In the “Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” there are many characters who are trying to figure out who was behind Ms. Ferrars blackmailing and the murder of Roger Ackroyd. Not all of these characters are honest. A variety of twists and turns and unexpected events happen throughout the course of the story. Just when it appears that the murder of Roger and Mrs. Ferrars blackmailer will be solved, something else happens to throw readers off and to encourage them to look deeper into the story and become a sleuth. THESIS: Things are not always what they appear to be, due to people’s deception and secrecy.
Roger Ackroyd is the one who starts the pattern of lies and deceit. In spite of getting a letter from Mrs. Ferras that Dr. James Sheppard was the blackmailer of her and knew she had killed her husband, Roger chose to keep that news a secret for awhile. Keeping that secret ultimately killed him. The secret just continued to spin out of control from there, as many of the characters lied to protect themselves.
Dr. James Sheppard is a man who seemed to be a model citizen, but he is one of the most manipulative characters in the book. He sets up Ralph Patton by putting his footprints outside of Ackroyd’s house. Sheppard is very cunning, as he took advantage of the common knowledge that Paton was in trouble financially and had much debt. Therefore, he would have much to gain by killing Roger, who was Flora’s Uncle and a woman that he was engaged to, but not really in love with. It turns out that Roger and Flora were in love with other people, which shows the deception and secrecy in the story. Flora and Major Blunt end up getting engaged. In addition to this, Ralph and Ursula Bourne had married in secret, another area of lies and deceit. These two surprising marriages make things even more deceitful. Roger, who was wealthy could help with Ralph’s debts. That is the plan that Dr. Sheppard made it seem to be. The truth is even crazier. Even though Flora said that she said goodnight to Roger about a quarter to ten, what she really ended up doing was committing theft by stealing some cash from his bedroom. That is another instance of what things appear to be are not that way, due to people’s deceit and secrets.
Things get even crazier when Dr. Sheppard helps Ralph hide in an asylum after the murder happens. He convinces Ralph that he needs the alibi, but Sheppard only does it to get himself off the hook. However, the readers think that Ralph committed the murder and think that he really is the killer, until investigator Peirot starts to see the greater picture of things. He puts the pieces together. An innocent man named Charles Kent also initially gets arrested for the murder of Roger. He was arrested due to James Sheppard and his conniving. Sheppard said that Kent was a stranger that had been lurking around Roger Ackroyd’s house. Pierot finally guesses that Sheppard is the murderer and Sheppard prepares to take his own life.
As you can see, many of the characters such as Dr. James Sheppard, Ralph, Ursula, and Flora all lied and kept secrets. From secret marriages and bogus alibis to outright lies, characters manipulated situations and events in the story. In the end, it turned out that Dr. James Sheppard was one of the worst people of all, as he not only blackmailed Mrs. Ferras, but also killed Roger. THESIS: Things are not always what they appear to be, due to people’s deception and secrecy.