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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

4.4 167
by Agatha Christie

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Dr. Sheppard has no idea his finicky, foreign neighbor is actually retired detective Hercule Poirot. When wealthy Roger Ackroyd is found brutally murdered, Poirot can’t resist stepping it to sort out clues and find the killer. This third Poirot mystery has all the author’s trademark touches — a pithy portrait of English village life, a cast of unforgettable characters


Dr. Sheppard has no idea his finicky, foreign neighbor is actually retired detective Hercule Poirot. When wealthy Roger Ackroyd is found brutally murdered, Poirot can’t resist stepping it to sort out clues and find the killer. This third Poirot mystery has all the author’s trademark touches — a pithy portrait of English village life, a cast of unforgettable characters, and a plot of Byzantine complexity. Due to its shocking twist ending, the book remains one of the most controversial mysteries ever written.

Editorial Reviews

Gale Research
"The Murder of Roger Ackroyd," wrote a New York Times reviewer, "cannot be too highly praised for its clean-cut construction, its unusually plausible explanation at the end, and its ability to stimulate the analytical faculties of the reader." "The secret [of this novel] is more than usually original and ingenious," a Nation reviewer thought, "and is a device which no other writer could have employed without mishap." William Rose Benet of Saturday Review recommended that The Murder of Roger Ackroyd "should go on the shelf with the books of first rank in its field. The detective story pure and simple has as definite limitations of form as the sonnet in poetry. Within these limitations, with admirable structured art, Miss Christie has genuinely achieved."
Library Journal
These are the initial eight volumes in what will grow to 24 over two years in Black Dog's new "Agatha Christie Collection." The books are all decent-quality hardcovers for a bargain price. If you're regularly replacing your Christies, gives these more durable editions a try. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins UK
Publication date:
Collins English Readers Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Dr. Sheppard at the Breakfast Table

Mrs. Ferrars died on the night of the 16th-17th September--a Thursday. I was sent for at eight o'clock on the morning of Friday the 17th. There was nothing to be done. She had been dead some hours.

It was just a few minutes after nine when I reached home once more. I opened the front door with my latch-key and purposely delayed a few moments in the hall, hanging up my hat and the light overcoat that I had deemed a wise precaution against the chill of an early autumn morning. To tell the truth, I was considerably upset and worried. I am not going to pretend that at that moment I foresaw the events of the next few weeks. I emphatically did not do so. But my instinct told me that there were stirring times ahead.

From the dining-room on my left there came the rattle of tea-cups and the short, dry cough of my sister Caroline.

"Is that you, James?" she called.

An unnecessary question, since who else could it be? To tell the truth, it was precisely my sister Caroline who was the cause of my few minutes' delay. The motto of the mongoose family, so Mr. Kipling tells us, is: "Go and find out." If Caroline ever adopts a crest, I should certainly suggest a mongoose rampant. One might omit the first part of the motto. Caroline can do any amount of finding out by sitting placidly at home. I don't know how she manages it, but there it is. I suspect that the servants and the tradesmen constitute her Intelligence Corps. When she goes out, it is not to gather information, but to spread it. At that, too, she is amazingly expert.

It was really this last named trait of hers which was causing methese pangs of indecision. Whatever I told Caroline now concerning the demise of Mrs. Ferrars would be common knowledge all over the village within the space of an hour and a half. As a professional man, I naturally aim at discretion. Therefore I have got into the habit of continually withholding all information possible from my sister. She usually finds out just the same, but I have the moral satisfaction of knowing that I am in no way to blame.

Mrs. Ferrars' husband died just over a year ago, and Caroline has constantly asserted, without the least foundation for the assertion, that his wife poisoned him.

She scorns my invariable rejoinder that Mr. Ferrars died of acute gastritis, helped on by habitual over-indulgence in alcoholic beverages. The symptoms of gastritis and arsenical poisoning are not, I agree, unlike, but Caroline bases her accusation on quite different lines.

"You've only got to look at her," I have heard her say.

Mrs. Ferrars, though not in her first youth, was a very attractive woman, and her clothes, though simple, always seemed to fit her very well, but all the same, lots of women buy their clothes in Paris and have not, on that account, necessarily poisoned their husbands.

As I stood hesitating in the hall, with all this passing through my mind, Caroline's voice came again, with a sharper note in it.

"What on earth are you doing out there, James? Why don't you come and get your breakfast?"

"Just coming, my dear," I said hastily. "I've been hanging up my overcoat."

"You could have hung up half a dozen overcoats in this time."

She was quite right. I could have.

I walked into the dining-room, gave Caroline the accustomed peck on the cheek, and sat down to eggs and bacon. The bacon was rather cold.

"You've had an early call," remarked Caroline.

"Yes," I said. "King's Paddock. Mrs. Ferrars."

"I know," said my sister.

"How did you know?"

"Annie told me."

Annie is the house parlormaid. A nice girl, but an inveterate talker.

There was a pause. I continued to eat eggs and bacon. My sister's nose, which is long and thin, quivered a little at the tip, as it always does when she is interested or excited over anything. .

"Well?" she demanded.

"A bad business. Nothing to be done. Must have died in her sleep."

"I know," said my sister again.

This time I was annoyed.

"You can't know," I snapped. "I didn't know myself until I got there, and I haven't mentioned it to a soul yet. If that girl Annie knows, she must be a clairvoyant."

"It wasn't Annie who told me. It was the milkman. He had it from the Ferrars' cook."

As I say, there is no need for Caroline to go out to get information. She sits at home, and it comes to her.

My sister continued:

"What did she die of? Heart failure?"

"Didn't the milkman tell you that?" I inquired sarcastically.

Sarcasm is wasted on Caroline. She takes it seriously and answers accordingly.

"He didn't know," she explained.

After all, Caroline was bound to hear sooner or later. She might as well hear from me.

"She died of an overdose of veronal. She's been taking it lately for sleeplessness. Must have taken too much."

"Nonsense," said Caroline immediately. "She took it on purpose. Don't tell me!"

It is odd how, when you have a secret belief of your own which you do not wish to acknowledge, the voicing of it by someone else will rouse you to a fury of denial. I burst immediately into indignant speech.

"There you go again," I said. "Rushing along without rhyme or reason. Why on earth should Mrs. Ferrars wish to commit suicide? A widow, fairly young still, very well off, good health, and nothing to do but enjoy life. It's absurd."

"Not at all. Even you must have noticed how different she has been looking lately. It's been coming on for the last six months. She's looked positively hag-ridden. And you have just admitted that she hasn't been able to sleep."

Meet the Author

Agatha Christie is the world's best known mystery writer. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in 44 foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare.

Her writing career spanned more than half a century, during which she wrote 79 novels and short story collections, as well as 14 plays, one of which, The Mousetrap, is the longest-running play in history. Two of the characters she created, the brilliant little Belgian Hercule Poirot and the irrepressible and relentless Miss Marple, went on to become world-famous detectives. Both have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies.

Agatha Christie also wrote six romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. As well, she wrote four nonfiction books including an autobiography and an entertaining account of the many expeditions she shared with her archaeologist husband Sir Max Mallowan.

Agatha Christie died in 1976.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 15, 1890
Date of Death:
January 12, 1976
Place of Birth:
Torquay, Devon, England
Home schooling

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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot Series) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 167 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first real mystery book and I read it only for a school project. I had assumed it would be a real chore to read but I loved it. The beginning was really boring but after awhile I got really into it. When the ending came I had no idea, no idea. I had assumed the killer would be fairly obvious and I had my theory but the conclusion really caught me by surprise. The ending really made the story. And I'd definitely read it again even without the urging of a teacher.
Njkinny More than 1 year ago
A case unlike any other, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a mystery in the class of mysteries where the concept is so novel that it will shock you and surprise you, leaving you with your mouth hanging open even though decades have passed since its publication! Howsoever, I tried I could not come up with one clear suspect. Agatha Christie expertly shifts her focus of suspicions from one character to another leaving the reader with no clue as to the real murderer. I tried all my "little grey cells" but could not pin point the murderer and when the killer was finally introduced I felt as if I had been punched so hard that no air was left in my lungs! This is one book that can be reread any number of times and it will entertain and shock us each time. An ageless and a gem from a legendary author, I give The Murder of Roger Ackroyda full shining 5 stars out of 5 and very highly recommend that you read this amazing mystery. A must read for everyone and a deserving "must have" for every avid reader. Read the complete review on blog Njkinny's World of Books..
Guest More than 1 year ago
A really good book. I think I could read it again and I still wouldn't be able to figure out the ending! I've never read anything like it. Ever since I read it I've been reading every Agatha Christie book I can get my hands on, and I have yet to be able to guess the ending. It's almost scary all the different ways she can think up to kill someone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though Christie published numerous brilliant pieces of writing, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is, without a doubt, my favourite (and the first of Christie's books that I read). Not only is the plot mesmerizing and engrossing, the characters and the setting (Britain, 1920's) are utterly charming and insightful. And, as is typical of Agatha Christie, the book is intrinsically satirical. Please, read this book!
Bookworm1951 7 months ago
Great plot and character development. This one kept me guessing until the very end - an ending I didn't expect. One of Christie's best. Well edited.
Bretton More than 1 year ago
This is the classic Agatha Christie mystery. I've read the entire Christie canon and hold The Murder of Roger Ackroyd as one of her best. The narrator tells the story of Ackroyd's murder and Poirot's investigation. Poirot's surprising final deduction is revealed in a typical English murder mystery fashion. It is indeed a classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I only read three agatha christie narratives and the three of them are amazing. If you did not read the murder of roger ackroyd, you need to read it, though from the three books I read this is the best one. You cannot believe it when you read the conclusion of this book. It is really unexpected. Besides, I love hercule poirot stories. You need to read this spectacular book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DAIHIEU TRAN More than 1 year ago
WHO CARES ABOUT THE OLD PIC BEING REPLACED!? Hercule Poirot is pretty much an AWESOME Belgian detective, the best of fiction. This mystery's ending was so ingeniously suprising and contreversial, that it is Agatha Christie's first and maybe largest masterpiece! Don't complain about the front cover!
Veronica Oliver More than 1 year ago
Great book.That's why this version is so insulting,they chopped out the drawing the author intended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book that made Christie famous. Poirot is at his most amusing, having retired, become bored and been mistaken for a hairdresser. Give the poor man a murder. Even if you're not a Christie addict, this is one you shouldn't miss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply amazing. I could not place it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
***PLOT SPOILER*** I was looking for a book where the antagonist was the narator. I finally gave up because I could not find anything and decided to read an Agatha Christie mystery (and all of her mysteries that I have read are super). I randomly chose this book. I was SO surprised that I had found that it was just what I was looking for! It is the weirdest thing that I happened to find probably the only well-written book with the antagonist as the narator by chance on the same day I had given up searching for one... ***PLOT SPOILER***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book is very good read. Different from Masterpiece classic movie, more intense. Recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
one of her best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Agatha Christie has exceeded expectations again! I started the book knowing her ingenius ideas and admiring her as one of the greatest mystery writers of all time, but when I reached the climax, I sat bolt upright and shouted, "WHAT?!" I guessed all through the book, but I was astonished yet again by Christie's flair for surprise endings...and selective truth telling. By turns funny, baffling, and charming, this book is one you won't want to miss, with unforgettable characters and a whodunit that will require all your "little grey cells"!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Classic Christie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I defy you to solve this one ;-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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