In the novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, the narrator played a immensely important role in the telling of the novel. Dr. Sheppard the narrator, had the motive and opportunity to commence with the murder.
In the novel, the narrator starts by letting the reader into his mind. By being let into the narrator’s mind, trust is being built up. This is key because it makes the reader believe in what the Dr. Sheppard is saying. Leading up to the murder, there is a lot of information in his head that he is expressing to the reader except for parts of planning the murder. During the night of the murder, it is crucial that the trust is built up between the reader and the narrator in order for the mystery. When Dr. Shepard leaves out the fact that he indeed killed Roger Ackroyd, it makes the reader think that Dr.Sheppard had left the house already, adding to the importance of making sure that people knew he had left.
The narrator did show signs of being unreliable because of the fact that he left out important information. However, he did not directly lie to the reader but only that he left out where he had been and what he had done. For a narrator to be unreliable they have to offer little insight which Dr. Sheppard did not do. He let the reader into the investigation but merely hid his own actions. As Dr. Sheppard was narrating from his own perspective, he was able to bend his own picture of reality, but did not bend it for others. After comparing Dr. Sheppard to a unreliable narrator, he fits in with creating a distorted view and creating a false insight on the murder and would be considered an unreliable narrator. However, just because he leaves out a few pieces of information, it does not make him unreliable. He still tells the story in detail and you get a true sense of what is going on, making him reliable. The narrator in the book could be classified as a reliable narrator but to take everything he says with a bit of suspicion.
The role of the narrator also played a big part in the framing of Ralf Patton. When reading through the eyes of the narrator, it is very suspicious that Ralf left his hotel in a rush and has not been heard from or seen of since the time of the murder. If Dr. Sheppard were to have been entirely truthful, the readers would have known that Dr. Shepard involved himself with Ralf to make him seem like the murderer.
Overall the narrator’s role is necessary to mystery of the novel as without it, the book would be very different or not as interesting and exiting.