The Agatha Christie Reading Group discussion

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2014 Books > May 2014: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

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message 1: by Alberto (new)

Alberto | 49 comments Just started reading this one early, so I thought I'd put this out there.


message 2: by Alberto (last edited Apr 28, 2014 07:17AM) (new)

Alberto | 49 comments I was in the library a couple of days ago to pick up Murder of Roger Ackroyd and also grabbed The Mill on the Floss (I'm working my way through the Harvard Classics as I find time).

I read Roger Ackroyd almost 30 years ago but didn't think I remembered anything at all about it (other than the identity of the murderer). Imagine my surprise when I get a few pages into it and find two characters discussing The Mill on the Floss.

So, was this just an amazing coincidence, or the subconscious at work?


message 3: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Noble | 0 comments I first read this one a very long time ago (40 yrs?)alone on a rickety train going through the dark hampshire countryside at night. Ideal setting!!


message 4: by C. J. (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 365 comments Mod
I have an unread copy. I'm excited about this one!


message 5: by C. J. (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 365 comments Mod
I started it a day before the first of May. I cheated! Naughty. ;) I do like it so far!


message 6: by Sarah. B (new)

Sarah. B I will be starting this today. Looking forward to this one :-)


message 7: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Noble | 0 comments Started reading this in my bookshop this afternoon. If you know the answer, it so funny how she puts in the clues. But we need to be careful about folk who've not read it before, don't want to spoil things. A really good book


message 8: by Alberto (last edited May 05, 2014 09:30AM) (new)

Alberto | 49 comments It's a shame it doesn't hold up to a reread as well as some others. Same goes for Murder on the Orient Express.


message 9: by Mark (new)

Mark (markvanvollenhoven) | 28 comments still looking in obtaining a copy of this one


message 10: by Sarah. B (new)

Sarah. B This has been my favorite so far :-)


message 11: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 95 comments In my opinion, the very best Christie there is. And that is saying a lot, coming from a fan such as myself. The plot it stunning, but the trip to the end is wonderful as well, with the great insight into the village life and the supremely amusing character of Caroline.


message 12: by Mark (new)

Mark (markvanvollenhoven) | 28 comments Mark wrote: "still looking in obtaining a copy of this one"

And I received a copy today, there were more copies available through the 2nd hand market but were more expensive and more often in a bad state.
If I buy anything new than it should be decent enough.


message 13: by C. J. (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 365 comments Mod
Lauren wrote: "I agree, this one was awesome! The ending was such a shocker!"

I do love how Agatha Christie likes to change it up once in a while! Though I have a small qualm about this ending, I still thought she was brave in going this way.


message 14: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 95 comments She and many others defended the controversial ending, largely built on the phrase "I looked around to see if there was anything I left undone..." I believe that it was perfectly legitimate.


message 15: by Brooklyn (new)

Brooklyn Tayla (bookishbrooklyn) | 121 comments This one had me stumped. I presumed I knew who the murderer was and asked my mum if I was right. She said I was right, that it was (forgive me, it's been a while since I read this) his wife (she fibbed). When I discovered that it was the narrator I was absolutely gobsmacked (good word, that is). I desperately flicked back the pages to pick up on any clues I missed. I was dismayed.

Nevertheless this became one of my favourites. I love Christie's personal narratives, even when they don't involve our much loved Captain Hastings.

:D


message 16: by C. J. (last edited May 13, 2015 11:45PM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 365 comments Mod
It's funny that some criticize as if she cheated on the twist but I don't think so. There are worse techniques to use than this I believe. What we have here is a well-sculpted and clever book. It has a great set-up and whether you see it coming or not it's still a well-done book and I enjoyed it.


message 17: by Brooklyn (new)

Brooklyn Tayla (bookishbrooklyn) | 121 comments I agree - I mean Agatha Christie is still acknowledged as the Queen of Crime all over. There's just those odd critics that try to insult such a beautiful crafted text as this, when in my opinion, her books can't be beat.

there are many imitators of Agatha Christie, but only one true Queen of Crime.

I thank you. *bows and exits dramatically*


message 18: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 95 comments This is my absolute favorite Christie. And I disagree with those who feel she was unfair. As Dorothy Sayers put it "fair, and fooled you!" Every clue was there, and Poirot enumerated them. There was nothing in the narrative that misled anyone. Add to that the beautifully comic character of Caroline, and you have the best Christie, IMHO. Too bad the TV adaptation with David Suchet was so terrible. Took everything good about the book and totally ignored them.


message 19: by Brooklyn (new)

Brooklyn Tayla (bookishbrooklyn) | 121 comments Despite the differences from the book, I enjoyed the adaption.

But great point on the character of Caroline- I always love a great comic character.

There's always going to be critics - just because they can't appreciate the greatness that is this book they think they have the right to bag it & inflict their opinions on others.


message 20: by Brooklyn (new)

Brooklyn Tayla (bookishbrooklyn) | 121 comments Fair point, very true Lauren. :)


message 21: by LovesMysteries (last edited May 06, 2017 03:39PM) (new)

LovesMysteries  | 9 comments CJ wrote: "It's funny that some criticize as if she cheated on the twist but I don't think so. There are worse techniques to use than this I believe. What we have here is a well-sculpted and clever book. It h..."

"Well-sculpted". You said it all, CJ. Christie didn't conceive of this plot by throwing it out haphazardly. She built this novel with such care, constructing and building it and she came out with a plot that is wonderfully and carefully written. I don't see how critics can see how Christie cheated. In a mystery, you're supposed to suspect everyone. It's not like Dr. Sheppard was a detective. He wasn't anything of that kind. He was a doctor, a person in the village of King's Abbott and a man who knew Roger Ackroyd. Why else should he not be a suspect? Because he's the narrator? C'mon critics, you guys should know that in a mystery everyone and anyone can be the murderer. In a mystery you have to take every clue into consideration, whether they be physical or verbal, ESPECIALLY verbal, especially in a Christie mystery! And whether the solution is guessed correctly or not, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a well-written, superb, and unforgettable mystery.


LovesMysteries  | 9 comments Pghfan wrote: "Too bad the TV adaptation with David Suchet was so terrible. Took everything good about the book and totally ignored them. "

I think the film was good (I sure have seen worse Poirot films with such as The Mystery of the Blue Train or Murder on the Orient Express) BUT it could have been so much better than it was! When a book like this has such a high standard and is seen as a masterpiece, we have such high expectations for the film version and we got to consider that film and book are two different mediums and what the book got away with it might be difficult to accomplish this on TV. And I think The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is one of those books.


LovesMysteries  | 9 comments Brooklyn wrote: "There's always going to be critics - just because they can't appreciate the greatness that is this book they think they have the right to bag it & inflict their opinions on others."

Aside from the praises for Agatha Christie's books, she has her fair share of critics who heavily criticize her books (i.e. her characters, her plots and her writing). It's like when a writer is prolific, like Christie or even writers like Stephen King, they get negative critiques. It's almost like they expect a huge body of work to have a bunch of duds. It's true that any body of work, regardless of whether it's enormous or small, there will be some duds. But The Roger Ackroyd is far from a dud and I think even if the book didn't have the surprise ending, it would still remain as a great and well-written mystery. Those who believe that Christie cheated needs to know what a mystery is and how everyone and anyone can be the murderer. Secondly, the clues are all there, whether they be physical or verbal. It's all there. It's just that Christie knows how to fairly play sleight of hand with the readers and do so that the reader can easily slip by the important information that leads to the solution. Her characters are wonderfully written. I think one of the reasons why her characters are seen as flat and one-dimensional is because they don't contain the kind of flaws that we usually see in books today. A lot of characters we read are alcoholics or we get more of a detailed account of the detective's personal life and sometimes this is nice but other times it gets in the way of the mystery. Christie cared as much about her characters as with her carefully conceived plots. I think the problem is the critics don't see what Christie is trying to accomplish through her characters. Her characters may appear as stock and stereotypical but beneath the surface there is more than meets the eye. And that is the same as in life. We hear of this stereotypical soccer mom but beneath the surface she might be living this double life, cheating on her husband and doing a myriad of things in the dark. This is what Christie is doing with her characters. It looks as if the critics don't see this. Or else they do see it but they are jealous of an author who gets so much attention and has accomplished so much in her career.


LovesMysteries  | 9 comments Lauren wrote: "I think this one in particular is so controversial because the murderer turned out to be someone who society sees as "the good guy"...someone who is supposed to have strong ethical standards. This ..."

That's what I like about Agatha Christie's books. ANYONE can be the murderer. Christie doesn't hold back. She tells and shows it like it is.


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