Debatably considered the masterpiece of Agatha Christie, the Murder of Roger Ackroyd, sets the limits for Detective Fiction to a level which was unimaginable in the Golden Age of the Detective novels. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd presents the refugee Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, who enters a situation after its central action has already taken place. Provided with the details of unfamiliar lives, he indulges in the business of deciding what is relevant and what is not, which in fact leads to the truth, and who among a group of diverse personalities has been driven to commit a crime and thereby demolishing the prevalent order. Poirot penetrates a tangle of actions and emotions and, as the agent of the reassuring patriarch, eventually establishes the order.
Hercule Poirot, a recurring Christie character, has become one of the most famous fictional detectives. Poirot is a retired Belgian police officer turned private detective. As a private detective he tours Europe and the Mid- East solving murder mysteries. Because he is a private detective and has no apparent family, Hercule Poirot has a great deal of freedom. He is independently wealthy and the decisions he makes are not subject to law or otherwise. As exemplified in Murder on The Orient Express, Poirot does not always follow the law-he lets the real murderers go. This novel is one of two Christie books where the murder is let off. While Poirot does not always obey the law, he always abides his conscience and his sense moral law. “Moral Law” is somewhat like religious law or the law of God, it is a general sense of right and wrong that supersedes any man-made written laws. In the case of the Armstrong family, Poirot put moral law first. The private detective is an arbiter of morals; he has the power and the brains to fight evil.
The book’s narrator, Dr James Sheppard, introduces himself and explains these are his memoirs of a murder which happened in his town. In King’s Abbot, wealthy widow Mrs Ferrars unexpectedly commits suicide distressing her fiance the widower Ackroyd At dinner that evening in Ackroyd’s home of Femly Park his guests include his sister-in-law Mrs Cecil Ackroyd and her daughter Flora, big-game hunter Major Blunt, Ackroyd’s personal secretary Geoffrey Raymond, and Dr James Sheppard, whom Ackroyd invited earlier that day During dinner, Flora announces her engagement to Ackroyd’s stepson, Ralph Pazon After dinner. Ackroyd reveals to Sheppard in his study that Mrs Ferrars had confided in him that she was being blackmailed over the murder of her husband. He then asks Sheppard to leave, wishing to read a letter from Mrs Ferrars that arrives in the post, containing her suicide note Once home, Sheppard receives a call and leaves for Femly Park again, after informing his sister that Parker, Ackroyd’s butler, has found Ackroyd murdered. But when Sheppard arrives at Ferly Park, Parker denies making such a call, yet he, Sheppard, Raymond, and Blunt find Ackroyd dead in his study, stabbed to death with a weapon from his collection.
Hercule Poirot, living in the village, comes out of retirement at Flora’s request. She does not believe Paton killed Ackroyd, despite him disappearing and police finding his footprints on the study’s window. Poirot learns a few important facts on the case: all in the household, except parlourmaid Ursula Bourne, have alibis for the murder, while Raymond and Blunt heard Ackroyd talking to someone after Sheppard left, Flora was the last to see him that evening. Sheppard met a stranger on his way home, at Fernly Park’s gates, Ackroyd met a representative of a dictaphone company a few days earlier, Parker recalls seeing a chair that had been in an odd position in the study when the body was found, that has since returned to its original position, the letter from Mrs Ferrars has disappeared since the murder. Poiro: asks Sheppard for the exact time he met his stranger. He later finds a goose quill and a scrap of starched cambric in the summer house, and a ring with the inscription “From R” in a goldfish pond in the gardens.
Raymond and Mrs Ackroyd later reveal they are in debt, but Ackroyd’s death will resolve this as they stood to gain from his will. Flora admits she never saw her uncle after dinner, she was taking money from his bedroom. Her revelation throws doubts on everyone’s alibis, and leaves Raymond and Blunt as the last people to hear Ackroyd alive. Blunt reveals he is secretly in love with Flora. Poirot calls a second meeting, adding Parker, the butler, Miss Russell, the housekeeper, and Ralph Paton, whom he had found. He reveals that the goose quill is a heroin holder belonging to Miss Russell’s illegitimate son, the stranger whom Sheppard met on the night of the murder. He also informs everyone that Ursula secretly married Paton, as the ring he found was hers, it was discarded after Paton chastised her for informing his uncle of this fact, which had led to the termination of her employment Poirot then proceeds to inform all that he knows the killer’s identity, confirmed by a telegram received during the meeting. He does not reveal the name; instead he issues a warning to the killer. When Poirot is alone with Sheppard, he reveals that he knows him to be Ackroyd’s killer.
Sheppard was Mrs Ferrars’ blackmailer and murdered Ackroyd to stop him knowing this, he suspected her suicide note would mention this fact, and so he took it after the murder. He then used a dictaphone Ackroyd had, to make it appear he was still alive when he departed, before looping back to the study’s window to plant Paton’s footprints, Poirot had noted an inconsistency in the time he mentioned for the meeting at the gates. As he wanted to be on the scene when Ackroyd’s body was found, he asked a patient earlier in the day to call him some time after the murder, so as to have an excuse for returning to Ferly Park, Poirot’s telegram confirmed this. When no-one was around in the study, Sheppard removed the dictaphone, and returned the chair that concealed it from view to its original place. Poirot tells Sheppard that all this information will be reported to the police in the morning Dr Sheppard continues writing his report on Poirot’s investiganon (the novel itself). admitting his guilt and wishing his account was that of Poirot’s failure to solve Ackroyd’s murder. The novel’s epilogue serves as his suicide note.
Poirot is moral and intellectual superhero. He is quite clearly smarter than any of the other passengers, especially M. Bouc and Dr. Constantine In the beginning of Section three, Christie includes a humorous comparison of the thoughts of the three men. While Poirot sits motionless thinking and concentrating on the case, M. Bouc’s thoughts wander to the repair of the train and Dr. Constantine’s waver into pornography Poirot’s greatest task as a detective is to be the smartest person around, he must intellectually defeat the murderer. The Armstrongs purposefully attempt to confuse and fool Poirot. They set an elaborate set of clues and misleading evidence to veer him from the truth, but Poirot still wins. From the time he sits down and “thinks” with Dr. Constantine and M. Bouc, Poirot knows the solution of the case-it is merely a matter of confirming his suspicions.
Poirot is a very likable character, despite his moral and intellectual greatness. He is over concerned with appearance, distracted by his moustache and has a liking for strong-willed British women (a.k.a. Ms. Debenham). He is rather short, slightly snobby and probably lonely at times. It is good Christie gives him cases so often. Hercule Poirot, through Christie’s novels, is said to have aged to 105.
M. Hercule Poirot is famous for solving murders by understanding the psychological aspects of crime. He considers it crucial to comprehend, for instance, what kind of a person the victim was and what kind of relations he held with his closest circle. A’ tenable solution to a crime must psychologically account for all the facts and relationships between the people involved. But how does M. Poirot arrive at the psychology of each case?
M. Poirot’s methods are essentially social psychological. Social psychology aims at describing, understanding and explaining human action and relations within each particular social environment. This post attempts to explain the cornerstones of M. Poirot’s social psychological approach in working out baffling murder cases.M. Poirot can. The ability to imagine an opposing case for any line of events or accepted ironclad solution lies at the heart of M. Poirot’s social psychological wisdom. His journey towards the truth starts with a complete shift of perspective towards a view that others typically consider to be impossible. Whereas others have painted themselves in the comer of “it must be so” and cannot conceive any alternative explanations, M. Poirot starts from a fresh perspective. Therefore, everything is possible- even the previously unthinkable.
M. Poirot takes nothing for granted. He masters impression management, both in identifying impressions, in others’ behavior and using them to his own advantage. In a normal situation, individuals usually take pains to present themselves as they truly are. Their goal is not to deceive others into believing they are something or someone they are not. On the contrary, since culprits obviously have something to hide they need to engage in creating false impressions to mask their underlying motives. These motives are often quite the opposite, compared with their superficial appearance. For instance, in several of M. Poirot’s cases, hate disguises love, compassion masks manipulation and identities are not what they seem.
And so M. Poirot does. The summing up of each case displays how M. Poirot arrived at the truth and unraveled smaller mysteries along the way. The psychology of crime for M. Poirot is essentially a quest for motive why did this particular murder take place? The social psychological methods that investigate the why question make the network of interactive relations between the people involved and their actions visible. This constellation of motives and events then explains what actually happened and why.
Whereas M. Poirot knows how to break down false impressions, Agatha Christie mastered the art of creating them. Every Hercule Poirot mystery demonstrates her social psychological talent, not only for deliberately misleading readers for entertaining purposes, but also for showing a way out of a dead end. Instead of blindly accepting the judgement of others, M. Poirot thinks for himself. He explores all the possible avenues to bring true culprits to justice and allow wrongly-accused individuals to continue with their lives. Herein lies one explanation for the popularity of M. Poirot and his incomparable little grey cells. As David Suchet puts it in Being Poirot, “Poirot understands the frailty of people, their passions, their hopes and their dreams. It’s a characteristic which I think is recognized and admired by viewers the world over.”
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd doesn’t just show that everybody has something to hide it also suggests that, with a little intelligent detective work, people’s secrets inevitably will be revealed. Through the character of Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective who appears in dozens of other Christie mysteries, Roger Ackroyd shows how an intelligent, rational person can use their “little grey cells” to solve even the most challenging of mysteries. Furthermore, Christie shows how Poirot’s flexible intellect-his combination of rational disinterest and intuitive exploration-is key to solving the case.
The contrast Christie sets up between Poirot’s handling of the case and the official inquiry made by the police makes an argument that investigations are best when they’re based on a philosophical interest in human behavior and human nature, rather than personal or professional incentives, such as the desire to close a case qckly, a quest for money or fame, or friendship with the victims. Even before Poirot begins to investigate Roger Ackroyd’s murder, Christie makes it clear that he’s interested in the case for purely abstract reasons. Indeed, Poirot’s “disinterest” (i.e., the fact that he’s not financially connected to the Ackroyd family. intimately acquainted with any of the suspects, or even legally obligated to turn over his findings to the police) is an important part of his style of detection. Because Poirot is disinterested, he’s not biased toward or against particular suspects. Instead, he’s free to “size up” the suspects slowly and carefully, assessing what kinds of people they are, what their motives and secrets might and whether or not they’d be capable, under the circumstances, of committing a crime. As befits a detective who only takes cases out of abstract, philosophical interest, Poirot’s style of detection focuses on the study of human nature. Like a good logician, Poirot proceeds from a set of premises-everybody has secrets; everybody, under the right circumstances, is capable of murder and uses them to interview the suspects and draw conclusions about the crime. By contrast, Christie portrays the sloppier style favored by the police, who have limited resources and a strong incentive to conclude their investigation as soon as possible.
But Poirot isn’t just an “armchair detective.” In addition to his role as a philosophical “student of human nature,” he’s also willing to get his hands dirty by gathering evidence. Over the course of Roger Ackroyd, Poirot gathers various important pieces of evidence in the act of patrolling the Ackroyd estate, including a wedding ring, a goose quill, and a piece of cambric (a kind of fabric), without which he’d probably be unable to solve the case. Much of the time, Poirot acts like an empiricist, who believes that the best way to solve a problem is to gather evidence either literal, physical evidence or the testimony of the suspects. But there are other occasions when Poirot seems to use his intuition to guide his investigation. Especially toward the beginning of the case, Poirot tells Dr. Sheppard that he has certain “feelings” about a particular person or piece of evidence-ideas that he’s unable to support with evidence. Although many of Poirot’s “feelings” later become full-fledged theories, supported by the evidence, they often begin as mere, unsubstantiated instinct. Poirot is unique from most other fictional detectives in the sense that he doesn’t have any one hard and fast theory of detection. At times, he concentrates on gathering physical evidence; at other times, he focuses on forming a psychological understanding of the suspects; and sometimes, he allows his instincts to guide him. Christie implies that it is because Poirot is so flexible-he uses so many different methods of detection, employing many different aspects of his mind-that he’s such a brilliant detective.