A Universal Recommendation

May 10th, 2017

I’ve learned to listen to the universe. Maybe it’s not speaking specifically to me when it seems to keep repeating itself, but when the message is interesting, why not pay attention? First though, let me backtrack several decades ago.

Me, at not-quite 12, in my favorite reading chair.

When I was 12 years old, after I’d exhausted our extensive (and perhaps, to that date, full) collection of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, I was looking around the house for something new to read (and actually a bit happy to move on from both formulaic series). I might have asked my mom to take me to the library, but there, lying in her nightstand drawers was a small collection of other mysteries, ADULT mysteries. Feeling very grown up—I was 12 after all—I picked one up. And for the next year or three, Agatha Christie became my reading habit of choice. It didn’t matter that these books had so many intertwined characters that it made them hard to follow or that some of the British terms and advanced words were beyond my vocabulary. They were thrilling and fresh and surprising, each one.

Side note: YA hadn’t yet surfaced as an exciting next option. Sure there were black-banded books designed for readers in 7th to 9th grades, but only an infrequent few scattered among the blue-banded books I felt as if I’d outgrown. Ha! Funny how those are the ones I now read (and write) most often.

After my Agatha Christie jag, I got busy being a teen and reading mostly for school assignments. And Agatha became someone to recall with a modicum of fondness.

But then, just several months ago, I ran across an interview where an author cited Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd as the book s/he wished s/he could read again for the first time. Hmm. I didn’t remember that title; not that I remembered many. Chances were that I’d read it. And I let that thought drop. Until the next week when, in a different article, another author talked about the influence of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Then two week later, yet another one mentioned the same book.

Okay. It was time to read it. Or reread it (in case I’d read it before).And so I snagged a copy to see what this was all about. The Murder of Roget Ackroyd is one from Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot line. Poirot, a retired Belgian detective is now living in London, but in this earlier work, he is not the focus of the book. Rather, the book is narrated from the point of view of the town’s doctor, who is frequently called in to do some post mortems there. From the title, we suspect that Roger Ackroyd has been murdered, but I will stop there. I don’t want anything I say to color your reading experience should you choose to pick up this one. And you should. This is such an impeccably crafted story.

And if my recommendation and that of those other three authors isn’t strong enough for you, there’s this. Just days ago, I read a fourth interview which also pointed to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. And all I could do was nod an smile. Thanks, universe. You didn’t disappoint me.

This book talk is in conjunction with the wonderful Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club. To check out today’s other reviews, click on the Barrie’s link above.

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8 thoughts on “A Universal Recommendation”

    1. And I was turned off, at a very early age, to animal book of all kinds because my elementary school teachers kept hauling out sad animal stories as class reads. Glad you found what you loved, though!

  1. Hey! I moved from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Agatha Christie (and Ian Fleming). I’m sure I’ve read this Hercule Poirot, but, like you, can’t remember. I may have to re-read! One of my favorite Agatha Christie was a jane Marple…the Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side. Thanks for reviewing!

    1. I may have read MIRROR, but even if I did, I won’t remember it. It’s next on my Agatha list.

  2. I love the backstory of your reading this book. Definitely sounds like the universe was pushing in that direction. Sounds like a book worth reading. Thanks for the review

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