Agatha Christie’s ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ is the Perfect Mystery Story

I’ve always avoided Agatha Christie in the same way that girls in my high school would drop their books and run the other way if they saw me at the other end of the hall. This aversion to her works happened because of those boring commercials for Agatha Christie inspired movies. These made-for-TV flicks always looked like slow-moving parlor dramas, the sort that I suspect are designed to make squirmy adolescent boys want to play outside.

Did you know that her books have been translated into more languages than any other work of fiction? And that only Shakespeare and the Bible can outsell her collected works? And she met The Doctor in that episode about a transmogrifying bee? (Or something like that. I stopped paying attention by the end.)

I wanted to give her a try, so I started with her breakout work, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. With a dull title like that, it has to be awful, right?

I was hooked after a few words. Christie was obviously a sly genius with great wit. I laughed in every chapter while trying to keep track of the clues. The book’s ~70,000 words flew by while I chuckled at her jokes and scrutinized the evidence. My spare time, when I wasn’t reading the book, was spent going over the details of the case, certain I could crack Christie’s mystery.

Did I figure out who did it? Not really. I had my suspicions about the ending (which proved correct), but I couldn’t figure out the details even though they were right there in front of me! I was floored when detective Poirot finally explained all of it. This book is as smart as any of the Holmes stories (which are still my favorite), but it’s packaged with a fun writing style that Aurthur Conan Doyle always reached for but never managed to grasp.

Final grade – A+

Can you solve Ackroyd’s Murder? I dare you to try.

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