Aug 14, 12
Read in January, 1975, read count: 10+
Ahhh, the infamous Roger Ackroyd! Christie got ENORMOUS press for her plotting in this one, and a lot of it was NOT good - loads of her regular fans were really PO'd at her for using a twist that "nice" mystery writers of the day (mid-1920s) didn't use. There was even a list of the "Don't" things for a writer including her particular hook in this book, and her flouting that convention angered many other writers (and readers) who felt she didn't "play fair". But the brouhaha really spiked her sales, and started her on the road to "classic" status. She became well-known for always providing a stunning twist or two in every book, and pretty much always delivered although by the 1960s she had become rather old-fashioned AND the twists became rather lame IMO. But her books in the 1930s and 1940s were glorious, well-paced and interesting setting and subjects, and her mid-to-late 1920s books were lots of fun, if not exactly brain-taxing.
The setting is one of Christie's prime sort: big houses, rich/nasty/peculiar folks, small village, family conflicts (usually over money). The set-up for including Poirot was awkward, but once you get beyond that bit, the story flows nicely. The use of a narrator other than Hastings is unusual, but works well, especially as the plot progresses. Lots of stock characters deftly inserted in nice bits along the way, and the grand twist at the end, carefully explained fully by Poirot, make this a true classic and, despite the twist seeming very small now-a-days, still a fun read.
IMO the A&E tv drama based upon this, albeit with the wonderful David Suchet, was quite aggravating. They re-wrote the plot rather a lot and inserted A Chase Scene at the end, geesh. They had Poirot run around a factory after a man with a gun!! Incredibly untypical of him IMO, and pretty much defeats the whole premise of The Little Grey Cells, doesn't it? What a waste of the beautiful settings and the good acting!