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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a Poirot mystery.  One of the characters, Caroline, was an early version of Miss Marple.

Roger Ackroyd is a rich man who lives in a large house along with his widowed sister in law and her daughter, his private secretary, a butler, a housekeeper and a chambermaid.  The house is presently being visited by a Major.

The narrator is Doctor Shepherd who lives in the village along with his sister Caroline.  Dr Shepherd is, at the commencement of the story, dealing with the apparent suicide of Mrs Ferrars.  We learn that Mrs Ferrars was likely to have been soon married to Roger Ackroyd.  Her own husband died a year ago and rumour is (so the village gossip Caroline informs) that she murdered him, though it was treated as suicide.

Roger Ackroyd is beside himself and calls for Dr Shepherd to dine with him that night urgently as he wishes to speak with him.  He tells Dr Shepherd after dinner that he is convinced that Mrs Ferrars would not have left without communicating with him and, indeed, as they are talking the evening post arrives and Ackroyd finds a letter from her.  Ferrars had, the previous day, told Ackroyd that she had indeed murdered her husband which he found difficult to comprehend and he is now devastated that her response to this was to kill herself.  In the letter she reveals that she is being blackmailed but at the crucial moment, the moment of revealing who by, Ackroyd breaks off and says that he should deal with this in confidence and asks the Doctor to leave.  The Doctor begs him to reveal the criminal but this just makes Ackroyd all the more stubborn.

On the walk home the doctor meets a stranger looking for the house and gives him directions.  Shortly after reaching home the Doctor receives a phone call and returns to the house informing the Butler that he had received a call from him saying Ackroyd had been murdered. The butler denied making the call and denied that this could be the case.  They break the door to Ackroyd’s study down and find him dead in his chair, stabbed with his own knife.

The police are called.

It turns out that Monsieur Poirot has moved next door to the doctor and as he is retired has not corrected the public on their identifying him by the name of PORROT.  The day after the murder Ackroyds niece persuade Dr Shepherd to visit the great detective with her and urge him to take the case.

They go and he takes the case.

The rest is the story.  Poirot works though the occupants of the house speaking to each one and piecing together a time line until eventually he holds a late night meeting at his house where he reveals the killers details.

Den den den.

So far I would say this was my favourite Agatha Christie though definitely Crooked House is also excellent.  The characters are so very good and I can hear them speak so clearly in my head.  This was a clever story and the planning is just meticulous.  The stories of each character are so cleverly interwoven with each other that frankly you don’t have a chance of guessing.  Honestly, just read and enjoy!

5/5