Who Killed Roger Ackroyd? Download the PDF and Join Hercule Poirot in His Investigation
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Classic Mystery Novel by Agatha Christie
If you are a fan of mystery novels, you have probably heard of Agatha Christie, the best-selling author of all time. She wrote more than 60 detective novels and 14 short story collections, featuring famous sleuths like Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Among her most popular and acclaimed works is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, a novel that shocked and delighted readers with its ingenious plot twist and its unconventional narrator. In this article, we will explore the background, summary, analysis, and download options of this classic mystery novel.
Who was Agatha Christie?
Agatha Christie was born in 1890 in Torquay, Devon, England. She had a happy childhood, mostly home-schooled by her mother, who encouraged her to write stories. She married Archibald Christie in 1914, and had one daughter, Rosalind. During World War I, she worked as a nurse and a pharmacist, which gave her knowledge of poisons that she later used in her novels. She started writing detective fiction as a hobby, and published her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920. It introduced Hercule Poirot, a Belgian refugee and former police officer who became one of her most famous characters.
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In 1926, Christie faced a personal crisis when her mother died and her husband asked for a divorce. She disappeared for 11 days, sparking a nationwide search and media frenzy. She was eventually found at a hotel in Harrogate, claiming to have suffered from amnesia. She never explained what happened during those days, and the mystery remains unsolved. She divorced her husband in 1928, and married Max Mallowan, an archaeologist, in 1930. She accompanied him on his expeditions to the Middle East, which inspired some of her novels set in exotic locations.
Christie continued to write prolifically throughout her life, producing novels, short stories, plays, poems, and memoirs. She also wrote six novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, which were more romantic and psychological than her detective stories. She was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 1971 for her contributions to literature. She died in 1976 at the age of 85.
What is the plot of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd?
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the third novel featuring Hercule Poirot, and was first published in 1926. It is narrated by Dr. James Sheppard, a physician who lives in the small village of King's Abbot. He tells the story of how he became involved in a murder investigation that took place over nine days in September.
The novel begins with the death of Mrs. Ferrars, a wealthy widow who overdosed on sleeping pills. She was rumored to have killed her husband a year ago, and to have been engaged to Roger Ackroyd, a rich industrialist and the most influential man in the village. She left behind a letter addressed to Ackroyd, confessing her crimes and revealing the name of the person who blackmailed her.
On the same night, Sheppard is summoned to Ackroyd's house, where he finds him stabbed to death in his study. He also meets Hercule Poirot, who has retired from detective work and moved to a cottage near Ackroyd's estate. Poirot decides to take on the case as a favor to his friend, the local police inspector. He enlists Sheppard as his assistant and confidant.
Poirot and Sheppard interview the various suspects and witnesses, who include Ackroyd's relatives, servants, friends, and enemies. They discover that Ackroyd had received a phone call from Mrs. Ferrars before his death, telling him that she had changed her mind and would not reveal the blackmailer's name. They also find out that the letter from Mrs. Ferrars was stolen from Ackroyd's desk by an unknown person.
As they follow the clues and alibis, they encounter several red herrings and false leads. They also face opposition from some of the suspects, who try to mislead or threaten them. Poirot uses his keen observation and logic to unravel the complex web of lies and secrets. He finally gathers all the suspects in the drawing room and reveals the identity of the murderer: Dr. James Sheppard himself.
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Sheppard was the blackmailer of Mrs. Ferrars, and had killed her husband as well. He had planned to marry her and inherit her fortune, but she refused to do so. He then killed her by giving her an overdose of sleeping pills, and stole the letter from Ackroyd's desk. He stabbed Ackroyd with a dagger while pretending to leave the house, and then returned as if he had been called by Ackroyd's secretary. He used his medical knowledge and skills to tamper with the evidence and create a false time of death. He also wrote his own account of the investigation, hoping to mislead Poirot and the readers.
Poirot exposes Sheppard's guilt by pointing out the inconsistencies and contradictions in his story, as well as the clues that he had overlooked or ignored. He also reveals that he had suspected Sheppard from the beginning, because he was the only person who could have made the phone call to Ackroyd, pretending to be Mrs. Ferrars. Poirot tells Sheppard that he has two options: to confess to the police or to commit suicide. He gives him until the next morning to decide.
The novel ends with Sheppard writing the final chapter of his manuscript, admitting his crimes and explaining his motives. He says that he has chosen to kill himself, rather than face the shame and punishment of his actions. He signs off with the words "
Why is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd considered a masterpiece?
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is widely regarded as one of Agatha Christie's best novels, and one of the most influential works in the genre of detective fiction. It is praised for its originality, creativity, and audacity, as well as its clever plot construction, characterization, and style.
The novel is famous for its twist ending, which broke one of the unwritten rules of detective fiction: that the narrator should not be the culprit. Christie was one of the first authors to use this device, which shocked and surprised many readers and critics at the time. Some praised her for her boldness and ingenuity, while others accused her of cheating and unfair play. The novel sparked a lot of debate and controversy, which increased its popularity and reputation.
The novel is also admired for its use of an unreliable narrator, who manipulates