*I’m going to say, right of the bat, that this post will NOT spoil the book. In general I don’t mind spoilers but half the fun of reading a murder mystery is trying to figure out who dunit. I’d never take that away from you.*
I don’t read murder mysteries too often and I now realize that it’s because I can’t put them down once I’ve started. This reading experience was a full on late night despite an assuredly early morning debacle…but I just had to know who did it. I believe The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the first Agatha Christie book I’ve ever read, but I can’t imagine it’ll be the last. Though I do think I’ll have to temper my instinct to read a whole bunch of murder mysteries now if only for the sake of a healthy sleep schedule.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a Hercule Poirot Mystery and while this was the first book I ever read by Agatha Christie, I have seen the Hercule Poirot tv series that plays on PBS every once in a while. I would like to take a moment and send love and good vibes in the direction of PBS and the murder mysteries they show because they have filled many a popcorn and wine night for me. Anyway, having seen the tv show, I did understand the character Hercule Poirot going into the book. What I was not necessarily prepared for was the style the book was in. It was very much a recording of events from the perspective of Hercule Poirot’s neighbor. From what I understand, because of some side comments in the book, this is usually how these books are set up. It does make the guessing game a little more interesting though, if only because we’re in the head of someone that is just as curious and one step behind as the reader is.
I think a murder mysteries intrigue me because in order for them to work they need to make the reader care about finding out the answer to the death of someone they’ve barely gotten to know. Death is used in books to pull the heartstrings of the readers; in mysteries death is at once a driving force and completely incidental. The characters that are solving the mystery are the ones we need to be invested in. We are not invested because someone has died and we want to solve their murder; we’re invested because the characters we actually care about want to know, and because murder or not we don’t like to be left in the dark. Agatha Christie keeps the reader and her characters in the shadows the whole way through dangling the light like a carrot until the very end. The investment in the solution is so exciting I wanted to reread the book immediately when I finished to see what, exactly I had missed.
Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep listening. Keep creating.