story five stars.