Friday, March 17, 2017

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and The Big Four - The Poirot Files

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Murder Method: stabbing
On this installment of The Poirot Files, the story is narrated by Dr. Sheppard, a single man, living with his older sister, who just like him, is single. They came to an inheritance but was longer lost. She has a kind of net on the town, since she apparently knows everything of everyone, with the exception of their new neighbour, a peculiar old man, who according to Dr. Sheppard must had been a prestigious hairdresser. 
Roger Ackroyd was a wealthy man, who was well loved for the village people and respected, he was a widower tho her marriege wasn't a happy one. His late wife had a drink problem, sill he was most notorious for love he professed for his stepson, a young man who was the kind of person who liked to enjoy life, without considering the consequences.
One day, Dr. Sheppard is invited to dinner by Roger who trusted in him and who wanted to talk about certain subject. The subject in question was the death of Mrs. Ferrars, who everyone suspected had a relationship with Roger.
In confidence Roger reveals Dr. Sheppard that the death woman was indeed his fiancé, they were going to announce their relation and wedding plans soon, but the woman had a secret for which she had been blackmailed and in a desperate way out she committed suicide.
The night of the dinner in question, when Dr. Sheppard had returned home, a phone call was made, telling the doctor that it was the butler from Mr. Ackroyd house to reveal that the master was found dead.
The doctor goes immediately to the place to face the fact that Parker, the butler didn’t make the call, and the study in which the master was, was closed on the inside. The discover of the body and the fact that there was no doubt that it was murder would complicate the case.
The events that follow would involve the help of our dear Poirot.

The first thing to notice on this book is the absence of Hasting, on Poirot’s Early Cases we had a few stories without Hastings, but this is the first novel without him. To be honest I must say that I kind of missed, tho Dr. Sheppard made his narration quite interesting, and it was good to see another perspective involving Poirot.
The story itself was a good one, if not the best, blackmail, a secret marriage that I suspected and proved right, another couple in love and the simpleton who could look like he was trying to hard to hide the truth could deceive you, because the ending, oh dear, certainly I was not expecting that ending.

The Big Four 
The Big Four bring us a fantastic history, and I’m referring as fantastic because it was a little too much for me, well almost a little too much.
On this story, Hastings is back to surprise his good friend Poirot, but the surprise came on the other way because by arriving to Poirot’s apartment, he realize that the old man, as happy as he is to have Hastings back, he is leaving England, probably for good.
He’s going to work on a case of a famous millionaire, the payment is really good, and the possibility to stay in the new continent and visit frequently his good friend Hastings was too much tempting to the old man, that he couldn’t refuse the job. There’s something more, for some months now, Poirot has been listening about The Big Four, which appear to be a secret organization or something of the like, he’s intrigued by them, but there’s not much he can find out about them.
Before his departure, Poirot and Hastings are took by surprise, a man enters through the window and he appears to be in shock, he’s dirty and somewhat out of himself. The doctor is called and recommend  repose. Before the man faint, he mentioned something about a Chinese man, being number one, the American millionaire, being number two, a Frenchwoman, being number three, and the number four, the destroyer. Intrigued Poirot and Hastings consider this information carefully, should these four people being the organization that Poirot has been hearing about?
After some indications to the landlady, Hastings and Poirot took a train, the younger one is going to accompany his old friend to the port and later continue his stay in England to run some business.
But before they reach their destination, clarity came to our dear detective and they go out of the train and return to London, just to discover that the man is dead, and that the person who went to find him, didn’t work on the asylum as he mentioned to them, he was no other than number 4, the destroyer.
The book take us in an intense quest to bring down a powerful organization which is planning world domination, and in which the brain, number 1, the Chinese man, is behind of riots and probably other disasters. The millionaire in question is almost untouchable and the French woman is even more, being famous and well loved in her country.  And finally number four, the disguise man, the one nobody knows or at least not really, the one nobody can remember his face and who’s silly unnoticed think can give him away.
So far, this book is my least favorite, still I can’t deny that I enjoyed it.
We got Hastings back, and I must say that I missed his narrative style, the fact that he always shares his opinion and how he contradicts himself, sometimes complaining about Poirot, praising his genius, other times saying how vain he could turn.
I love Poirot’s cleverness, and absolutely have blind faith in the greatest capacity of his gray cells, but even that, it was a little too much.
He alone, well, with the help of silly Hastings discover and destroy the most powerful organization which secrecy had them on float for years.
The ending was ridiculous for say it nicely. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was reading it, especially because it was so out of character.
Still I gave this book 4 stars, like I said it was an entertaining reading, and I absolutely enjoyed reading about it, even when for moments I felt like it was too much fantastic to be true.

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