Book Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (1926)

Synopsis: After Dr. James Sheppard declares a wealthy widow's death a suicide, her best friend, Roger Ackroyd, confides in him and reveals she was being blackmailed for murdering her husband and sent him a yet-to-be-read letter that likely identifies the person behind it. When Ackroyd is found murdered later that evening, his missing cash-strapped nephew becomes the primary suspect. But, with a house full of potential murder suspects, Sheppard, along with his new neighbor, Hercule Poirot, conduct their own investigation.

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Review: My oldest daughter was at the ice rink for more than 2 hours last night and, because of that, I had an opportunity to finish up this book. So far, ever since I started reading Agatha Christie's novels, I have been impressed. This one, however, was the first one that left me saying "wow."

I love "who dunnit" mysteries and this one was one of the best ones I've read. While the missing nephew seemed like the most likely suspect and all the evidence kept pointing in his direction, pretty much everyone else in the house seemed to be hiding something, making them all potential murderers and blackmailers as well.

And, I have to admit, this mystery left me completely stumped. While I haven't always been right when reading books like this, I usually can form some sort of guess. This time around, I wasn't even able to do that, especially as Poirot started clearing people one-by-one. Since I was certain it wasn't the nephew (too obvious), the book seemed to be running out of suspects to the point I began to wonder if maybe Ackroyd somehow managed to kill himself.

Then, when Poirot revealed the killer's identity, it took a short while for it to sink in because it turned out to be the absolutely last person I would have suspected, though, upon further reflection, it became obvious (from some of the questions he was asking) Poirot likely suspected that person from the start.

Another thing I liked about this mystery is the way it gives the reader some insight into Poirot's investigative process. While the detective conveniently left out the important things, his explanation about how he essentially considers everything a potential lie until he gets confirmation was intriguing (and, again, made his primary suspect a little more obvious upon further reflection).

Final Opinion: This was an intriguing murder mystery with plenty of potential suspects, just as many motives and a big surprise reveal. I enjoyed every page of it as a result.

My Grade: A

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