Quote 1

Understand this, I mean to arrive at the truth. The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to the seeker after it.

This quotation, which Poirot speaks in Chapter 12 after he questions Roger’s family and friends about Ralph’s whereabouts, is presented as a warning. Poirot perceives that each person present is hiding something. Though they claim to be eager for the truth about the murder, Poirot discerns their reluctance to have their own deceptions exposed. He has previously cautioned Flora that involving him in the investigation may be unwise as he will certainly uncover the truth.

Beyond serving as a warning, this quote reveals Poirot’s view of the truth—ugly, curious, and beautiful—and contextualizes his fascination with finding it. As an outsider, he artfully examines every action and each word spoken and marvels at the ways in which the pieces of the puzzle fit together within his mind. He considers his task “the most interesting work in the world.” There is a certain respect for the truth, not only as something that is beautiful and often difficult to find, but also something that can be dangerous.

Quote 2

Fortunately words, ingeniously used, will serve to mask the ugliness of naked facts.

Dr. Sheppard narrates these words in Chapter 14 following Mrs. Ackroyd’s confession to having searched Roger’s desk for a copy of his will before his death. Her low tone of voice creates a stark contrast to her customary verbal assaults, suggesting that even she doesn’t believe that her actions were appropriate. But she uses words deftly, carefully constructing her version of by events to make her actions appear innocent and masking “the ugliness” of the “naked facts” which are against her. Dr. Sheppard’s remark is sarcastic, as is his use of the word “ingeniously”; he detests Mrs. Ackroyd and her garish gibberish, and he certainly doesn’t view her as intelligent or shrewd.

Here, though, Dr. Sheppard’s words have another purpose. They foreshadow the true reason he is writing the account. Each sentence is a thread of a carefully constructed veil designed to conceal the truth. He later reveals that he is very pleased with himself as a writer, referring to his own ingenious use of words as a mask. This apparent commentary on Mrs. Ackroyd is actually a subtle revelation to the reader.

Quote 3

Fortunately words, ingeniously used, will serve to mask the ugliness of naked facts.

It’s a great relief to people to be able to tell all their troubles to someone.” 
Caroline makes this observation in Chapter 21 while discussing with Dr. Sheppard the personal and sensitive information Poirot has shared with her about his family. This quote typifies many of the things Caroline says in the novel and is consistent with her character—serious, even solemn, but also humorous in her evident lack of self-awareness. Caroline believes she has masterfully extracted family secrets from Poirot and is quick to share the information with Inspector Raglan. Her words suggest that she feels she has performed an act of charity and grace, revealing more about Caroline’s opinion of herself than perhaps others’ opinions of her.

The comment is prompted by her brother’s teasing, of which Caroline is either unaware or willfully dismissive. Dr. Sheppard is scornful of his sister’s meddling and the constant dissemination of others’ secrets. Yet there is truth in what Caroline says, and the unburdening of each character’s most deeply held secrets in the second half of the novel is a constant refrain. Poirot himself seems to understand that most people really want to tell their secrets but must be compelled or given the right kind of permission to do so.