33. Bonus Reading: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
List Progress: 26/30 (+3)
While I have read some Agatha Christie short stories with Miss Marple, and her detective-less novel And Then There Were None, this was my first venture into the stories of Hercule Poirot, the off-kilter Belgian sleuth that she used in over 80 works between 1920 and 1975. The 1926 novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd finds Poirot enmeshed in a traditional detective story in a small English town, where a rich man is murdered in his house where nearly everyone has a motive. But Christie herself is one of the writers who codified many of these traditions, and on the merit of this work you can see why the genre has stood the test of time.
Unfortunately, I went into Roger Ackroyd spoiled on the ending; if you have any interest at all in reading this, I would recommend going in blind. But even knowing the bare bones of the resolution, it was a fun ride getting there. The characters all feel like real people, not just pawns to be moved around the board until Poirot wins, and Poirot himself is a lot of fun. (As an added benefit, my fiancee and I were reading this one out loud to each other and our attempts at Belgian accents are terrible but enthusiastic.) The story is narrated by a friend of the deceased helping out Poirot, and his nosy sister is a great character by all accounts. It is nice to have a crime novel written by a woman, where not all the female characters have the personality of Woman(™).
Christie’s prose is incredibly readable, and I raced through the last handful of chapters wanting to see how it would all play out. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is not an absolutely essential piece of literature, but it is a great detective story and a very fun ride. Supposedly all Christie can be guessed by the reader (as in, the audience is shown all the evidence and information that the characters have), so give it a shot and good luck finding out whodunnit.
Would I Recommend It: Yes