Of all the books that I snagged at my Aunt Naomia's house last year, the most abundant bunch were her Agatha Christie collection. I had never read an Agatha Christie book before, but I knew that she was a prolific writer and had a very good reputation. Plus, a few of them were really nice leather-bound mini collections.
So, the first one of the lot that I decided to read was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. This book is actually number four in a series surrounding the main detective-type character of Hercule Poirot. Each story stands on it's own, so you don't need to read them in order (thankfully). After reading up on Christie, it appears she wrote a good deal of Hercule Poirot, then after tiring of writing about his character she started with Miss Jane Marple. I'll be interested to see which of her two main characters I prefer.
As for The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, it would appear that I picked a doozy to begin with. After finishing it, I read up a little on this book and learned that this is one of her most famous and most controversial within her entire writing collection. And this simply because of a plot twist at the bitter end. Apparently, this type of plot twist had never been done before and a lot of people felt a little "betrayed" when they learned who the murder ending up being.
The main premise surrounds a Dr. James Sheppard (the narrator) who examines a recently deceased Mrs. Ferrars at the opening of the story. After ruling her death an accident, shortly thereafter Dr. Sheppard learns from Roger Ackroyd that Mrs. Ferrars had murdered her husband the previous year (his death never appeared in society as suspicious) and then committed suicide in her guilt. Ackroyd knew this only because he was attempting to coax the widow to marry him prior to her death. But, in her last moments Mrs. Ferrars apparently wrote to Ackroyd and informed him that she was being blackmailed (and whom by) for this knowledge about her husband's death...less than 12 hours after Ackroyd reads this letter he is murdered.
This is a short and sweet novel, including some interesting characters that I found charming. I'll admit that about 30 pages from the end I began to suspect the plot twist (and I didn't even know there was going to be one!). It is quite clever and I really enjoyed it. I'll be more than happy to pick up another Christie mystery not too long from now.