The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Ralph Paton is the young, handsome son of Ms. Paton, Roger Ackroyd’s first wife. He has a reputation for being dashing and charming, but also a little weak-willed. As the novel begins, Ralph is rumored to be engaged to Flora Ackroyd, whom he’s known for most of his life (but to whom he’s not biologically related in any way). After Roger’s murder, Ralph disappears, instantly making him a suspect in the case. Throughout the novel, most of the characters seem to believe that Ralph is the killer: he had a motive (he hated Roger, and always had to convince him to lend him more money). However, as Caroline Sheppard points out, Ralph can’t be the killer—it’s just too easy and too obvious.

Ralph Paton Quotes in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The The Murder of Roger Ackroyd quotes below are all either spoken by Ralph Paton or refer to Ralph Paton. 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:
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). 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 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 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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Ralph Paton Character Timeline in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The timeline below shows where the character Ralph Paton appears in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Who’s Who in King’s Abbot
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...a dipsomaniac (i.e., alcoholic), and she drank herself to death. Roger raised Paton’s biological child, Ralph, a handsome, “wild lad.” (full context)
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...seemed normal. Then he remembers that he saw her yesterday when she was walking with Ralph Paton. It was in this moment, Sheppard now recalls, that he began to feel a... (full context)
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...need to talk, and invites him for dinner at 7:30. Sheppard blurts out, “Is it Ralph?” Roger claims that Ralph is in London, and—seeing that a busybody named Miss Gannett is... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Man Who Grew Vegetable Marrows
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...Sheppard tells Caroline that he’ll be dining with Roger Ackroyd that night. Caroline says that Ralph has been staying at the local inn, and Sheppard doesn’t question her—he trusts Caroline for... (full context)
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...based on Porrott’s description: dark hair, very handsome. Sheppard immediately concludes that Porrott is describing Ralph Paton. Porrott explains that he knows Roger Ackroyd from London, and has asked Ackroyd to... (full context)
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...home. She tells Dr. Sheppard that she’s just seen Roger Ackroyd, who told her that Ralph and Flora are engaged. Caroline told Roger that Ralph was in town, and Roger seemed... (full context)
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Dr. Sheppard decides to go to the Three Boars inn, where he expects to find Ralph. Sheppard knows Ralph well, since he knew Ralph’s mother years ago. Ralph has “a strain... (full context)
Chapter 4: Dinner at Fernly
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...woman, though many people dislike her. Flora proudly shows Dr. Sheppard her engagement ring, which Ralph gave her a month previously. Flora and Ralph announced their engagement yesterday, and Roger has... (full context)
Chapter 7: I Learn My Neighbor’s Profession
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...involve Poirot. However, Flora notes that Sheppard went to the Three Boars to talk to Ralph later at night, after Roger’s body was found. Sheppard admits that he went to the... (full context)
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...visit to the Three Boars. Sheppard claims that he visited because he wanted to tell Ralph about the murder. Poirot suggests that he visited because he wanted to reassure himself that... (full context)
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...fingerprints on the knife blade—they don’t belong to Sheppard, Raymond, or Parker. Poirot asks about Ralph’s fingerprints, and Raglan insists that he’ll test them as soon as possible. He adds that... (full context)
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...Poirot also examines the shoeprints on the windowsill and finds them to be identical to Ralph Paton’s shoes. Poirot then summons Parker, and Parker recalls that the fire had burned low,... (full context)
Chapter 8: Inspector Raglan Is Confident
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...tells Poirot that he’s spoken to the people at the Three Boars, who confirm that Ralph walked toward Ackroyd’s house around 9:25. Raglan concludes that Ralph Paton is the prime suspect—he... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Goldfish Pond
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...and tells Flora that everything will be fine. Flora agrees—she’s sure that Poirot will clear Ralph’s name. (full context)
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...doesn’t believe her story—he thinks she’s just trying to make it seem less likely that Ralph committed the murder. Poirot points to the shiny object in the water and tries to... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Parlormaid
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...Hammond, who’s been speaking with Mrs. Ackroyd. Mrs. Ackroyd tells the group that she believes Ralph to have “accidentally” killed Roger. Poirot pulls the lawyer aside for a chat, and Dr.... (full context)
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...decides that tomorrow they’ll go to Marby. He admits to Sheppard that everything points to Ralph’s guilt—however, he intends to follow through on his promise to Flora to “leave no stone... (full context)
Chapter 12: Round the Table
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...about the time and cause of Roger Ackroyd’s death. The coroner notes, but doesn’t stress, Ralph Paton’s absence. Meanwhile, Inspector Raglan alerts the police in neighboring towns to Ralph’s absence. Inspector... (full context)
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...house with Raymond, Mrs. Ackroyd, Flora, and Major Blunt. Poirot first asks Flora to disclose Ralph’s location if she’s knows it, since doing so would be the best way to clear... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Goose Quill
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...like to employ the expert.” He asks why Sheppard didn’t tell him the truth about Ralph, and Sheppard doesn't answer. Sheppard asks if Poirot is suspicious of Russell, considering what she... (full context)
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...some thoughts. He notes that Roger Ackroyd was heard talking to someone around 9:30, that Ralph Paton probably came in through the window, as evidenced by his shoe prints, and that... (full context)
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...the pushed-out chair, or the missing forty pounds—however, Sheppard points out, Roger may have given Ralph the forty pounds. Poirot agrees, but points out another thing—it’s unclear why Major Blunt was... (full context)
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...Sheppard thinks of the motive for murder. Sheppard points out that money could be a motive—Ralph stood to inherit Roger’s fortune. Poirot adds that there are other motives: the blackmailer could... (full context)
Chapter 14: Mrs. Ackroyd
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...Roger, not the other way around. Ursula admits this, but also asks Dr. Sheppard about Ralph Paton, murmuring, “He ought to come back.” Finally, she asks Dr. Sheppard when the murder... (full context)
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...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, were black or brown. Caroline asks... (full context)
Chapter 16: An Evening at Mah Jong
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...fortunate. She was the last person to see Roger Ackroyd alive, and Gannett guesses that Ralph has been staying away from the village in order to draw suspicion away from Flora.... (full context)
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...the pond. The players then guess that Roger was secretly married to Mrs. Ferrars, that Ralph was married to Flora, or that Roger was married to Miss Russell. But then Caroline... (full context)
Chapter 17: Parker
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Dr. Sheppard invites Poirot to his home. There, Caroline asks Poirot if he’s found Ralph Paton in Cranchester. Poirot is surprised for a moment, but then explains that he only... (full context)
Chapter 19: Flora Ackroyd
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...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. (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 20: Miss Russell
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...shows Sheppard an article that he’s arranged to have placed in tomorrow’s paper, stating that Ralph Paton has been apprehended just as he was about to sail to America. The article... (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 suspected some connection between Russell and... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Paragraph in the Paper
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...death than she’s letting on. The next morning, the newspaper publishes the fictional story about Ralph Paton being arrested. Caroline tells Sheppard she suspected as much, and that it’s Sheppard’s duty... (full context)
Chapter 22: Ursula’s Story
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...weep. Caroline embraces her, murmuring, “there, there.” Ursula says she has read the report of Ralph’s arrest, and has decided to stop pretending. Poirot sheepishly mutters that not all newspaper stories... (full context)
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...been hiding. While working as a parlormaid for the Ackroyds, she fell in love with Ralph Paton and secretly married him—Ralph insisted that Roger would never let him marry “a penniless... (full context)
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...told the truth, people would have thought that she’d murdered Roger before he could cut Ralph (and, in effect, Ursula herself) out of his will. Poirot then asks Ursula at what... (full context)
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...Ursula could have committed the murder—a suggestion that Ursula finds terrifying. She points out that Ralph may have run away from the house after hearing about the murder and assuming that... (full context)
Chapter 23: Poirot’s Little Reunion
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...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 he wishes his friend Hastings... (full context)
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...himself will sit—in darkness. The guests arrive. Poirot introduces them to Ursula, explaining that she’s Ralph Paton’s wife. Mrs. Ackroyd is surprised. Flora tells Ursula not to worry, adding that she... (full context)
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...in drugs, discovered a ring in the pond, and, finally, learned of a conversation between Ralph Paton and a mysterious woman. Assembling the evidence, Poirot guessed that Ralph and Ursula met... (full context)
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Raymond compliments Poirot, but points out that Ralph still seems to be a prime suspect. Poirot smiles and tells the guests that he’s... (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... (full context)
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...reveals that he’d been suspicious of Dr. Sheppard ever since he learned that Sheppard visited Ralph on the night of the murder. Sheppard then decides to tell the truth. He says... (full context)
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Poirot explains that Dr. Sheppard hid Ralph in a nursing home for the mentally ill. Poirot tested his theory by inventing a... (full context)
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Ralph now tells the guests what happened to him on the night of the murder. He... (full context)
Chapter 25: The Whole Truth
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Poirot says he began by considering Dr. Sheppard’s telephone call: if Ralph Paton had really been the murderer, then there would have been no call. He then... (full context)
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Poirot next considered the shoeprints. There were three possibilities: 1) They were made by Ralph Paton; 2) They were made by someone else; 3) They were made by someone deliberately... (full context)
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...Dr. Sheppard, must have been at the Three Boars earlier in the day to steal Ralph’s shoes. He also must have had an opportunity to steal the dagger after Flora Ackroyd... (full context)
Chapter 26: And Nothing But the Truth
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...have killed Ackroyd before leaving the study. Then he must have run outside, changed into Ralph’s shoes (which he’d kept in his bag), left prints on the windowsill, and rigged the... (full context)