The Shameful Book Club: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

December’s genre is mystery, my personal favorite. I paired it up with December because it’s usually a cold and stressful time with the holidays and the winter and such, so I figured I should be allowed to treat myself to my favorite genre in the midst of unpleasantness. I picked The Murder of Roger Ackroyd because it is arguably Agatha Christie’s best novel, and I, as a massive Christie fan, had not yet read it. I actually haven’t read as much Christie as one would think. I can count on one had the number of novels and novella’s I’ve tackled, so I personally find that rather shameful.

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Me and a real cool dude on Halloween. I am Agatha Christie, holding her book Halowe’en Party, at a Halloween party.

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Annd a close up. The only thing I can explain in this picture is that I deliberately drew age lines on my face so I look old.

I was very excited to finally get to Ackroyd. I’ve seen it appear on tons of lists like “Top 5 Biggest Twist Endings of All Time” and “Novels That Will Make Your Head Spin So Hard It Will Pop Right Off You’ve Been Warned”. And a coworker of mine, who actually hates this kind of old-school Scooby Doo novel, told me she really enjoyed Ackroyd because of it’s unique twist. I was very successful in avoiding spoilers and could not wait to try to guess who committed the crime, which I did at around page 133. I was very proud of myself.

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The Shameful Book Club: Mystery Novel Update

Not to get ahead of myself, but I might actually finish all my books for this season’s challenge. I might even finish the bonus books as well! Last month I read three of my six mystery novels for Spring. A bit of mystery and intrigue was the perfect way to welcome the warm air and sunshine back into my life. Yes, murder and 70-degree temperatures really brighten my mood. My first batch here were all older and all written by women. They range in tone, mystery style, and types of characters.

BA28X1_MEDFirst up for me was The Circular Staircase, which is the oldest novel on my list (1908) and also one of the funniest. Rachel Innes, an old spinster, plans to spend an extended vacation in the country with her niece and nephew, Gertrude and Halsey, in a lovely house they’ve rented in the country. The first night of her stay, she deals with a trespasser trying to break into the house and a strange noise that sounds like something large falling down a circular staircase at one end of the house. The next night there is an unexplained murder near the same stairs, and a body is discovered. This throws the family into a whirlwind of trouble. First Halsey is a suspect, then his friend that was visiting with them that evening, then almost everyone in the town! The pieces of the puzzle are so intricate and intertwined, that it was very hard for me to guess most of solution until rather close to the end of the book. There are several overlapping narratives at play and they just happened to coincide in a perfect storm. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, she’s one of the first originators of the “if I had only known” style of mystery, and if Rachel had only known one or two pieces of this puzzle, she would have probably been able to solve it much quicker.

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The Shameful Book Club: Mystery Novels for Spring

magnifying-glasMystery novels — my favorite! My selections for this Spring’s reading challenge are by far the most random, but I think they will compliment each other well. I put together a healthy mix of classic and contemporary detective and mystery novels from writers I love and writers I’ve never read. There are six core novels and then three bonus novels on this list. But since these are fast-paced, exciting, and usually short books, I hope I’ll be able to get through at least the majority of them in the March-June timeline. I don’t have the greatest track record, however.

As usual, there are some books on this list that are embarrassing for me to admit that I haven’t read them yet, but that is the entire reason for the Shameful Book Club. If you have read any of these already, let me know what you think of them. And if you have a good mystery series that you think I should pick up, let me know! If mysteries aren’t really your thing, take this as an opportunity to give them a try. Otherwise, I’ll be doing science fiction novels in the summer. I hope you guys participate with me this season. It’s going to be a thrilling thaw.

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