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poppyshake

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

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Welcome everyone to the November Reading Circle for The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie! :smile:

 

**It is assumed that you have read the book before reading posts in this thread, as the discussion might give away crucial points, and the continuous use of spoiler tags might hinder fluent reading of posts**

 

murderofrogerackroyd.jpg

 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie

 

Synopsis: Agatha Christie's most audacious crime mystery. Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose. But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish the letter, he was stabbed to death! ohmy.gif

 

Here are some basic questions but feel free to write your thoughts down in whichever way you prefer.

 

1- Who was your favourite character?

2- Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest

3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author/has it encouraged you to read more?

4- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

5- What were your thoughts about Poirot?

6- Did you work out whodunnit, who was on your suspect list?

7- In hindsight, were there clues early on as to the guilt of Dr Sheppard?

8- Do you feel justice was done?

9- Overall was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

10- Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

Edited by poppyshake

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1- Who was your favourite character?

Caroline, she was ridiculously nosy but I loved that about her. She was funny, lively and interesting and the story always lifted when she appeared. She was the comic relief I guess but also rather cleverly the reason that I didn't look too deeply into Dr Sheppard's character or motives.

 

2- Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

The twist, I got chills down my spine when I realised what Poirot's line of questioning meant in the final chapter. I remember saying to Alan earlier on in the book, how do we know that the narrator is reliable (after having read Agatha's dedication where she said that everyone would be suspected ) but it was the character of his sister that made me trust in him. Also the whole set up of his home life and his profession, he just didn't appear to be a man who would contemplate murder. He was very much in Poirot's confidence (or appeared to be) which misled me .. I thought it meant he trusted him but of course, he was just giving him enough rope. I suppose it's natural to take the narrator completely at their word, it's usually only the reactions of those around them that ever give away the fact that they can't be trusted but everyone seemed to trust his word implicitly.

 

3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/ by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

I have read other murder/mysteries but this is my first Agatha Christie. I quite like these vintage murder mystery stories but how I would fare with a contemporary blood and gore type of story I don't know. I'd definitely like to read more by her but I know this is considered by some to be her masterpiece so maybe I've peaked too soon.

 

4- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

Only the ending, in as much as Poirot allowed Dr Sheppard to end his life by his own hand, but given that Poirot had already told the assembled suspects that the murderer was in the room, and given that it wasn't any of them, I couldn't see how Caroline would have been able to escape humiliation, especially as Dr Sheppard's suicide would point rather heavily at his guilt.

 

5- What were your thoughts about Poirot?

It's difficult to get a handle on him, he plays everything so close to his chest that there's no getting inside his head (which is just as well.) He is the perfect detective, he see's everything but gives very little away. He has a sense of humour, I loved his remark about not wanting to force Caroline to adopt a vegetarian diet for two days running .. nothing got past him.

 

6- Did you work out whodunnit, who was on your list of suspects?

Apart from the early thought that even Sheppard couldn't be trusted, I didn't work out whodunnit. As the story went on I was more and more convinced that it was Geoffrey Raymond (but I didn't have a motive worked out for him, I suspected him purely because from the start he was called 'a pleasant young fellow' which is my usual method of working things out .. ie: I'm clueless.) I knew it wouldn't turn out to be Ralph Paton and that's as far as I got. Alan thought it was Miss Russell.

 

7- In hindsight, were there clues easrly on as to the guilt of Dr Sheppard?

I don't know, nothing I spotted, possibly there were though. Right at the beginning I perhaps should have thought about what might have happened if the name of the blackmailer had been Dr Sheppard. As I got to the end of the book, knowing that it's famous for it's twist, I started thinking that it would be the person least likely, and I could only think of Caroline but then she wasn't invited to Poirot's house and so that ruled her out (which I was glad about.) I should have continued thinking along those lines but I had already fallen into the trap of taking all of Dr Sheppard's words as gospel .. just as Agatha knew I would. In any case it would have been clutching at straws .. I would never have worked out the motive or the method.

 

8- Do you feel justice was done?

No, I don't think poor old Roger or Mrs Ferrars received justice but I can see why Poirot didn't want Caroline to suffer, but as I said earlier I didn't see how that would work.

 

9- Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Totally, I loved the setting, I loved the meticulous way in which all the details were sifted through and the way in which she threw suspicion on everybody. It was a comfy cosy sort of murder mystery but it still gave me the chills at the end. The twist was delicious.

 

10- Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

Yes I would, to anybody really but especially to lovers of vintage fiction. Alan and I read it aloud to each other and he enjoyed it as much as I did. Whether there is enough here for lovers of more gritty murder/mysteries I don't know but I think the twist elevates it to something special.

Edited by poppyshake

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My favorite character was also Caroline. I never suspected Dr. Sheppard. It was an enjoyable read because Ms. Christie had a sense of humour. My favorite line was when Caroline told one of the characters that she shouldn't worry about the cruel things she said to her boyfriend because they are so conceited they wouldn't believe it anyway! That made me laugh aloud. I can't help thinking it is true!

 

I would recommend the book. It's short and entertaining. I not really a fan of whodunits, they lack character development however I did enjoy this one.

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1- Who was your favourite character?

I'd have to say that my favourite character changed a little with the plot, but I really liked Caroline because she was such a little "had - to - know - it - all", and that is how I picture english small town ladies in the '10s and '20s. I took an immediate dislike to the good doctor, because of Caroline and the way he talked about her. He was really mean.

I could also picture Poirot walking around, gathering clues here and there in his impeckable suit very vividly, wich is always a good thing when reading. My least favourite character has to be that of Mrs. Cecil Ackroyd, the sister-in-law whom I found to be a greedy and "weak" woman.

2- Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest

I really enjoyed the twist in the story... Having read Agatha Christie novels before I wasnt totally taken by surprice at who the killer really was, I had my suspitions from very early on, but to see the evidence explained and to follow the thinking of Poirot was exciting, and to find out that I was right was a bonus!

3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author/has it encouraged you to read more?

I'm not a huge fan of Agatha Christie or crim/detective novels in general, but I have strayed into that genre now and then, and I am not a stranger to Agatha Christie - "Murder on the Orient Express" is a good read but I have always loved and come back to "And Then There Were None" (or Ten Little Niggers as it was so... charmingly named for a long time)

I will problaby read these kinds of novels in the future too, but I will not strive to do it because of this book, or any other that I have read of this genre.

4- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

As a "modern woman" I struggled with the fact that women of that time didnt do much, other than spy on thier town and faint at the drop of a hat, and I have always enjoyed reading about strong women who go against the stream more than about women who behaved as they where expected to behave, but I realise that this was a contemporary book, and that times where like that back then, and it didn't bother me enough to put the book away.

5- What were your thoughts about Poirot?

I found him rather charming, altho a little pompous and full of himself. I do like the fact that he was very secretive and never missed a detail, and as a common theme in many of Agatha Christies books, he did her justice I think.

6- Did you work out whodunnit, who was on your suspect list?

I didn't know for a fact who the guilty person was, but I had very strong suspitions from the start and they never let up. I didn't think for a second that the butler did it, altho I have heard somewhere that the butler always did it!

I would have been really surpriced if it had turned out to be one of the ladies whodunnit, that would have been a fun twist to read.

7- In hindsight, were there clues early on as to the guilt of Dr Sheppard?

Well, I did catch the timediscrepancy pretty early (the 10 minutes that went by unexplained or unmentioned until the end), and the fact that the good doctor was so eager to hear who the blackmailer was I found a bit odd. Also the way he talked to his sister... But I didnt see any real clues that pointed to him, and I assume that was the goal.

8- Do you feel justice was done?

No, I don't see how ending your own life equals justice at all, and I don't buy the "Save Caroline from hurt" argument either... If your brother commits suicide and leaves no explanation, when to my knowledge he has never been prone to do so, well I believe that would cause more pain, and probably a much deeper pain that that of your brother going to jail, where he rightly belongs.

9- Overall was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

I would have to say that it was. It was in no way lifechanging or earthshattering, but it was a good nights read.

10- Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

I wouldnt recommend it to anyone in particular, because I don't know anyone who enjoyes this genre, but if someone asked me what I thought of the book, and wether it was good enough to read, I would say yes.

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poppyshake;

 

If you want to try another one of her books, give "And Then There Where None" a go, its a little different from this one and it has a morbid (but funny) humor in the form of a very meaningful poem in it.

Edited by Nali

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My favorite line was when Caroline told one of the characters that she shouldn't worry about the cruel things she said to her boyfriend because they are so conceited they wouldn't believe it anyway! That made me laugh aloud. I can't help thinking it is true!

 

:giggle2:made me laugh too and even Alan thought it was probably true.

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poppyshake;

 

If you want to try another one of her books, give "And Then There Where None" a go, its a little different from this one and it has a morbid (but funny) humor in the form of a very meaningful poem in it.

Thanks Nali :D I've put it on mount TBR over at Goodreads

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1. Who was your favourite character?

Caroline. I loved her bossy, gossipy nature. I loved the way she treated Dr Sheppard with just the right amount of condescension to be amusing - and believable.

 

2. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest

It has to be the twist at the end. I had no idea it was coming (I gather from Googling afterwards that it’s a well-known twist, but it bypassed me).

3. Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author/has it encouraged you to read more?

I used to read crime novels all the time, but it’s not a genre I’ve read much over the last 8 or so years. It’s the second Agatha Christie I’ve read (the first was earlier this year - Cat Among the Pigeons). When I finished that one, I ended my review saying I’m not sure I’ll actively seek out any more Poirots, but if another comes my way then I may just try it out - all I can say is that if I’d read this one first then my comment would have been totally different - I loved this.

 

4. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

I’ve watched dozens and dozens of the David Suchet Poirot TV episodes and really enjoy them. I might be basing this opinion on that Poirot rather than the book one, but I really wasn’t happy that Poirot gave Dr Sheppard the chance to take the easy way out. I didn’t think that was the right thing to do, or fair on the victim, his family and those accused of killing him. It doesn’t seem like something Poirot would do.

 

5. What were your thoughts about Poirot?

I really liked the characterisation of him. He came across as passionate about detecting and also caring about the suspects - even if they might have been the one to do the murder (before he’d solved it) he still treated them with kindness and compassion. Sorry to harp on about the TV version, but I think David Suchet plays him so well. I did find I was hearing Suchet’s Poirot when Poirot spoke in the book (that makes sense in my head!).

6. Did you work out whodunnit, who was on your suspect list?

It crossed my mind at the start that Mr Sheppard might be the killer - only because I read somewhere that the murderer is nearly always the first person introduced in an Agatha Christie (I’ve no idea if this is true) but I quickly disregarded that thought because I couldn’t believe it was him! I was perfectly certain right from the start that it wasn’t Ralph Paton. I thought it might be something to do with the Dictaphone salesman - because I couldn’t see why else he’d be mentioned as a salesman of something specific - I thought he’d just be ‘a salesman’.

 

7. In hindsight, were there clues early on as to the guilt of Dr Sheppard?

With hindsight, the fact he had access to poison should have made me question whether he might have been part of the blackmail plot and the murder of Mr Ferras, but I can honestly say that (rather foolishly it seems, now!) I didn’t suspect Dr Sheppard at all because he was so involved with Poirot and because he seemed genuine!

 

8. Do you feel justice was done?

Definitely not - see 4 above!

 

9. Overall was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Yes - I read it in two days. I know it’s not terribly long but it normally takes me about 4 or 5 days to read a book of this size - I just wanted to keep reading this! I loved the twist! I read it through twice before carrying on to the end as I enjoyed it so much!

 

10. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

To anyone who hasn’t read Agatha Christie before - I think would be a great one to start with. I’m going to give it to my Mum (she doesn’t know it yet!) because I think she should read it!!

 

One thing puzzles me. Dr Sheppard, when taking his own life says of Caroline:

 

“Well, she will never know the truth. There is, as Poirot said, one way out. . .

 

I can trust him. He and Inspector Raglan will manage it between them. I should not like Caroline to know. She is fond of me, and then, too, she is proud. . . My death will be a grief to her, but then grief passes. . .”

 

How could Caroline not know? We already know that she’s not daft - so wouldn’t she wonder why he’d taken his life, why no murderer was announced by Poirot or the Inspector - and knowing what she’s like wouldn’t she push and push and dig and dig until she discovered just who murdered Roger Ackroyd?

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One thing puzzles me. Dr Sheppard, when taking his own life says of Caroline:

 

“Well, she will never know the truth. There is, as Poirot said, one way out. . .

 

I can trust him. He and Inspector Raglan will manage it between them. I should not like Caroline to know. She is fond of me, and then, too, she is proud. . . My death will be a grief to her, but then grief passes. . .”

 

How could Caroline not know? We already know that she’s not daft - so wouldn’t she wonder why he’d taken his life, why no murderer was announced by Poirot or the Inspector - and knowing what she’s like wouldn’t she push and push and dig and dig until she discovered just who murdered Roger Ackroyd?

I agree Janet, we all know Poirot is brilliant but how on earth could it ever be concealed from Caroline or the rest of the village. Dr Sheppard has committed suicide, the murder case is closed and no-one arrested .. they all know that it was someone at the reunion at Poirot's house because he said so ... even I would be able to figure it out and Caroline definitely would.

 

I pictured David Suchet too .. it's hard not to isn't it?

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It is! He makes me think of a penguin! :giggle2: I've not seen The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (despite seeing loads of them) but according to Wikipedia he did film it. They changed it considerably though...

 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was adapted as a 103-minute drama transmitted in the U.K. on ITV Sunday January 2, 2000, as a special episode in their series, Agatha Christie's Poirot. In this adaptation Japp — not Sheppard — is Poirot's assistant, leaving Sheppard as just another suspect. However, the device of Dr. Sheppard's journal is retained as the supposed source of Poirot's voice-over narration and forms an integral part of the dénouement. The plot strayed considerably from the book, including having Sheppard run over Parker numerous times with his car and commit suicide with his gun after a chase through a factory. Ackroyd was changed to a more elderly, stingy man who owns a factory, disliked by many. Mrs Ackroyd is also not as zany as in the book version

:o So I'm glad I didn't see it before reading this!

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I have read this book before but many years ago, I do enjoy Agatha Christie and the way she works all the clues to get to the murderer perhaps a bit predictable but a good read.

 

 

 

My Favourite Character has be Caroline, she is so typically english and so nosy

 

 

The part I enjoyed most was the end when all was revealed and the way it was all worked out.

 

 

I have read a few Agatha Christie books and do enjoy them, they are refreshing, often surprising, and not too gruesome

 

 

I enjoyed the book apart from the knowledge of who did it because I did remember.

 

 

I did enjoy this book because the surprise of the ending, and the way all the clues came together

 

 

The last line was agatha at her best 'But I wish Hercule Poirot had never retired from work and come here to grown vegetable marrows' how so english lol

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I'll be back in a couple of days, just need to finish the book :)

read faster! ;)

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The plot strayed considerably from the book, including having Sheppard run over Parker numerous times with his car and commit suicide with his gun after a chase through a factory. Ackroyd was changed to a more elderly, stingy man who owns a factory, disliked by many. Mrs Ackroyd is also not as zany as in the book version

Oh Lord! .. it sounds awful :o

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It does, doesn't it.

 

I wonder how many others they've changed the plots of? This is why I don't usually watch films/TV series until I've read the book - I could probably cope with watching TMoRA now I've read the book (if it happened to be on - I won't actively seek it out now like I had thought to) but it annoys me so much when they make pointless changes.

 

That's why I hate the film version of Chocolat, and why I walked out of the Dorian Gray film when I went to watch it at the cinema!

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I haven't seen 'Dorian Gray' but I hated the movie version of 'Chocolat'. Having spent so much money getting my b*m on a cinema seat .. I've not walked out yet but if I don't like a film ((especially when it's a bad adaptation of a beloved book) my tutting and shrugging increase to the point where I look like I'm in need of medical attention :D

 

Having been forewarned about the bad adaptation(or at least it sounds bad) I don't think I'd watch TMoRA if it came on TV, though curiosity might get the better of me.

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1- Who was your favourite character?

Caroline. I think I liked her because she was more realistic as a person I would meet in everyday life.

 

2- Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest

I liked Poirot’s sneakiness and his ability to read people to know how to act around them and ask the right questions to get the information he needed.

 

3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author/has it encouraged you to read more?

This was my fourth Agatha Christie I have enjoyed all of them so I will definitely read more.

 

4- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

I did stop paying attention in various parts and lost track of who was and who wasn’t in the summer house etc but nothing that stopped me following the story

 

5- What were your thoughts about Poirot?

see above (2.)

 

6- Did you work out whodunnit, who was on your suspect list?

I am going to be a bit smug here. In the second chapter I occurred to me that the book was written from Dr Sheppards point of view, so I thought then that there must be a reason for this and that there can only be one explanation and that he himself was the murderer. I then went to read on with this in mind and thought that it was odd that he walked to dinner with his Dr’s bag in case he got called to a patient, that he would presumably have to walk to, but drove back to the house in his car when he knew this “patient” was dead, seems to have got his priorities a bit wrong there. I was keen to find out who exactly made that phone call.

 

8- Do you feel justice was done?

No, I agree with comments above

 

9- Overall was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Yes very much so I could have happily sat and read it in one or two sittings if I didn’t have other things to do.

 

10- Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

I think I am more like to recommend Agatha Christie in general rather than this particular book but seeing as how so many of them have been made into tv programmes most people will know if they would like the books or not.

Edited by Easy Reader

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So far Caroline is everybody's favourite character :) She didn't have a lot of competition mind you, the book wasn't overflowing with characters you could warm to. I think Poirot was her only real rival.

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So far I think Poirot was her only real rival.

 

I nearly said Poirot but then thought well he has to appear in it as its his book and overall he wasn't actually in it that much. In the first part of the book I was wondering if he was ever going to turn up.

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1- Who was your favourite character?

I'm in agreement with the majority - I really liked Caroline, such nosiness and no shame! Not a person I think I'd warm to in real life, I'd find her too frustrating - but watching someone else have to deal with her was amusing!

 

2- Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest

Definitely the twist at the end - never saw it coming And given just before the end I was thinking that a doctor's bag would perfectly hide the dictaphone I'm ashamed it still came as such a surprise!

 

3- Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author/has it encouraged you to read more?

I really enjoy crime/thrillers but haven't read an Agatha Christie since I was a teenager, oh so many years ago. When this book first won the vote I sighed but actually I'm really glad it did win. I haven't read this one and it's reintroduced me to an author I've dismissed for years in favour of more recent authors

 

4- Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

Struggled not really, but did feel a little uncomfortable with Dr Sheppard's end

 

5- What were your thoughts about Poirot?

That's a hard one as he's such an established character from both the other book's I've read and the tv adaptations. I did find it impossible to disassociate with David Suchet but I guess that's not a totally bad thing as in character (clearly, sadly not in some adaptations in story) he IS Poirot. I loved the first view of him over the fence!!!

 

6- Did you work out whodunnit, who was on your suspect list?

I think I suspected most people except the culprit at some point. My money was on Flora for some time and I was disappointed when things started to unravel on that line!

 

7- In hindsight, were there clues early on as to the guilt of Dr Sheppard?

I don't think there was really much to incriminate him early on. I think using him as narrator probably help deflect him from suspicion on my part at least

 

8- Do you feel justice was done?

Hmmm Not really, I think he got off lightly!

 

9- Overall was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Totally!! I really enjoyed the book - bizarrely, reading such a small book was a pleasure. Most books I read these days are tomes and while I enjoy them there are points when my mind wanders. There wasn't a single bit in this book that was unnecessary - really enjoyed it

 

10- Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

Definitely - in fact I've already bored people at work about reading it. As I said earlier I was disappointed when this was the book picked but it totally didn't disappoint and I'm really pleased I was "made" to read a book that I would have otherwise passed by

 

Exactly why I joined this forum :D

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Exactly why I joined this forum :D

That's what we like to hear! :D

 

Oh, and I agree with you totally about our first look at Poirot over the garden fence - a great introduction!

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5- What were your thoughts about Poirot?

That's a hard one as he's such an established character from both the other book's I've read and the tv adaptations. I did find it impossible to disassociate with David Suchet but I guess that's not a totally bad thing as in character (clearly, sadly not in some adaptations in story) he IS Poirot. I loved the first view of him over the fence!!!

 

Its interesting that you should say that as I have only ever seen bits of Poirot so can easily conjure up my own image of him and my Poirot is much smaller and mole like that David Suchet - I think when I have read a few more I will have to get some Poirot's to watch. I have the opposite problem with Miss Marple though as I have probably watched all of those at some point or other.

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The reaction to this infamous plot twist has varied over the years, there are some critics and readers that thought it was too deceptive. Did you feel as if Agatha had hoodwinked you unfairly?

 

hehe! I've got about 80 pages to go, so hopefully I'll finish that tonight! :D

I hope you've been keeping your eyes closed whilst visiting this thread missy because a certain persons name has been splashed all over it!

Edited by poppyshake

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6- Did you work out whodunnit, who was on your suspect list?

I am going to be a bit smug here. In the second chapter I occurred to me that the book was written from Dr Sheppards point of view, so I thought then that there must be a reason for this and that there can only be one explanation and that he himself was the murderer. I then went to read on with this in mind and thought that it was odd that he walked to dinner with his Dr’s bag in case he got called to a patient, that he would presumably have to walk to, but drove back to the house in his car when he knew this “patient” was dead, seems to have got his priorities a bit wrong there. I was keen to find out who exactly made that phone call.

It's not smug at all, if I'd have sussed him out I would be crowing it from the rooftops. Well done you :)

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