The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot, #13

Source: Purchased

Agatha Christie’s world-famous serial killer mystery, reissued with a striking cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.

There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card he leaves beside each victim’s corpe the ABC Railway Guide open at the name of the town where the murder has taken place.

Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught – until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans…

“There is nothing so terrible as to live in an atmosphere of suspicion - to see eyes watching you and the love in them changing to fear - nothing so terrible as to suspect those near and dear to you - It is poisonous - a miasma.”

Hercule Poirot gets a few surprises – his old friend Hastings has come for an extended stay and visit, and a serial killer has decided to target him with teasing notes before he strikes.

As always, clever. The point of this one was the journey and not the destination/culprit. I didn't guess the killer exactly, it's complicated with this one, but there was a surprising twist that made a diabolical sense. Christie shows the viewpoint of the supposed culprit from the start. Poirot wasn’t trying to figure out who the killer was so much as he was trying to figure out a possible motive other than a ‘madman is doing it because he’s mad.’

It was a treat to see Poirot and Hastings meet up again when both are older and still friends - poor Hastings is apparently losing his hair, which makes one of several amusing moments. Their comical exchanges bring spice to the page - even if Hastings isn't the most fascinating character, their friendship is a joy in these books. He’s definitely grown to enjoy the sleuthing business more than he used to.

We don’t get into the head of the great detective this time, and Christie uses a multiple viewpoint between two people, but it works well.

The ABC Murders would make a clever movie adaptation – have they done it already? – although the mystery itself isn’t the strongest of her works. Poirot being there solving the puzzle makes it all the better – he’s definitely my favorite detective. He will live on.

   Book Quotes:

“It's like all those quiet people, when they do lose their tempers they lose them with a vengeance.”

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