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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot as depicted in the PBS mystery series

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

   Would I ever had read an Agatha Christie novel without the impetus of the 1001 Books project?  I highly doubt it.  The reasons are numerous: I don't have any friends who read Agatha Christie novels, I'm kind of a snob about "popular fiction,"  I'm kind of a snob about Agatha Christie herself.   But it's a snobbery that has evolved in a vacuum.  In fact, the only concrete idea I have in my head about Agatha Christie is that my Mother if a life long fan of the PBS adaptions of her novels.  Christie had two main detectives: The Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and the English detective Ms. Marple.  Poirot is more along the lines of a Sherlock Holmes figure, complete with a Watson, while Marple is like a precursor to the Angela Lansbury Murder She Wrote heroine.

  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is often referred to as Christie's masterpiece because she uses  an unexpected plot twist to resolve the murder. (Spoiler alert) In The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, the murderer turns out to be the narrator/Watson figure, who tells us the tale, only to be revealed in the end.  This is either brilliant, or very, very cheap, depending on your point of view.  I found it delightful, particularly amid all the experimental twenties modernism I've been digging through.  It was nice to just kick back and read some straight forward genre fiction.

  Sorry for spoiling the ending, but my sense is that there is no one who would read this review, then go read the book.  It occurs to me that maybe the main point in writing these reviews is to offer proof that all these books were actually read, because otherwise, who is to say.  Like many of the recently reviewed books, I got The Murder of Roger Ackroyd from the Central San Diego Public Library, and readers can assume that every book from here out is from that source.

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