Pierre Bayard: Who Killed Roger Ackroyd? The Murderer Who Eluded Hercule Poirot and Deceived Agatha Christie
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At the end of Agatha Christie's classic detective novel, „The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”, Hercule Poirot declares with a customary late flourish that the murderer is none other than the book's narrator. But the narrator is, by definition, suspect. So who can we believe? In a witty piece of literary sleuthing, Pierre Bayard thinks the unthinkable: could Poirot, semi-retired and growing marrows, have got it wrong? And if so, who did murder Roger Ackroyd? When Agatha Christie published her masterpiece „The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” she confounded the conventions of the detective strory by making her narrator, Dr Sheppard, the killer: every event in the novel is seen through Sheppard's eyes. But when faced by Hercule Poirot in a typically grandstanding finale, Sheppard reacts to Poirot's solution of the crime with astonishment, and with good cause: the punctilious Beligian detective's explanation is as motiveless as it is impractical. This is the starting point in Pierre Bayard's clever, affectionate tribute to the Queen of Crime. Bayard asks the question: might Poirot have got it wrong? And if so, why might he have been mistaken? Did Christie herself understand the ending of her own book or was she too being manipulated by her narrator? In a display of literary intrigue worthy of Umberto Eco or John Sutherland, Bayard plots his own solution, faithfully following the devices of Agatha Christie's original in this deft, smart homage. And, in his own denouement he finally answers the question first posed by Agatha Christie many years ago: who really killed Roger Ackroyd?