The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

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Themes and Colors
Secrecy and the Universal Capacity for Violence Theme Icon
Detection and Intellect Theme Icon
Law vs. Ethics Theme Icon
Gossip and Small Town Life Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Detection and Intellect Theme Icon

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd doesn’t just show that everybody has something to hide—it also suggests that, with a little intelligent detective work, people’s secrets inevitably will be revealed. Through the character of Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective who appears in dozens of other Christie mysteries, Roger Ackroyd shows how an intelligent, rational person can use their “little grey cells” to solve even the most challenging of mysteries. Furthermore, Christie shows how Poirot’s flexible intellect—his combination of rational disinterest and intuitive exploration—is key to solving the case.

The contrast Christie sets up between Poirot’s handling of the case and the official inquiry made by the police makes an argument that investigations are best when they’re based on a philosophical interest in human behavior and human nature, rather than personal or professional incentives, such as the desire to close a case quickly, a quest for money or fame, or friendship with the victims. Even before Poirot begins to investigate Roger Ackroyd’s murder, Christie makes it clear that he’s interested in the case for purely abstract reasons. Indeed, Poirot’s “disinterest” (i.e., the fact that he’s not financially connected to the Ackroyd family, intimately acquainted with any of the suspects, or even legally obligated to turn over his findings to the police) is an important part of his style of detection. Because Poirot is disinterested, he’s not biased toward or against particular suspects. Instead, he’s free to “size up” the suspects slowly and carefully, assessing what kinds of people they are, what their motives and secrets might be, and whether or not they’d be capable, under the circumstances, of committing a crime. As befits a detective who only takes cases out of abstract, philosophical interest, Poirot’s style of detection focuses on the study of human nature. Like a good logician, Poirot proceeds from a set of premises—everybody has secrets; everybody, under the right circumstances, is capable of murder—and uses them to interview the suspects and draw conclusions about the crime. By contrast, Christie portrays the sloppier style favored by the police, who have limited resources and a strong incentive to conclude their investigation as soon as possible.

But Poirot isn’t just an “armchair detective.” In addition to his role as a philosophical “student of human nature,” he’s also willing to get his hands dirty by gathering evidence. Over the course of Roger Ackroyd, Poirot gathers various important pieces of evidence in the act of patrolling the Ackroyd estate, including a wedding ring, a goose quill, and a piece of cambric (a kind of fabric), without which he’d probably be unable to solve the case. Much of the time, Poirot acts like an empiricist, who believes that the best way to solve a problem is to gather evidence—either literal, physical evidence or the testimony of the suspects. But there are other occasions when Poirot seems to use his intuition to guide his investigation. Especially toward the beginning of the case, Poirot tells Dr. Sheppard that he has certain “feelings” about a particular person or piece of evidence—ideas that he’s unable to support with evidence. Although many of Poirot’s “feelings” later become full-fledged theories, supported by the evidence, they often begin as mere, unsubstantiated instinct. Poirot is unique from most other fictional detectives in the sense that he doesn’t have any one hard and fast theory of detection. At times, he concentrates on gathering physical evidence; at other times, he focuses on forming a psychological understanding of the suspects; and sometimes, he allows his instincts to guide him. Christie implies that it is because Poirot is so flexible—he uses so many different methods of detection, employing many different aspects of his mind—that he’s such a brilliant detective.

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Detection and Intellect ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Detection and Intellect appears in each Chapter of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Detection and Intellect Quotes in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Below you will find the important quotes in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd related to the theme of Detection and Intellect.
Chapter 6 Quotes

"You don't think that Parker himself might be the man we're after?" I suggested.
"It looks very like it. He was obviously listening at the door when you came out. Then Miss Ackroyd came across him later bent on entering the study. Say he tried again when she was safely out of the way. He stabbed Ackroyd, locked the door on the inside, opened the window, and got out that way, and went round to a side door which he had previously left open. How's that?"

Related Characters: Dr. James Sheppard (speaker), Inspector Davis (speaker), John Parker
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

After Roger Ackroyd is found murdered in his study, the local police force begins investigating the crime. Inspector Davis arrives at the scene and immediately begins taking witness statements and gathering evidence. He quickly decides that the most likely suspect is John Parker, the butler: Parker seemed nervous when Davis began asking him questions about his whereabouts, and he may have a financial motive for the crime.

The passage illustrates the difference between the way the police conduct their investigation and the way Hercule Poirot conducts his. Inspector Davis has many cases, and he’s under pressure to arrest someone soon. Therefore, he has a bad habit of jumping to conclusions early on, and then assembling the evidence to support his hypothesis. Poirot, on the other hand, doesn’t voice any particular hypothesis until he’s well into his investigation: he keeps an open mind.

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"Parker!" said my sister. "Fiddlesticks! That inspector must be a perfect fool. Parker indeed! Don't tell me."

Related Characters: Caroline Sheppard (speaker), John Parker, Inspector Davis
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

Throughout The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Caroline acts as a sort of “voice of the reader.” She’s an incorrigible gossip, but she’s strikingly well informed about what’s happening in her village; she’s also fascinated by the murder investigation, even though she has no particular relationship with Roger Ackroyd or his family. In short, Caroline is, in many ways, the ideal reader of an Agatha Christie novel. So it’s no surprise that, in this passage, she voices an opinion that any loyal Christie fan will have formed already: there’s no way the butler did it. By the 1920s, when Christie wrote many of her most famous books, the ending that “the butler did it” had become such a cliché in that self-respecting mystery novelists avoided it at all costs. Caroline’s observation adds a meta-fictional element to the text—it’s as if Caroline is reading the novel along with readers, and commenting on the plot.

Chapter 7 Quotes

"It is completely unimportant," said Poirot. "That is why it is so interesting," he added softly.

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker)
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

Hercule Poirot begins to investigate the murder of Roget Ackroyd at the request of Flora Ackroyd. His methods are strikingly different from those of Inspector Davis and Inspector Raglan: he studies the scene of the crime and notes many small, seemingly irrelevant details. One such detail is a chair that, apparently, has been moved a few inches at some point between the discovery of the body and the arrival of the police. When Sheppard asks Poirot why he’s spending so much time thinking about something as seemingly unimportant as the chair’s placement, Poirot explains that he’s focusing on the chair because it’s so unimportant.

Poirot’s observation should ring true for fans of mystery novels. In the typical mystery novel, there’s a lot of seemingly irrelevant information that turns out to be very important. So from the perspective of Poirot, as well as Christie’s readers, the chair is very important to the investigation precisely because it seems irrelevant.

Chapter 8 Quotes

He looked ridiculously full of his own importance. It crossed my mind to wonder whether he was really any good as a detective. Had his big reputation been built up on a series of lucky chances?

Related Characters: Dr. James Sheppard (speaker), Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”)
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

Early on, Dr. Sheppard has some doubts about Hercule Poirot’s abilities. He knows that Poirot is famous for his detecting powers, but Poirot seems like an amateur at first. He doesn’t offer any elaborate deductions or sophisticated theories about the case; in fact, he admits that he has no idea who killed Roger.

Sheppard doesn't realize that Poirot’s slow, deliberate pace is his greatest asset as a detective. While the police are under pressure to end the investigation soon, Poirot can afford to take his time and, crucially, get to know the suspects well enough to judge them from a psychological perspective. Poirot doesn’t offer a solution to the case immediately, and that’s what makes him a first-rate sleuth.

Chapter 9 Quotes

"Look inside," commanded Poirot.
I did so. Inside was an inscription in fine writing:
From R., March 13th.

Related Characters: Dr. James Sheppard (speaker), Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker)
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 9, Hercule Poirot discovers a gold wedding ring in a muddy goldfish pond outside the Ackroyd house. The discovery of the ring is important for a few reasons: 1) It creates a new mystery in need of a solution: who “R” is (and there are at least three important characters in the novel who qualify: Ralph Paton, Geoffrey Raymond, and Roger Ackroyd himself); 2) Poirot shows the ring to Dr. Sheppard, showing that Poirot has come to think of Sheppard as a partner and friend, even if he doesn’t trust Sheppard completely; 3) It emphasizes the occasionally gimmicky, plot twist-heavy nature of Christie’s novels (since it’s pretty implausible that Poirot would find the ring almost as soon as he arrives at the Ackroyd estate).

Chapter 12 Quotes

I believe that when we find the explanation of that telephone call we shall find the explanation of the murder.

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker)
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:

As Hercule Poirot begins to investigate the murder of Roger Ackroyd, there’s one thing that perplexes him in particular: the phone call that Dr. Sheppard received on the night of Ackroyd’s murder, informing him (so Sheppard claims) that Roger has been killed. Poirot is so confused by the call that he claims that, when he understands why the call was made, the case will be solved.

Poirot’s comment can be taken in a number of ways. Since the phone call is the most baffling part of the case, it seems logical to assume that it’ll be the last thing that Poirot will come to understand. However, Poirot reveals at the end of the novel that he began his investigation by thinking about what could have prompted the phone call, eventually arriving at the conclusion that the call was a fiction, designed by Dr. Sheppard to give him an excuse to return to the Ackroyd house and retrieve the dictaphone.

“Every one of you in this room is concealing something from me.” He raised his hand as a faint murmur of protest arose. “Yes, yes, I know what I am saying. It may be something unimportant—trivial—which is supposed to have no bearing on the case, but there it is. Each one of you has something to hide.”

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker)
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:

Halfway through the novel, Poirot tells a room full of suspects that they’re hiding something from him—and that he’ll determine what they’re hiding soon enough.

Poirot’s observation is one of the most important quotations in the novel, because it emphasizes Christie’s point that everybody has secrets—some bigger than others. Poirot has promised to solve the mystery of Roger Ackroyd’s murder, and as he’s stated, the only way for him to do so it to “leave no stone unturned.” In practice, this means that Poirot must uncover every secret, even if it’s ultimately irrelevant to the murder (and the only way for Poirot to determine if a secret really is irrelevant is to collect everybody’s secrets and parse through them).

Chapter 13 Quotes

“It is a theory that,” admitted Poirot. “Decidedly you have cells of a kind. But it leaves a good deal unaccounted for.”
“Such as—”
“The telephone call, the pushed-out chair—“

Related Characters: Dr. James Sheppard (speaker), Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker)
Related Symbols: “Little Grey Cells”
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 13, after days of investigating, Hercule Poirot finally begins to construct a theory of how the murder was committed. He begins by asking his partner, Dr. Sheppard, for his own theory of the murder; Sheppard proceeds to give a fairly obvious, straightforward explanation for the murder, in which Ralph visited Ackroyd around 9:30, left the door open, and (presumably by mistake) allowed the killer to enter and kill Ackroyd. Poirot points out that Sheppard’s theory is plausible, but that it leaves out some important pieces of information.

Poirot’s observation is interesting because it suggests the way that he constructs his own hypotheses for how a crime was committed. When some people form a hypothesis, they cherry-pick evidence that supports a position they’re already predisposed to believe, omitting evidence that contradicts their idea. On the other hand, Poirot’s explanation for a crime explains everything—even minute details like a chair being moved or a phone call being made. This explains why Poirot’s investigations tend to take a long time—he needs to study all the evidence in order to construct one perfect, all-encompassing theory.

Chapter 14 Quotes

"He wants to know whether Ralph Paton's boots were black or brown," said Caroline with tremendous solemnity.

Related Characters: Caroline Sheppard (speaker), Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”), Ralph Paton
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Caroline Sheppard explains to her brother, Dr. Sheppard, that Hercule Poirot has tasked her with determining the color of Ralph Paton’s boots (left in his room at the local inn). Neither Caroline nor Dr. Sheppard can understand why Poirot would care about the color of the boots. However, Caroline proceeds to determine the color, using her network of gossips and family friends, in less than one day.

The passage is a good illustration of how Poirot uses the power of gossip to solve the crime: he knows that Caroline is one of the best-informed people in the village, and that he can usually trust her information. Furthermore, the passage suggests how Poirot sometimes misleads his suspects—in order to ensure that Dr. Sheppard doesn't follow his investigation too closely, Poirot obscures the real issue he’s trying to investigate (whether Ralph had boots at all) and pretend to care about another issue (the color of the boots). This confirms that Poirot, contrary to his claims of close friendship with Sheppard, is working on his own and, perhaps, beginning to distrust Sheppard.

Chapter 15 Quotes

"'What was the point of that question about the glasses?" I asked curiously.
Poirot shrugged his shoulders. "One must say something," he remarked. "That particular question did as well as any other."

Related Characters: Dr. James Sheppard (speaker), Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker), John Parker
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 15, Hercule Poirot once again misleads his suspects, tricking Flora Ackroyd into divulging information she would never have given up voluntarily. He pretends to need Flora’s help in testing whether or not it’s possible to hear a voice from the terrace outside Fernly, when in reality he’s trying to test whether or not John Parker, the butler, actually saw Flora emerging from the study at 9:50. He deduces that Flora didn’t actually go into Roger’s study—she only pretending to do so in order to give herself an alibi for stealing money from Roger’s desk. At the end of his experiment, Poirot asks Parker a question about the whiskey glasses that he brought by the study on the night of the murder. He asked this question, he later admits to Sheppard, not because he cared about the answer but because he wanted to obscure his real reason for conducting the experiment. In a sense, Poirot is conducting two different investigations: one private, one public. He often pretends to be investigating one issue when, in reality, he’s interested in something completely different, and is just trying to throw suspects off the scent or force them to divulge information they would otherwise try to hide.

Chapter 17 Quotes

Let us take a man—a very ordinary man. A man with no idea of murder in his heart. There is in him somewhere a strain of weakness—deep down. It has so far never been called into play. Perhaps it never will be—and if so he will go to his grave honored and respected by everyone. But let us suppose that something occurs. He is in difficulties—or perhaps not that even. He may stumble by accident on a secret—a secret involving life or death to someone. And his first impulse will be to speak out—to do his duty as an honest citizen. And then the strain of weakness tells.

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker)
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Hercule Poirot gives a profile of Roger Ackroyd’s killer. The killer, he posits, is an ordinary, likeable person, also possessed of a rather ordinary weakness, yet who finds himself in a situation where that weakness corrupts him and leads him even to murder. Caroline believes that Poirot is talking about Ralph Paton, the prime suspect in the murder. But in retrospect, it’s clear that Poirot is talking about Dr. Sheppard—an ordinary man who’s blackmailed Mrs. Ferrars in order to make up for his bad investments, and then has to kill Ackroyd in order to keep the blackmailing a secret and protect his reputation.

The passage shows, at least in retrospect, that Poirot has begun to doubt Dr. Sheppard’s innocence. He treated Sheppard like a dear friend—a successor to Captain Hastings, his usual sidekick—but in fact, he suspects that Sheppard isn’t what he seems.

In a larger sense, the passage also supports an overarching theme of the book—the fact that everyone has the capacity for violence. Even seemingly “ordinary” people, when placed in a certain situation, are capable of murder. And it is Poirot’s ability to recognize this—and even to empathize with it in a way—that makes him so successful as a detective.

Chapter 19 Quotes

Blunt ignored my well-meant offers. He spoke to Poirot. “D’you really think—” he began, and stopped.
He is one of those inarticulate men who find it hard to put things into words.
Poirot knows no such disability. “If you doubt me, ask her yourself, monsieur.”

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker), Major Hector Blunt (speaker), Flora Ackroyd
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, Flora Ackroyd has just confessed to stealing money from her uncle, Roger Ackroyd. Major Hector Blunt, who’s heard Flora’s confession, then volunteers to take the blame for the theft: he tells Poirot that he’ll swear in front of a judge that he stole the money. Poirot proceeds to tell Blunt that it’s obvious that Blunt loves Flora—and, further, it seems that Flora has feelings for Blunt as well. The passage is interesting because it shows Poirot going above and beyond his duties as a detective. He’s interested in solving the case, but he’s also interested in studying human nature itself. Therefore, Poirot has been observing Blunt and Flora for some time now, and he’s formed a conclusion about their potential romantic attachment. In all, the passage is a good example of Poirot’s holistic, psychologically rigorous style of detection, and a reminder that he studies people first and foremost, not crimes.

Chapter 20 Quotes

It occurred to me that there was not much which escaped Hercule Poirot.

Related Characters: Dr. James Sheppard (speaker), Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”)
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 20, it’s revealed that Miss Russell has an illegitimate son: Charles Kent (the mysterious stranger who Dr. Sheppard met in the early chapters of the book). Poirot has been suspicious of some connection between Russell and Kent, since there was a goose quill (used to consume heroin) at the Ackroyd summerhouse, and since Miss Russell asked Dr. Sheppard about drug use in her medical appointment. Sheppard is impressed with Poirot’s intelligence and powers of deduction.

The passage shows how greatly Sheppard has altered his opinion of Poirot in the course of one week: initially, Sheppard thought of Poirot as an arrogant, ridiculous detective with an over-hyped reputation, but now he realizes that Poirot is a brilliant, methodical man who pores over the facts in order to reach the right conclusion. Poirot is slower than the police, but that’s only because he considers all the evidence. There is, in short, very little that escapes him—and the quotation also foreshadow the fact that Dr. Sheppard himself will be unable to “escape” Poirot’s detection.

Chapter 22 Quotes

“It says that Ralph has been arrested. So everything is useless. I need not pretend any longer.”
“Newspaper paragraphs are not always true, mademoiselle,” murmured Poirot, having the grace to look ashamed of himself, “All the same, I think you will do well to make a clean breast of things. The truth is what we need now.”

Related Characters: Dr. James Sheppard (speaker), Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker), Ursula Bourne / Ursula Paton (speaker), Ralph Paton
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 22, Poirot has arranged for a fake news story to be planted in the local paper, claiming that Ralph Paton has been arrested by the police. He plants the story in order to convince the suspects (some of whom are hiding information about Ralph) to come forward and tell the truth. Sure enough, Poirot’s stratagem works, and Ursula Bourne confesses that she is married to Ralph Paton: previously, she was afraid to tell the truth because she’d be revealing a possible motive for killing Roger (Roger had found out about her marriage to Ralph on the same day he was murdered, and was furious). The passage shows the lengths to which Poirot will go in order to solve a crime: his devotion to discovering the truth is so great that he’s willing to lie to newspaper readers for the “greater good” of solving the case.

Chapter 24 Quotes

I invent a nephew with mental trouble. I consult Mademoiselle Sheppard as to suitable homes. She gives me the names of two near Cranchester to which her brother has sent patients. I make inquiries. Yes, at one of them a patient was brought there by the doctor himself early on Saturday morning.

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker), Dr. James Sheppard, Caroline Sheppard
Page Number: 268
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 24, Poirot discloses some of his investigative methods to a roomful of suspects. For example, he explains how he began to suspect Dr. Sheppard of some kind of wrongdoing. In order to discover what Sheppard was hiding, Poirot invented a nephew with mental problems, and asked Caroline to help him find an appropriate hospital for the nephew. Naturally, Caroline suggested the hospitals where Dr. Sheppard had visited most recently—which is, of course, exactly what Poirot wanted her to do. In one hospital, Poirot discovered Ralph Paton in hiding.

There are three things to notice about the passage. First, it reminds readers of how Poirot likes to mislead characters, telling them that he needs their help with a specific task when, in reality, he’s trying to learn something entirely different. Second, the passage confirms that Poirot has doubted Dr. Sheppard’s innocence for a long time, even after he continues to refer to Dr. Sheppard as a loyal friend. Finally, the passage shows how Poirot solves the mystery by enlisting Caroline Sheppard’s vast supply of information about the other characters (especially her brother).

Chapter 25 Quotes

“A person who was at the Three Boars earlier that day, a person who knew Ackroyd well enough to know that he had purchased a dictaphone, a person who was of a mechanical turn of mind, who had the opportunity to take the dagger from the silver table before Miss Flora arrived, who had with him a receptacle suitable for hiding the dictaphone—such as a black bag—and who had the study to himself for a few minutes after the crime was discovered while Parker was telephoning for the police. In fact—Dr. Sheppard!”

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker), Dr. James Sheppard, Roger Ackroyd, Flora Ackroyd
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of Chapter 25, Poirot reveals who the real killer is: Dr. Sheppard. This might not seem like much of a “twist” by 21st century standards (and probably, some readers of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd will have figured out that Sheppard before this point), but in the 1920s, this was a shocking, instantly notorious ending. At the time, mystery novels were often narrated by flat, peripheral characters who, by virtue of the fact that they narrated the novel in the first person, weren’t considered suspects in the crime. Christie subverts the conventions of the mystery novel by making the narrator and the killer by the same person. And since this surprise twist, there have been many novels featuring unreliable narrators who turn out to be criminals of some kind—Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and London Fields by Martin Amis are both excellent examples.

Part of the fun of reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is going back and seeing how cleverly Sheppard (or rather, Christie) has concealed the twist ending. Sheppard is a reliable narrator in the sense that every event he describes in the novel is the truth. However, Sheppard omits important pieces of information—for example, he describes leaving Roger Ackroyd’s study ten minutes after Ackroyd receives a letter, making it unclear what happened in those ten intervening minutes (apparently, he spent them murdering Roger Ackroyd and then framing Ralph Paton for the crime). By subverting the rules of detective fiction and introducing the unreliable narrator—a staple of Modernist literature of the era—Agatha Christie changed her genre forever.

Chapter 26 Quotes

Remember what I said—the truth goes to Inspector Raglan in the morning. But, for the sake of your good sister, I am willing to give you the chance of another way out. There might be, for instance, an overdose of a sleeping draught.

Related Characters: Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) (speaker), Dr. James Sheppard, Caroline Sheppard, Inspector Raglan
Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 26, Poirot has revealed to Dr. Sheppard that he knows Sheppard is the murderer. However, Poirot doesn’t go to the police right away. Instead, he gives Sheppard a way out: in order to protect Caroline, Sheppard’s sister, Poirot will allow Sheppard to kill himself. Then, it’s strongly implied, Poirot will tell Inspector Raglan of the police what he knows, and Raglan will keep the findings of the investigation a secret, so as not to cause grief to Caroline, who loves Sheppard and would be shocked to learn that he’s a murderer.

The passage is the final example of how Poirot distinguishes between law and ethics. In contrast to a regular police detective, Poirot doesn’t adhere to society’s rules for the sake of convention: he intends to bring Sheppard to justice, but he feels no obligation to ensure that Sheppard stands before a judge and goes to prison (and, it would seem, he’s going to convince Inspector Raglan that allowing Sheppard to die in his sleep is the “right thing”). This might suggest that Poirot, in spite of his commitment to discovering the truth, is also conscious of the effect that truth can have on other people. Revealing that Dr. Sheppard is the killer might bring the investigation to a close, but it would also cause Caroline a lot of grief. Thus, the novel comes to an ironic conclusion: throughout the book, Poirot has depended on Caroline’s gossip and extensive knowledge of the village, but now, he’s going to keep the results of the investigation a secret from her. (And how successful this endeavor could possibly be remains in question—it seems unlikely that Caroline and the other people close to Roger and Sheppard would simply accept that no murderer was found, or that Sheppard’s death was unrelated to the case.)