Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders

In this 1936 story, we see that Hercule Poirot has received an anonymous letter that taunts him and lays down a challenge. The letter warns that something will happen on the 21st in Andover.

Although Poirot has had similar letters in the past, he takes this one seriously. I think he has a hunch and his friend Hastings thinks it’s instinct. But Poirot says it is “knowledge–my experience–that tells me that something about that letter is wrong.”

And, sure enough, someone named Ascher is killed in Andover. There are no credible suspects. Then someone with the last name of Barnard is killed in Bexhill-on-the-Sea followed by Sir Clarke’s death in Churston.

There are only a couple of clues. One are the letters that come to Poirot several days before each murder. The other clue is a railway schedule – the A.B.C. schedule – that is found by each of the murder victims.

I found this mystery of Agatha Christie’s different from her previous novels. It had the feel of a story about a modern serial killer. I thought we might go all the way to Z. For a while there I think Poirot thought that too. But then several things came together – the police, clues from local citizens, the family members of the victims banded together, and then, of course, Poirot’s genius – to save the day.

Everyone thought this was the work of a madman but it was plotted so well and then clearly executed. Everyone was stumped, including me. The ending made me say: That’s why I read Agatha Christie!!

This is Book #23 in my plan to read all of Agatha Christie’s stories. If you’d like to join in the challenge, you can find more information here: Agatha Christie Reading Challenge or click the button below.

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10 Responses to Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders

  1. Every time you review a Christie book it reminds me that I need to read one. Maybe I’ll get to it before the year is out.

  2. I feel the same as Kathy. I have not yet read any!

  3. Kay says:

    Margot, perceptive comment about this one being more like a modern serial killer. Yes, it actually is. Hmmm….thanks for making me think about it. This is one of my favorite Poirot novels. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Tami says:

    It’s odd that I remember this being one of my favorites years ago, but can’t recall now how it ended. Guess I better re-read. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. leslie says:

    brilliant review.. i haven’t read this one, and now i most certainly must.


  6. FleurFisher says:

    I think this is my most read Christie, and though I know it inside out I could still happily read it again. So clever!

  7. Staci says:

    I am looking forward to my summer because I will be adding the AC books I picked up at my library sale to read!!! I hope I have this one in the stack! 😀

  8. Saw this one on the shelf of a used book store yesterday, but resisted. I’m committed to finish all the Janes first if I can. (I’m having trouble finding one of them — it isn’t even on Kindle.

  9. Robin says:

    Now I want to read it. Good job – 23 so far.

  10. stacybuckeye says:

    One day maybe I’ll catch up to you. I’m only 22 books behind 😉

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