What is it about?
Roger Ackroyd is a man of remarkable influence; a manufacturer of (according to the narrator) wagon wheels. One evening, he is found dead by his servant. Dr. James Sheppard is the attending doctor, and the story is told from his point of view. Ackroyd is survived by his son, Ralph Paton. The father-son duo is shown to have their differences. Flora Ackroyd, Roger’s niece, diagrees. She then decides to convince Hercule Poirot to take up the case. The book follows the systematic observations, and deductions of Poirot, and takes an unexpected (surprise) twist at the end.
How are the characters?
Roger Ackroyd: he is a dear friend of the doctor, and one of the two most important people at King’s Abbot. The narrator’s first impression of him is that of a country squire (! because of this, I always imagined him with a hat, a pair of boots always covered in mud, and a gun in his hands!) I quote the narrator here, verbatim, “He reminds me of that red-faced sportsman who always appeared in the first act of an old fashioned musical comedy, the setting being the village green. They usually sang a song about going up to London. Nowadays, we have revues, and a country squire has died out of musical fashion.” It is also hinted that he was in a love affair with Mrs. Ferrer, his neighbor.
Dr. James Sheppard: A doctor, and a man quite skilled at repairing and remodeling machines, and he narrates the story. He is sarcastic, although his sarcasm is often wasted on his sister Caroline. a man of incredibly calculative mind, and an easy conversationalist.
Caroline Sheppard: James’s sister, and a nosy woman. Usually spends her day gossiping and gathering useless information about who’s who at King’s Abott.
Hercule Poirot: A Belgian detective, who has recently shifted to King’s Abott, and fond of growing vegetable marrows (a very funny scene when we first come to knowledge this). He is a man of precise word, and work. He has a cherubic face, a bushy moustache, and is a keen observer of his surroundings.
Ralph Paton: Roger Ackroyd’s handsome young son, with whom the entire town is charmed by his boyish looks. He is supposed to marry Flora Ackroyd.
Flora Ackroyd: Roger’s niece, who requests Poirot to take the case as she believes the suspect is innocent. She is very affectionate of Mr. Ackroyd, and is shown as an endearing lady.
Mrs. Ferrars: Ackroyd’s next door neighbor, who has a love affair with him. it is her letter to Ackroyd that sets the things in motion, and moves the plot forward.
Christie’s characterization and advance of the plot is very precise. She knows exactly how to keep the reader hooked till the end. Personally, I finished the book in one sitting, because heck, that is one hell of a narrative. Gripping, fast paced, clever, and keeps the suspense intact till the very last chapter. The climax is a mind-blowing revelation, and it is here that you feel the true mastery of Christie’s writing. no wonder, this book is listed in the best detective fictions around the world.
A must read for fans of detective fiction. Read this, if you are in lookout of a thrilling session of reading. It keeps your mind working, trying to figure out the clues and indications