Coe Review Staff Blogs Fall 2019

Short Analysis of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd- By: Alyssa Jack

Plot summary:

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd starts with not the murder of Mr. Ackroyd, but his secret love, Mrs. Ferrars. Mrs. Ferrars was rumored by Dr. Sheppard’s sister, Caroline and others to have poisoned her late husband, Ashley Ferrars. As the story unfolds Mrs. Ferrars death uncovers the truth that she did in fact poison her now dead husband and she did it because of her love for Mr. Roger Ackroyd. Another plot detail she mentioned to Mr. Ackroyd before her death was that she was being blackmailed by someone and that later she would reveal who. She left a letter for Mr. Ackroyd and her death was labeled as a suicide.

During a meeting with Dr. Sheppard, Mr. Ackroyd received her letter and asked Dr. Sheppard to leave before he finished reading the letter. Not long after Dr. Sheppard left Mr. Ackroyd was found murdered. Dr. Sheppard claimed to the investigator that he received a phone call from Parker, the butler about Mr. Ackroyd being murdered. Through all the spotting details of the investigation, Ralph, Mr. Ackroyd’s stepson is a main suspect because his troubled relationship with his stepfather. His motives seem clear for wanting Mr. Ackroyd’s money and seemed to be a good reason to marry Flora, Mr. Ackroyd’s niece.

As the investigation moves along, Mr. Poirot who is Dr. Sheppard’s neighbor starts to investigate the murder himself and takes Dr. Sheppard along as his assistant. By the end of his investigating he unfold the truth that Dr. Sheppard was the one who was blackmailing Mrs. Ferrars and killed Mr. Ackroyd because he was going to uncover that truth. Poirot gives Dr. Sheppard a chose of confessing to the police or to commit suicide himself. In the end, Dr. Sheppard chose to commit suicide and shares that he was intentional in telling his story truthfully without giving full notice to the fact that he was the murderer all along.

Character Analysis:

I really enjoyed the character of Dr. Sheppard more during my second read of this book. The first time I felt very frustrated that he was the murdered because I was waiting for a different plot twist ending and I enjoyed trying to uncover who the murderer was. My first read through I was upset and felt mislead while trying to uncover the truth. I didn’t like that his character did that to me as a reader. What I really like about him now is how he actually did that. For example, “Can’t you give us something more definite to go upon?” (inspector) “I’m afraid not,” I said regretfully…. I replied in the negative, but not as decidedly as I might have done.” (p.61). The word choice of regretfully and not as decidedly as I might have done, stood out to me more this time and I appreciated them. It’s easy to overlook all the little clues he’s giving to the reader and I did overlook them a lot when I first read this book. I found those little twisted words of the telling the truth but not boldly telling it to be very interesting as I read. One way I think can relate to Dr. Sheppard’s character is the use of being careful with what words I may or may not say in certain situations.

Overall thoughts:

As the story started to develop, I found myself reading faster and diving into all the plot twists that were happening. This was actually my second time reading this book. I had forgot a few details along the way so reading it again was a nice refresher. This time I tried to analyze more since I knew who the killer was. It was interesting and oddly enjoyable to read it this time from the perspective of the killer himself the whole time while reading. I kept questioning why he was questioning everything and paying attention to the details so much. I remember the first time thinking even though Dr. Sheppard is a doctor, he was also acting as a detective to solve the murder because he was the narrator. The different angle I had while reading this time made me understand all his motives, actions, and internal thoughts on a deeper level. I really enjoy this book and enjoyed it even more the second time.

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