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SUMMER READING STUDY GUIDE


for The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
When school begins in August, you will be tested over the summer reading books. The purpose of this study guide is to guide your reading of the book and prepare you for the test. Be sure that you answer these questions in such a way that you can study from them. You may print this and handwrite your answers, or you may type your answers into this document.
Author: Agatha Christie

First Published: 1926

Type of Work: Murder mystery

Time of Work: The early 1920’s



Setting: King’s Abbot, an English country village
Be able to identify the following characters in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Roger Ackroyd




Flora Ackroyd




Ursula Bourne




Geoffrey Raymond




Elizabeth Russell




Dr. James Sheppard




Hercule Poirot




Mrs. Cecil Ackroyd




Ralph Paton


Major Hector Blunt





Parker




Charles Kent




Caroline Sheppard




Mrs. Ferrars





Places in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

King’s Abbot




Fernly Park




The Larches




King’s Paddock




The Summer House at Fernly Park




Three Boars Inn






Objects in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Tunisian Dagger




Dictaphone


The Ring




The Little Gray Cells




The Manuscript





Plot Questions

The following questions are intended to help guide your reading and understand the novel. Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.
Chapter 1 Dr. Sheppard at the Breakfast Table


  1. From whose residence is Dr. Sheppard returning at the very beginning of the novel?




  1. Who has died?




  1. Why is he reluctant to tell his sister Caroline about what he learned?




  1. What is Caroline’s theory about Mrs. Ferrar’s death?


Chapter 2 Who’s Who in King’s Abbot


  1. What do Mrs. Ferrars and Roger Ackroyd have in common?




  1. How is Ralph Paton related to Roger Ackroyd?




  1. Who does Sheppard remember that he saw walking closely and talking and what is suspicious about this?




  1. Who wants to meet with Dr. Sheppard?



  1. Why does Miss Russell visit Dr. Sheppard? What clues does the doctor get that makes him realize that she is NOT just there for her knee?



Chapter 3 The Man Who Grew Vegetable Marrow
** in the states, we call vegetable marrow squash


  1. How does Sheppard his new neighbor? Who is he?




  1. What does Poirot (pronounced Po-row) tell Sheppard about Ralph Paton?




  1. Who does Caroline overhear near the river? What does she hear?




  1. What does Ralph confess to Sheppard?


Chapter 4 Dinner at Fernly


  1. Where does Sheppard go at the beginning of the chapter?




  1. What does Sheppard notice about Miss Russell when he arrives at Fernly Park?




  1. What is the noise he hears?




  1. After dinner, what does Roger Ackroyd tell Dr. Sheppard?




  1. As Dr. Sheppard is leaving, whom does he run into?




  1. What phone call does Sheppard receive when he gets home?



Chapter 5 Murder


  1. Why is Parker confused when Sheppard arrives?




  1. What do they find?



  1. On the last page of this study guide, you’ll see a chart. Begin the chart now by adding any events & clues you have gathered. You will see each character and a timeline between 9pm and 10:30pm that evening. Include each character’s alibi.




Chapter 6 The Tunisian Dagger


  1. What events make Parker look like a suspect?




  1. Who is Inspector Raglan?




  1. Who is Officer Davis? Why does he ask about the Tunisian Dagger?



Chapter 7 I Learn my Neighbor’s Profession


  1. Who is waiting for Dr. Sheppard when he returns from work the next morning?




  1. What does she want?




  1. Even though Poirot agrees to help, what warning does he give to Flora?




  1. When the three arrive at Fernly Park, what do they notice about the following:

    1. Shoe prints

    2. Chair

    3. The fire

Chapter 8 Inspector Raglan is Confident
Chapter 8 is an important chapter because Poirot and Inspector Raglan review all of the “clues” they’ve learned so far.


  1. Are there any new clues – in addition to the clues/events you discussed in chapter 5?




  1. What two items does Poirot notice in the guest house?



Chapter 9 The Goldfish Pond

  1. What important question does Poirot ask at the beginning of this chapter?





  1. As Poirot and Sheppard walk along, who do they see chatting? Is there anything odd about what they see?




  1. What is glimmering in the pond? What initial is engraved inside of it?



Chapter 10 The Parlormaid


  1. Poirot gets his answer about the will in this chapter: how will Ackroyd’s money be dispursed?




  1. Is everyone happy with the amount of money each receives?




  1. Which household member does not have an alibi?



Chapter 11 Poirot Pays a Call


  1. Where does Poirot ask Sheppard to go in this chapter?




  1. Who is Mrs. Folliot? Why is Sheppard suspicious of her?




  1. Why does Poirot ask Caroline about Sheppard’s patients, and not Sheppard?



Chapter 12 Round the Table


  1. For whom do the police issue a grand search in the beginning of this chapter?




  1. What does Poirot point out about the fingerprints?




  1. What does Poirot insist that everyone is keeping?


Chapter 13 The Goose Quill

  1. Poirot and Sheppard discuss the case over dinner that evening. Write down what they discuss about:





    1. Miss Russell

    2. The stranger that Sheppard passed on the street

    3. The goose quill

    4. Ursula




  1. Sheppard points out that Ralph has three very good motives. What are they? Why doesn’t Poirot agree with him?



Chapter 14 Mrs. Ackroyd


  1. What is different about the narration in this chapter?




  1. Mrs. Ackroyd summons Sheppard to her bedside. What does she say she wants? What does she really want?




  1. What happened when Mrs. Ackroyd was poking around Mr. Ackroyd’s office?




  1. Who helps Poirot find out information about Ralph’s boots? What does she find out?


Chapter 15 Geoffrey Raymond


  1. Poirot’s theory about everyone hiding something is slowly coming true. What did Mrs. Ackroyd have to hide? What does Raymond have to hide?




  1. At the end of the chapter, Poirot and Sheppard go to Fernly Park for what reason?


Chapter 16 An Evening with Mah Jong


  1. What piece of evidence does Sheppard give to his friends, Miss Ganett and Colonel Carter?




  1. Who does Caroline think Flora is dating? What does Sheppard think?


Chapter 17 Parker

  1. What information does Parker finally give to Poirot and Sheppard?





  1. How much money did Mrs. Ferrars withdraw from her bank account in the last year? Why?




  1. What is Poirot’s theory about the killer?




  1. Who is the stranger?


Chapter 18 Charles Kent


  1. What do they find out about Charles Kent?




  1. How does the goose quill help Poirot?


Chapter 19 Flora Ackroyd


  1. What does Inspector Raglan find out that disproves Poirot’s plan about Kent?




  1. What does Flora confess to in this chapter?




  1. What secret about Flora does Poirot tell Blunt?


Chapter 20 Miss Russell


  1. Why is Miss Russell distraught about Kent being a suspect?




  1. What does Poirot ask Inspector Raglan to send to the newspaper and why?


Chapter 21 The Paragraph in the Paper


  1. Who doesn’t believe the newspaper announcement? Why is this suspicious?




  1. What secret does Poirot find out about Ursula Bourne?



Chapter 22 Ursula’s Story


  1. Briefly summarize Ursula’s story.



  1. Why does Ralph lie to Mr. Ackroyd, and why does Ursula eventually tell him the truth?




  1. Why does Ralph seem even more guilty now?



Chapter 23 Poirot’s Little Reunion


  1. What is Poirot reading during this chapter? Who wrote it?




  1. What news does Poirot reveal first at his meeting and what is the response?




  1. Poirot suggests that no one was in the room with Ackroyd when he died. How does he say this could have happened?




  1. Who shows up at the end of this chapter?



Chapter 24 Ralph Paton’s Story


  1. Finally, Sheppard reveals his secret. What is it?




  1. How did Sheppard “help” Ralph?




  1. What does Poirot say he now knows at the end of the chapter? Why doesn’t he reveal it?



Chapter 25 The Whole Truth


  1. James tries to guess why Poirot doesn’t reveal the murderer. What are two of his guesses?




  1. Poirot begins to reveal his theory. Summarize his ideas below. Include information about the chair, the Dictaphone, the footprints, and the dagger. The first is done for you

    1. Ralph didn’t make phone call; an accomplice did.










Chapter 26 And Nothing but the Truth



  1. Poirot finally reveals his murderer! Who is it?




  1. What does he want Sheppard to do about it?




  1. How does Sheppard react to this news?


Chapter 27 Apologia


  1. How does the narration change in this chapter?




  1. What does Sheppard say was the original intent of his manuscript?




  1. What does he admit to?




  1. Who is the murderer and how does it happen?




  1. What does Sheppard plan to do in the end?


General Topics to Think About
What clues does the author plant in the novel that hint at the identity of the true murderer?

Discuss the surprise ending of the story. What is your opinion about the author's twist of the conventional use of the narrator as the mouthpiece for truth? What effect does this have on the believability of the story?



What techniques does the author use to distract us from and disguise the real killer throughout the story?

CHARACTER CHART – keep track of alibis!





Ackroyd

Sheppard

Raymond

Parker


Blunt

Miss Flora

Mrs. Ackroyd

Ralph

Miss Russell

Ursula Bourne

9:00































9:15































9:30





























9:45































10:00































10:15





























10:30



































The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Study Guide





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