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.