Discuss the ways in which Sheppard introduces himself in the opening chapters. A. Most novels by Ghats Christie either have omniscient narrators or Hastings as the narrator, but we see a change in “The Murder of Roger Cockroach” as one of the characters in the country setting takes on the role of the narrator. In many ways, this novel differs from other Christie classics, primarily the narrative. When one first reads it, the narrator comes off as a reticent, logical person. The way he talks about the death of Mrs.. Fearers makes the reader think that he is very straightforward.
He also appears a little indifferent, but when one reads it the second time, it would be clear that it is because he does not repent for being responsible for her suicide. He is the kind of person who will lay bare the blatant facts in front of the reader, without much difficulty and devoid of any emotions. There was nothing to be done. She had been dead some hours. He talks about his sister in such a way that the reader is convinced of his ordinariness. He writes the account in a fashion which makes him look like being bullied by his sister, Caroline.
In the very first chapter, he says that he is in a habit of eliding back crucial information from her. The fact that it is very “natural” to him makes the reader trust him completely. As a professional man, I naturally aim at discretion. Therefore I have got into the habit of continually withholding all information possible from my sister. Even though he calls himself discreet, he fails to hide the fact that he, too, believes in premonitions and follows his instincts. But my instinct told me that there were stirring times ahead. The reader is deceived by him quite easily because the first time s/he does not notice what his retrospection means.
The fact that he is the local and the only doctor in the small place adds to his favor to a very large extent. It is also pivotal to this analysis that readers of the Golden Age were used to Dry. Watson, a trustworthy doctor of the Holmes novels. There is no one to question his authority in his field. Nobody can think that the very narrator, who practices the noble profession of medicine, would betray the reader or his own society. Shepherd’s reluctance to share important facts with his sister only strengthens the trust of the reader, that he is a fair man.
Besides, the way he chemises Carolina’s baseless theories portrays him as one who only wants to present the truth to his readers. It is only later, as the novel unfolds, that we realize that her predictions are nothing else but truth. The reader is so influenced by him that s/he never sees him in the light off possible suspect of the heinous crime. I said nothing of the blackmailing business, but contented myself with giving her the facts of the murder. The reader never suspects that the very narrator would be the blackmailer.
There are some theories provided by Parrot as well which strengthen this opposition. Firstly, the possibility of Parker being the blackmailer surfaces him as a potential murderer of Roger Cockroach. Secondly, Parrot himself keeps him out of the loop: in the last chapters, he refers to him as the “good Dry. Sheppard” while accusing everyone else of being the murderer. Of course, we later realize that Parrot wants to invoke guilt in him. Unlike other Christie novels, we find an inversion of trope in this text as we see apparently innocent people committing multiple not-so-innocent actions.
On the other hand, there are always innocent victims in most of her stories, or instance, in “The BBC Murders” all the four deceased people have very clean backgrounds, except Betty Barnyard’s unfaithfulness, if that counts. The murder of Roger Cockroach is not as disturbing as the murder of the reader’s trust in the novel. As soon as the reader comes face-to-face with the truth, s/he is so betrayed and numbed that the fact that Sheppard murdered his friend is pushed into hindsight. Q. 3. (I) Caroline Among the few female characters in Ghats Christie “The Murder of Roger Cockroach”, Caroline Sheppard undoubtedly stands out in many ways.
Dry. James Sheppard is, at least what appears as, very pragmatic, reticent and direct. His logic and rationale are in stark contrast with Carolina’s characteristics. Unlike her brother, she is very intuitive and curious. She has a wide circle of contacts within Kings Abbot. She has a profound sensibility, and knows that everyone is like her. Anyone who is not like that is “extraordinary’ to her. She is one of the first to know every new gossip, and also the first to make it viral in the small, closely knit society. Caroline can do any amount of finding out by sitting placidly at home.
I don’t know how she engages it, but there it is. I suspect that the servants and the tradesmen constitute her Intelligence Corps. When she goes out, it is not to gather in information, but to spread it. It is her intuitive moments which enable her predict almost everything correctly. Even though her reasons and logics are a little baffling to a rational reader, it is surprising how she always gets it right. The mere fact that Mrs.. Fearers buys clothes from Paris makes Caroline think that she poisoned her husband to death.
She misses out on only a few latent details of the neighborhood; for instance, she stakes a Home Office Expert for Ralph Paton who arrives at Parrot’s house. Even though she fails to recognize her brother’s duality, she does detect a “strain of weakness” in him. The reader is left wondering that she might find out the truth someday, which is possible to a great extent. One of the significant factors which are key to her reach is her own skill of observation (similar to Holmes, in a way). She is right when she says that Flora doesn’t care “a penny piece” for Ralph.
Parrot trusts her especially because of this feature of hers and is able to unveil some important aspects of the case. She successfully accomplishes all the tasks which Parrot assigns to her, for instance, she is able to find out the exact color of Rally’s boots. In addition to this, her keen sense of gathering information and curiosity help Parrot to find out the real identity of Charles Kent. Without her, Miss Russell visit to Dry. Sheppard would have been a secret. She trusts Parrot almost blindly and does what he asks her to. In a way, it can be said that she plays a major role despite staying in the background.
Her being a semi-major character does not stand in the way of her avian a way out to admiration from the readers. She is the only trustworthy character, after Parrot. As many critics have and Christie herself has remarked, she is the predecessor of Christie second most famous detective figure, Miss Marble. She is like the old spinster who does not have any business of her own to mind. In fact, Christie created Marble when she felt that somebody like Caroline was not getting her share of importance and appreciation. She also admitted to her being loosely based on her own self.
In the very first chapter, Sheppard says, If Caroline ever adopts a crest, I should certainly suggest a mongoose rampant. Though it is very subtle, Sheppard may be comparing her here with a mongoose perhaps because she is like the fur that protects him from disgrace, which is true. The only reason why Parrot lets him choose a safe, dignified and easy way to die without any legal inquiries is his sister. Parrot acts as this extra-legal figure which gets his way because of his superiority in crime solving. As Parrot says, she has “a wonderful psychological insight into human nature. One of the main things she fails to detect is her brother’s laity; she does not consider Sheppard as the possible murderer or blackmailer. She is the only character who does not hide anything from the reader or Parrot; she never has anything to hide. She is also the only character who retains her dignity throughout the text. In a text that privileges domestic clues over “scientific” ones, like of fingerprints/footprints (as in Wholesome texts) the importance of Carolina’s help/ observation is a crucial element. This also substantiates Christie deviation from the Wholesome model of detective fiction.
To conclude, Caroline Sheppard is the odd one UT in the mysterious circumstances of Kings Abbot: she is like an open book and more trustworthy than the narrator himself and also perhaps as a more able assistant to Parrot than James Sheppard. (it) Kings Abbot Kings Abbot is the typical English suburban vicinity, a few miles away from the big town of Charters. It is the conventional countryside where people live outside the real world, the urban life. It is a peaceful, carefree and quiet neighborhood, but only on the surface: it is hollow from the inside.
In Shepherd’s words, it is “rich in unmarried ladies and retired military officers”. The reader learns about not-so- innocent mishaps taking place in the apparently peaceful and innocent village. It is very ironical that the on the surface crime-free village witnesses hideous, offensive, hellish crimes including domestic violence, blackmail, suicide and two murders. Their “hobbies and recreations can be summed up in one word, ‘gossip”. Gossip is an integral part of Kings Abbot, so much so that even men cannot stay away from it. Most men in Abbot are “bluff male, intent on the game and indifferent to gossip”.
The sixteenth chapter, the one which is about the Amah Gong party, is a good example of rating that seemingly subscribes to and yet defies major stereotypes associated with the depiction of idyllic villages in the Golden Age. The reader comes to know about the racial and oriental stereotypical notions they follow, for instance, the prolonged discussion over “Cache” and “Chow’. Christie cleverly weaves this chapter as a sign of a strong undercurrent of secretive and hidden game played within a game of Amah Gong. … There is tremendous secret competition amongst us as to who can build their wall quickest.
Clearly, as Parrot suggests, everyone is hiding something from him for arioso reasons. Women do not have freedom either in the tranquil country, contrary to what appears. Even a solitary widow like Mrs.. Fearers cannot do what she likes: despite being “free will” she is not able to marry the man of her choice owing to social pressure. The mistress of the second most important house in King’s Abbot has to poison her husband because she cannot get a divorce or go public with his monstrous actions. The closely knit society is so orthodox that even Mr.. Cockroach, a man, is not free to marry someone he likes.
Very close to this lies the extensive nobler of the dwellers of Kings Abbot. The first one to fall victim to it is the old Miss Russell. She is the unmarried mother of a drug addict and has to meet her son without anyone’s knowledge. She is the “redoubtable” woman whose stay in Fernery Park is the longest and is, therefore, in everyone’s view, the strongest contender of becoming Mrs.. Roger Cockroach. However, Mrs.. Cecil Cockroach “has succeeded in putting Miss Russell in her place”. The second and more significant prey to this class discrimination is Ursula Bourne.
Ralph Paton marries her but has to keep the irrigate a secret because of the class difference and the fear of disapproval from his uncle. The mere fact that Ursula cries at night and stays by herself pushes her into deep paranoia and suspicion and even a prime suspect in the thefts at the hands of the villagers. They think of her as a part of some sort of a “gang”, although the “simple, straightforward English girl”, Flora, is the real thief. So steeped are they in class-related assumptions and prejudices that they think that the servants are accustomed to stealing money and other valuables from their masters.
No matter how much “peaceful and crime free” it is assumed to be, Kings Abbot is completely upside down. Christie creates it to mock the upper class gentry who are always ready to use their riches as the right to accuse the servant class of anything and everything. The conventional and ignorant society of King’s Abbot overlooks the possibility of a respectable man like Dry. Sheppard being greedy and making a widows life hell through blackmail. He cannot be thought of doing this at all. Kings Abbot is a place full of class stereotypes and everything seems superficial.