The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) Character Analysis

Hercule Poirot is the detective at the center of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, as well as many other Agatha Christie stories, novels, and plays. A brilliant, often arrogant Belgian with a flair for the dramatic, Poirot can sometimes be irritating to the people around him—his flamboyant continental style clashes with the English characters’ simplicity and directness. Nevertheless, Poirot repeatedly proves himself to be a first-rate detective. He’s an excellent researcher, who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty to solve a case; however, his greatest strength is arguably his ability to think psychologically, sizing up his suspects’ personalities and assessing their precise motives for committing a crime. Poirot isn’t above bending the rules to solve his crime—in the novel, he convinces Dr. Sheppard to talk about his private medical conversations with a suspect, and he also posts a false story in the newspaper. Like many fictional detectives, Poirot isn’t motivated by money, or by any concrete reward for his ingenuity; rather, he seems to take on cases because of an abstract, philosophical interest in human behavior and a general desire to solve puzzles that seem inscrutable to others. At the end of the novel, Poirot deduces that Dr. Sheppard is the murderer, but, interestingly, doesn’t turn Sheppard over to the police, instead allowing Sheppard to settle his affairs and die by his own hand. This is another sign that Poirot is more interested in bringing his investigation to psychological closure than in enforcing the law.

Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) Quotes in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The The Murder of Roger Ackroyd quotes below are all either spoken by Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) or refer to Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Secrecy and the Universal Capacity for Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the William Morrow edition of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd published in 2011.
Chapter 3 Quotes

"It is Fate," he said at last.
"What is Fate?" I asked irritably.
"That I should live next to a man who seriously considers Porcupine Oilfields, and also West Australian Gold Mines. Tell me, have you also a penchant for auburn hair?"

Related Characters: Dr. James Sheppard (speaker), Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”)
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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“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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Chapter 23 Quotes

“I congratulate you—on your modesty!”
“Oh!” I said, rather taken aback.
“And on your reticence,” he added.

I said “Oh!” again.

“Not so did Hastings write,” continued my friend. “On every page, many, many times was the word ‘I’. What he thought—what he did. But you—you have kept your personality in the background; only once or twice does it obtrude—in scenes of home life, shall we say?”

Related Characters: Dr. James Sheppard (speaker), Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”)
Page Number: 255
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) Character Timeline in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The timeline below shows where the character Hercule Poirot (“Mr. Porrot”) appears in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: The Man Who Grew Vegetable Marrows
Secrecy and the Universal Capacity for Violence Theme Icon
Gossip and Small Town Life Theme Icon
...Sheppard thinks about the foreigner who has moved in next door. His name is “ Mr. Porrott ,” and neither he nor Caroline has been able to learn anything whatsoever about him.... (full context)
Secrecy and the Universal Capacity for Violence Theme Icon
...a vegetable marrow (a kind of squash) whizzes by his head. A moment later, “ Mr. Porrott ” appears. He apologizes: he’s been cultivating vegetables for months, and is furious that they... (full context)
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Mr. Porrott explains to Dr. Sheppard that he’s come to live in the village because his old... (full context)
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Mr. Porrott asks Dr. Sheppard if he can name someone, based on Porrott’s description: dark hair, very... (full context)
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Dr. Sheppard leaves Mr. Porrott and goes inside his house; Caroline has just come home. She tells Dr. Sheppard that... (full context)
Chapter 7: I Learn My Neighbor’s Profession
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...him that Flora Ackroyd wants to see him. Flora explains that Sheppard’s neighbor is Hercule Poirot, the famous detective. Flora has heard that Poirot retired, but she wants to persuade him—with... (full context)
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Dr. Sheppard and Flora go to visit Hercule Poirot. Poirot has heard about the murder, and offers his services to Flora. He insists that... (full context)
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Poirot then asks Sheppard to explain what he knows about the case. Sheppard explains the events... (full context)
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Poirot suggests that he and Dr. Sheppard go to the police. There, Sheppard introduces Poirot to... (full context)
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Inspector Raglan informs Poirot and Dr. Sheppard that he’s tested the fingerprints on the knife blade—they don’t belong to... (full context)
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Poirot goes with Melrose and Dr. Sheppard to examine the study, which the police haven’t disturbed.... (full context)
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Poirot tells Dr. Sheppard something he’s noticed during his career: in all cases, all the suspects... (full context)
Chapter 8: Inspector Raglan Is Confident
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...through every day. Why, Colonel Melrose wonders, would anyone call Sheppard? “When we know that,” Poirot says, “we shall know everything.” (full context)
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Poirot suggests that Colonel Melrose summon Raymond and Parker. Poirot asks Raymond if he moved the... (full context)
Secrecy and the Universal Capacity for Violence Theme Icon
Detection and Intellect Theme Icon
...lawyer), arrives to speak with Raymond about Roger Ackroyd’s affairs. Raymond nods and leaves, and Poirot notes, “He had the air efficient, that one.” Poirot asks Colonel Melrose some questions about... (full context)
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Poirot asks one more thing before he leaves—to see the silver table. In the drawing room,... (full context)
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...was upstairs after 9:45, and Parker went to the pantry, where Miss Russell saw him. Poirot examines Raglan’s list and says, “I am quite sure that Parker did not do the... (full context)
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Raglan tries to convince Poirot by comparing Ralph’s shoes with the windowsill shoeprints. They’re identical, but Poirot points out that... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Goldfish Pond
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Poirot and Dr. Sheppard walk back from the summerhouse. By this time Inspector Raglan has gone.... (full context)
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Poirot and Dr. Sheppard then walk to a small goldfish pond. There, they notice Flora and... (full context)
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 Poirot and Dr. Sheppard emerge from where they’ve been eavesdropping, and greet Flora and Major Blunt.... (full context)
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Poirot next asks Flora about the dagger, and she insists that, when she looked at the... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Parlormaid
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Inside the house, Dr. Sheppard, Poirot, Flora, and Major Blunt meet Mr. Hammond, who’s been speaking with Mrs. Ackroyd. Mrs. Ackroyd... (full context)
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Poirot then pulls Dr. Sheppard aside and gives him instructions: he wants Sheppard to bring up... (full context)
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...drawer. Inspector Raglan, who’s in the house asking more questions, goes with Raymond, Sheppard, and Poirot to search the desk. The money is still in the desk but, much to Raymond’s... (full context)
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In the housekeeper’s room, Inspector Raglan, Dr. Sheppard, and Poirot speak with Miss Russell about Elsie Dale. Russell explains that Elsie would never have stolen... (full context)
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...explain why Roger had such a lengthy talk with Ursula about how she arranged them. Poirot points out that Ursula is one of the only suspects without an alibi—and yet she... (full context)
Chapter 11: Poirot Pays a Call
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Back at home, Caroline informs Dr. Sheppard that Poirot has dropped by. He talked about his “little grey cells,” and asked Caroline questions about... (full context)
Chapter 12: Round the Table
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...suggests that he may have made the call to throw the police off the scent. Poirot repeats: “When we find the explanation of that telephone call we shall find the explanation... (full context)
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The conversation turns to the fingerprints on the knife. Poirot believes that they’ll lead nowhere useful. Fingerprint records suggest that none of the people in... (full context)
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Poirot proposes to Dr. Sheppard that they meet with the “family.” Later that day, they meet... (full context)
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Suddenly Poirot tells the people in the room, “Every one of you in this room is concealing... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Goose Quill
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That evening, Dr. Sheppard goes to Poirot’s home for dinner. Poirot asks about Caroline, and Sheppard demands to know why Poirot visited... (full context)
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Poirot, noticing that Sheppard is impatient, says that Sheppard is like “the little child who wants... (full context)
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Suddenly Poirot produces the quill that he found in the summerhouse. Dr. Sheppard remembers having heard about... (full context)
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Poirot asks Dr. Sheppard for his thoughts. Dr. Sheppard produces a scrap of paper on which... (full context)
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Poirot notes that Sheppard’s theory doesn’t explain everything. It doesn’t explain the pushed-out chair, or the... (full context)
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Poirot also wants to know what Dr. Sheppard thinks of the motive for murder. Sheppard points... (full context)
Chapter 14: Mrs. Ackroyd
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After Dr. Sheppard’s conversation with Poirot, he begins to see how much information Poirot has concealed. He showed Sheppard the objects... (full context)
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...that Sheppard finds ridiculous. He prescribes a tonic. Mrs. Ackroyd continues to complain—first about how Poirot has “bullied” her, and then about how Flora should have consulted her before hiring Poirot.... (full context)
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...if she could speak with him. Mrs. Ackroyd begs Sheppard to present this information to Poirot in a favorable light. Dr. Sheppard can sense that Mrs. Ackroyd has more to say—intuitively,... (full context)
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When Dr. Sheppard comes home, his sister tells him that Poirot asked her to determine if Ralph Paton’s boots, which he left at the Three Boars,... (full context)
Chapter 15: Geoffrey Raymond
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...Sheppard comes home, and Caroline informs him that Geoffrey Raymond has left—he was looking for Poirot. Poirot has just returned to his home, Caroline adds. She suggests that Sheppard go over... (full context)
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At Poirot’s house, Sheppard presents Poirot with the jam and tells him about his conversation with Mrs.... (full context)
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Poirot asks Sheppard about his appointment with Miss Russell. Sheppard tells Poirot that, after the confidential... (full context)
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Raymond arrives at Poirot’s house, explaining that he’s anxious to catch Poirot. He has a confession to make: before... (full context)
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Sheppard suggests that Roger Ackroyd’s killer wasn’t Mrs. Ferrars’s blackmailer. Poirot agrees, suggesting that Parker may have been the blackmailer but not the killer, and may... (full context)
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At Fernly, Poirot and Sheppard greet Flora, and Poirot tells her that they’re going to test Parker’s innocence.... (full context)
Chapter 16: An Evening at Mah Jong
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...is hiding out in Cranchester, the nearest big town. Based on a passing remark that Poirot made in her presence the other day, she thinks that Ralph left the village on... (full context)
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...now ask Dr. Sheppard for his own theories about the murder, but Sheppard claims that Poirot hasn’t shared any information with him. Suddenly, he notices that he’s been dealt the perfect... (full context)
Chapter 17: Parker
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...sharing information. He goes to the funeral of Mrs. Ferrars and Roger Ackroyd, afraid that Poirot will reproach him for spreading information. At the funeral, Poirot doesn’t reproach him, but only... (full context)
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At Fernly, Poirot and Dr. Sheppard greet Parker. Poirot asks Parker if he’s ever blackmailed someone, and Parker... (full context)
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Alone, Poirot tells Dr. Sheppard that he believes Parker: Parker wasn’t the killer, and he sincerely thought... (full context)
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Dr. Sheppard and Poirot visit Mr. Hammond to inquire about Mrs. Ferrars. Sheppard recaps his conversation with Roger Ackroyd... (full context)
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Dr. Sheppard invites Poirot to his home. There, Caroline asks Poirot if he’s found Ralph Paton in Cranchester. Poirot... (full context)
Chapter 18: Charles Kent
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In Liverpool, Dr. Sheppard and Poirot meet with Inspector Raglan, who wants Sheppard to identify Charles Kent. When Raglan first sees... (full context)
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Raglan brings Dr. Sheppard and Poirot to meet Charles Kent. Kent is a young man, and as Sheppard stares at him,... (full context)
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Alone, Poirot, Raglan, and Dr. Sheppard discuss the possibility that Charles Kent was the blackmailer. However, Raglan... (full context)
Chapter 19: Flora Ackroyd
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...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... (full context)
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Raglan and Dr. Sheppard visit Poirot, and Poirot listens patiently to Raglan’s news. He tells Raglan not to release Charles Kent... (full context)
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Inspector Raglan, Dr. Sheppard, and Poirot agree to speak to Flora. At Fernly, they find Flora with Major Hector Blunt. Flora... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 20: Miss Russell
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Dr. Sheppard returns to his office and later goes home. There, Caroline tells him that Poirot is waiting for him. Poirot informs Sheppard that he’s arranged for Miss Russell to come... (full context)
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Poirot and Dr. Sheppard leave for Sheppard’s office, where they find Miss Russell. Poirot informs Russell... (full context)
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Miss Russell leaves the room, and Dr. Sheppard tells Poirot that her testimony suggests that Ralph Paton is the murderer. Poirot reveals that he’d already... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Paragraph in the Paper
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...make sure Ralph isn’t convicted. She also tells Sheppard she saw a mysterious man enter Poirot’s home earlier that morning—Caroline guesses that it was a Home Office expert. Poirot then visits... (full context)
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...Flora had “some kind of understanding” with Geoffrey Raymond. Bemused, Sheppard invites Mrs. Ackroyd to Poirot’s home. (full context)
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Dr. Sheppard rejoins Poirot and walks home, where they find Caroline, who tells them that Ursula Bourne has come... (full context)
Chapter 22: Ursula’s Story
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Ursula—who Poirot has just called “Ursula Paton”—begins to weep. Caroline embraces her, murmuring, “there, there.” Ursula says... (full context)
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Ursula proceeds to tell Dr. Sheppard, Caroline, and Poirot what she’s been hiding. While working as a parlormaid for the Ackroyds, she fell in... (full context)
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...Roger before he could cut Ralph (and, in effect, Ursula herself) out of his will. Poirot then asks Ursula at what time she left Ralph in the summerhouse. Ursula answers that... (full context)
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Poirot asks Ursula where she went after 9:45. Ursula claims she went to bed, but also... (full context)
Chapter 23: Poirot’s Little Reunion
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Ursula tells Poirot that she should go back to Fernly now, but Caroline insists that she stay in... (full context)
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When Ursula and Caroline are out of the room, Dr. Sheppard tells Poirot that the case against Ralph Paton is looking strong. Poirot agrees, and mentions offhandedly that... (full context)
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A while later, Poirot finishes the manuscript and compliments Dr. Sheppard on his modesty. He says that while Hastings... (full context)
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In Poirot’s home, Dr. Sheppard sees that he’s arranged the guests’ chairs so that they’re bathed in... (full context)
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Poirot clears his throat, signaling for everyone to sit down. Everyone is here: John Parker, Mrs.... (full context)
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Poirot began his investigation with the shoeprints on the windowsill of Roger Ackroyd’s study, with Dr.... (full context)
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There was one problem, Poirot continues: the times didn’t work out. Ursula couldn’t have been in the summerhouse before 9:30,... (full context)
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Who, Poirot wondered, was in the study with Roger Ackroyd at 9:30? Poirot then began to wonder... (full context)
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Raymond compliments Poirot, but points out that Ralph still seems to be a prime suspect. Poirot smiles and... (full context)
Chapter 24: Ralph Paton’s Story
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Ralph Paton stands beside Ursula, smiling at Dr. Sheppard. Poirot points at Sheppard and says, “Have I not told you at least thirty-six times that... (full context)
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Poirot reveals that he’d been suspicious of Dr. Sheppard ever since he learned that Sheppard visited... (full context)
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Poirot explains that Dr. Sheppard hid Ralph in a nursing home for the mentally ill. Poirot... (full context)
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...kill Roger Ackroyd. Raymond says that he believes Ralph, but adds that the police won’t. Poirot then announces why he’s brought everyone here tonight: he knows that the murderer is somewhere... (full context)
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Just then, Poirot’s Breton maid enters the room, carrying a telegram. Poirot reads the telegram and nods—now, he... (full context)
Chapter 25: The Whole Truth
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Still no one confesses, and eventually the guests head home, but Poirot gestures for Dr. Sheppard to remain behind. Alone, Poirot asks Dr. Sheppard what he thought... (full context)
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Poirot says he began by considering Dr. Sheppard’s telephone call: if Ralph Paton had really been... (full context)
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Poirot next considered the chair pulled out from the wall. The chair blocked the window so... (full context)
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Poirot next turned to the object on the table, which, after calling the company, he guessed... (full context)
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Poirot next considered the shoeprints. There were three possibilities: 1) They were made by Ralph Paton;... (full context)
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So the murderer, Poirot now tells Dr. Sheppard, must have been at the Three Boars earlier in the day... (full context)
Chapter 26: And Nothing But the Truth
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Poirot has just accused Dr. Sheppard of killing Roger Ackroyd. Dr. Sheppard laughs and says that... (full context)
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...Sheppard protests that he had nothing to gain by killing Roger Ackroyd. On the contrary, Poirot guesses, Sheppard killed Roger to protect himself. He blackmailed Mrs. Ferrars, having gone into debt... (full context)
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Dr. Sheppard tells Poirot that he’s weary of Poirot’s lecture. However, Poirot reminds Sheppard that he’ll tell Inspector Raglan... (full context)
Chapter 27: Apologia
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...same way. He concludes, “I have no pity for myself,” but adds, “I wish Hercule Poirot had never retired from work and come here to grow vegetable marrows.” (full context)