The Murder of Roger Ackroyd


First published: 1926


  • Stabbing

A Hercule Poirot story


The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Known forits startling reveal, this is the book that changed Agatha Christie’s career.

Roger Ackroyd was a man who knew too much. He knew the woman he loved had poisoned her first husband. He knew someone was blackmailing her – and now he knew she had taken her own life with a drug overdose. Soon the evening post would let him know who the mystery blackmailer was. But Ackroyd was dead before he’d finished reading it – stabbed through the neck where he sat in the study.

The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to the seeker after it.

Hercule Poirot, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

More about this story

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was Agatha Christie’s first book to be published by William Collins in the spring of 1926. William Collins became part of HarperCollins and are still Christie’s publishers today. In her autobiography, Christie explains that the basic idea for this story was given to her by her brother-in-law, James, who once said ‘almost everybody turns out to be a criminal nowadays in detective stories – even the detective. What I would like to see is a Watson who turned out to be a criminal.’ Lord Louis Mountbatten later wrote to Christie with a similar idea before she begun constructing the novel.

A classic – the book has definitely earnt its fame.
The Irish Independent

The story formed the basis of the earliest adaptation of Christie’s work. English dramatist Michael Morton adapted the book into a play, Alibi, which opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London in 1928 and successfully ran for 250 performances. Morton’s adaptation inspired Christie to write her first play, Black Coffee. Alibi was later adapted into the first sound film based on Christie’s work in 1931.

Reverting back to the original story, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was adapted into a one-hour radio play in 1939 by Orson Welles who played the roles of Dr Sheppard and Hercule Poirot. Almost 50 years later it was again adapted into a radio play for BBC Radio 4 where John Moffat played his debut role as Hercule Poirot, a role he would continue to play throughout his career. David Suchet starred as the famous Belgian detective in 2000 when the story was adapted for television.

Read an extract

Did you know?

  1. The novel was first serialised in the London Evening News as a fifty-four part serialisation in 1925 titled Who Killed Ackroyd?

  2. The book dedication is to Punkie – the family’s nickname for Agatha Christie's older sister Madge.

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