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1926 mystery novel by Agatha Christie. This was the book that propelled Christie to fame, widely regarded as one of her finest, and certainly among her most notable. Even today the Twist Ending remains controversial.

Mrs. Ferrars, a wealthy widow in a quiet English village, has apparently taken her own life. Local industrialist Roger Ackroyd, who was romantically involved with Mrs. Ferrars, confesses in private that his lover had admitted to him that she murdered her bullying, abusive, drunken husband with poison... and that someone had found this out, ruthlessly blackmailing her and driving her to suicide. Now, a letter in the post from Mrs. Ferrars is about to reveal all -- but before Ackroyd can learn and expose the identity of the culprit, he is found dead in his study, stabbed viciously in the neck with his own ornamental dagger. An apparently open-and-shut case uncovers a likely suspect, but the village has by chance a new resident; Monsieur Hercule Poirot, the noted detective, who has retired to the countryside to grow vegetables. His legendary 'little grey cells' intrigued by the case, Poirot soon discovers that all is not as it seems...


Provides examples of:

  • The All-Concealing "I": The writing style by necessity conceals a very, very big secret. Dr. Sheppard, the narrator of the story, did it.
  • Badass Boast: Hercule Poirot makes a point of warning the killer that the trick he pulled on Roger Ackroyd will be a lot more difficult to pull off on him. Specifically, that if Dr. Sheppard tries to bump him off to prevent him from revealing his secrets, he'll find Poirot a lot more difficult to get rid of than Ackroyd.
  • Blackmail
  • Call to Agriculture: Poirot has retired from detective work at the beginning of the novel to grow marrows (a kind of squash).
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Dictaphone Company salesman's visit. Not to mention the chair and the boots. And of course, Sheppard's wasted "legacy".
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Sheppard's hobby of fixing and inventing mechanics. In a twist on this trope, he had earlier used this hobby to cover up his murder. But said coverup lets Poirot learn that the murderer had mechanical skills.
  • Death by Irony: Sheppard decides to invoke this trope by killing himself with the same drug Mrs. Ferrars used.
  • Driven to Suicide: Mrs. Ferrars, by the blackmailer. Also Dr. Sheppard, in order to avoid being revealed as a blackmailer and murderer.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: We mean this literally. Everyone.
  • Half Truth: Everything Sheppard narrates is absolutely true. He lies by omission, however, leaving out huge quantities of information.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason Roger Ackroyd had to die.
  • It's Personal: Not in the novel so much, but the TV adaptation with David Suchet introduces a long-standing friendship between Poirot and Roger Ackroyd (where in the novel they'd never met), thus introducing a personal element for Poirot in taking the case and identifying the murderer.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Poirot gives the murderer the opportunity to settle accounts himself rather than wait for arrest the next day, in order to spare those close to him grief. Not a pistol in the original, though; Dr. Sheppard poisons himself with the same drug that Mrs. Ferrars used to kill herself.
  • May-December Romance: Major Blunt and Flora Ackroyd.
  • Starts with a Suicide: Mrs. Ferrars.
  • Tomato Surprise: By necessity.
  • Twist Ending
  • Unreliable Narrator: A doozy of an example. Dr. Sheppard, who has been narrating the story in classic Watson-style, turns out to be the killer.
    • It should be noted, however that Sheppard NEVER tells a single lie, nor does he even resort to truthful but misleading statements. He simply leaves out all the more incriminating actions he committed, making it theoretically possible for the alert reader to catch him -- when the narration skips over a few minutes, it doesn't always mean that nothing was happening.
      • It should also be noted the number of times the narrator writes about being puzzled and confused about aspects of the case. He's being completely honest each time. Every suspect has something to hide, from the embarrassing to the outright criminal, and has lied to cover it up. A great example is Ackroyd's niece, who claims she spoke to Ackroyd around a quarter to 10 on the night of the murder, something Sheppard knows is impossible since he murdered Ackryod an hour earlier. It turns out she had just stolen some cash from Ackroyd's upstairs bedroom, saw the butler approaching as she was heading down the stairs, rushed down the stairs and pretending she'd just been from her uncle's study (where his body is), and claimed to have just talked to him.
  • The Watson: Dr. Sheppard, filling in for Captain Hastings. Except he's actually the killer, following Poirot around to try and make sure he doesn't get too close, and to be able to gloatingly record one of Poirot's failures. Needless to say, this doesn't happen -- especially since he lends Poirot the manuscript in progress, and Poirot picks up on ALL the subtle clues that the reader should have noticed.
    • The role of Sheppard as Watson is Lampshaded. Supposedly the novel was inspired by the idea of The Watson being the criminal.
  • You Meddling Kids: The last line of the book.

  But I wish Hercule Poirot had never retired from work and come here to grow vegetable marrows.

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