The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next morning, Dr. Sheppard finishes his work and finds Inspector Raglan waiting outside his home. Raglan has confirmed Charles Kent’s alibi—he was indeed at the saloon. A barmaid also remembers that he had a lot of money, suggesting that he was the one who stole the forty pounds from the drawer. However, Kent refuses to say what he did at Fernly. Raglan also mentions that Poirot has a nephew who’s “off his crumpet”—something that Caroline has told Sheppard recently. But even if Poirot, like his nephew, is “a bit barmy,” Raglan admits that Poirot gave him a good tip regarding the dagger.
Charles Kent has helped further Poirot’s investigation, but evidently he couldn’t have been the killer. The passage also includes a seemingly bizarre aside (and another example of Chekhov’s gun): the fact that Poirot has a mentally ill nephew. Raglan admits that he respects Poirot (an observation that will make the book’s finale, in which Poirot and Raglan need to work closely together, more plausible).
Themes
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
Raglan and Dr. Sheppard visit Poirot, and Poirot listens patiently to Raglan’s news. He tells Raglan not to release Charles Kent yet—he may have had something to do with the murder. Poirot then suggests that Flora may have been the one who stole the money from Roger Ackroyd’s desk. When she and Parker rehearsed their actions, Poirot discovered that Parker only saw Flora with her hand on the door—he never actually saw her coming out of the study. Perhaps she was coming down from Roger’s room and pretended to be coming from the study to hide the fact that she’d been upstairs looking for the money.
Finally, we learn the real reason why Poirot asked Parker and Flora to recreate the scene of the crime: he deceived Flora into revealing that she’d lied about her alibi. Therefore, it follows that Flora is the thief, and made up the story about wishing her uncle goodnight to hide the truth.
Themes
Detection and Intellect Theme Icon
Law vs. Ethics Theme Icon
Inspector Raglan, Dr. Sheppard, and Poirot agree to speak to Flora. At Fernly, they find Flora with Major Hector Blunt. Flora asks Blunt to stay for the questioning. Raglan asks her about her behavior on Friday night, and Poirot asks, “You took the money, did you not?” Flora admits that she did. She says she stole because she’d been desperate for money for years—Roger was always stingy with her and Ralph. Blunt mutters, “I see—always Ralph,” and Flora insists, “You don’t understand.” Flora rushes out.
When Flora admits that she took the money, she also admits that she’d resented her uncle’s stinginess and controlling behavior, suggesting that she may have had a motive for killing him. The scene also reconfirms that Blunt is attracted to Flora, hence his bitter comment, “I see—always Ralph.”
Themes
Detection and Intellect Theme Icon
Law vs. Ethics Theme Icon
Major Blunt tells Raglan that Roger gave him the forty pounds, and that Flora never touched it—and he’s prepared to say as much before a judge. Poirot tells Blunt that he’s not fooled—Blunt is protecting Flora. Clearly, Blunt loves Flora, and, Poirot suggests, he should tell her this. Poirot says that Flora only agreed to marry Ralph Paton to please Roger Ackroyd and escape her current life—she never loved him. Blunt tells Poirot, “You’re a sound fellow.” He walks out to find Flora.
In this scene Poirot doesn’t just play the part of a detective whose job is to solve a crime and move on—he also acts as an adviser of sorts for Major Blunt, who, a little surprisingly, takes Poirot’s advice without question. Poirot is a detective, but more generally speaking, he’s a student of human nature. Blunt’s awkward courting of Flora also provides some comic relief for the novel.
Themes
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
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