The book, ‘The murder of Roger Ackroyd’ by Agatha Christie is narrated by Dr. James Sheppard, a town doctor and a close acquaintance of Mr. Ackroyd. The setting is in the Kings Abott. It all begins with the murder of a wealthy man Roger Ackroyd murdered few days after a widow whom he was preparing to marry had committed suicide. The widow, Mrs. Ferrar had recently lost her husband. The death of her husband had initially been believed to be accidental. However, Mr. Acroyd revealed that the widow had confessed to him as having killed her husband through a letter. The murder of Ackroyd was a mystery to the local police. Fortunately a recently retired detective Hercule Poirot agreed to take up the case, little did he know that the case was not as simple as he had expected. However, he is sure of one thing and that is Mr. Ackroyd and Mrs. Ferrar knew too well of the murderer. The detective was to be assisted by Dr. James Sheppard who is a local doctor. .
Mr. Ackroyd’s household members are Poirot’s prime suspects primarily because they stood to gain from his money. As the investigations continue, Poirot unravels secrets revolving around love and money involving the household members. The evidence looks more damning for one Ralph Paton who is Mr. Ackroyd’s stepson. Other main suspects are Mrs. Cecil Ackroyd who had huge personal debts owing to Mr. Ackroyd, Ursula Bourne who resigned her post as a parlor maid on the afternoon Mr. Ackroyd was murdered.
There is critical evidence pointing at Ralph who at the time is engaged to Flora, Mr. Ackroyd’s daughter. Ralph stood to gain from Mr. Ackroyd’s will hence he was the prime suspect. Poirot begins investigations to establish Ralph’s culpability. This he does at the request of Flora. Ralph is rarely mentioned in the book, thus from a literal view, he cannot be easily convicted as the murderer since his participation is negligible. However Poirot did strongly believe that he was the most culpable suspect on circumstantial evidence. After all he was a beneficiary of a big chunk of the estate, there was also the fear that once Ackroyd got to know of the fact that Ralph had been married secretly to someone else, he was likely to alter his will and thus disinherit Ralph. Further, he was spotted on the precincts of Mr. Ackroyd that night.
In the course of his investigations Poirot establishes that there had been a conspiracy to silence Mr. Ackroyd from speaking the truth. This he established through the letter Mrs. Ferrars had written to Mr. Ackroyd showing that someone had been trying to blackmail her.
At the end of the investigation, Poirot returns a surprise verdict; he clears the original suspects of any wrong doing. His verdict is that Dr. Sheppard is in fact the murderer. This comes as a shock since Dr. Sheppard had been Poirot’s assistant in the investigation. Poirot established that it was Dr. Sheppard who had blackmailed Mrs. Ferrars and had proceeded to murder Mr. Ackroyd so as to prevent him from establishing the truth from Mrs. Ferrars. Upon this finding, Poirot asked Dr. Sheppard to either surrender to the authorities to safeguard his reputation or on the alternative commit suicide.
On several occasions, Dr. Sheppard portrayed himself as a clear suspect. For instance his detailed explanation of the letter to the police was unnecessary. If indeed Sheppard was culpable of the crime, the chain of events and the time it took to prepare could not have been sufficient to commit the crime within a day owing to the elaborate nature in which it was carried out. Acts such as inventing a timer used in a Dictaphone ,visiting boars and even performing his professional medical duties within a very short time appears impossible. Further the fact that he wrote up to seven chapters in a singular night appears to be impossible to apprehend.
His purported invention of a Dictaphone in a very short time is simply too good to be true.
Poirot thought that the five minutes which Dr. Sheppard could not account for were so crucial to his case, however he seemed to assume that all watches kept the same time, thus if Sheppard was smart, all he needed to do was to lie .
Toward the end, detective Poirot stated that the only way Ralph Paton could be spared of the hook was for the real murderer to confess. At the same time he warned Sheppard that if he failed to confess then he would hand him over to the police. This implies that he was not in a position to prove Sheppard’s culpability.
Dr. Sheppard’s unreliability thus manifest itself in the narration in the following ways; if in any way he innocent, his confession would at the end be treated as a lie, he had definitely lied concerning the phone call, if indeed a Dictaphone existed, then he interfered with the evidence, by hiding Ralph Paton, he hid the truth, if found guilty then his averment that he did not notice the dagger ,also if found guilty, his assertion that his purpose of visiting the Three Boars was merely to inform Paton of Ackrody,s death would thus be a lie. Some of Sheppard’s lies are apparent on the book especially about the phone call. He may be forgiven for using Paton to shield himself, but the phone call clearly indicts him
When finally the answer to the question as to who killed Roger Ackroyd is revealed, it is astonishing to the reader. All along the preceding chapters, the reader is left guessing as to who among the close to ten suspects was responsible. Every suspect appeared to have a hidden secret which if unveiled break the deadlock of the real murderer. In the end, the least of the suspects Dr. Sheppard the narrator is found responsible, this brings an epic finale to a truly fascinating and intriguing tale. However, it may be naïve not to suspect a narrator merely because ordinarily a narrator is rarely the criminal.
The range of papers that we write comprises essays, research papers, book and film reviews, term papers, thesis statements, dissertations, cover letters, resumes and a lot of other types. Order any paper you need at OrderCustomPaper.