[pic]Plot summary and comments:Poirot is once more joined by Hastings, again on extended leave from his Argentine ranch. The story begins with Poirot receiving a taunting letter promising a crime in Andover on a given day; sure enough, a murder occurs there, and more letters follow. It soon becomes clear that the criminal is working his way through the alphabet (Alice Ascher was killed in Andover, waitress Betty Barnard is murdered in Bexhill, Sir Carmichael Clark killed in Churston, and in Doncaster something goes wrong when a Mr. Earlsfield is killed). A railway timetable (« The ABC Rail Guide », as it is called) is left next to each victim.
Poirot and Hastings find the method in ABC’s pretended madness and the reason for the alphabetical order, and stop the killing spree in time to save the fifth victim. The prime suspect for most of the book is a mysterious Mr. Alexander Bonaparte Cust. A film of the story, « The Alphabet Murders », was made in 1966, but it is not a faithful adaptation. Courtesey of: http://stout. physics. ucla. edu/%7eyoder/mystery/christie. html [pic] ::READERS REVIEWS:: [pic] »The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie is a very good book. The story is outstanding and keeps you interested, and is
Poirot, the great detective, receives anonymous letters from someone called ABC. These letters state a city and a date inside them, and Poirot suspects a crime. I liked this book mainly because it keeps you wondering what is going to happen next. The only dislike I have is that sometimes it was hard to follow, but later things clear up. Therefore, if you like mystery novels that make you not want to stop reading, you should definitely read this book. » [pic] »The detective fiction book A. B. C. Murders, written by Agatha Christie, is a thrilling book. Christie’s encouragement to read on makes it a « can’t put it down » book.
She forms the characters in great detail, each detail eventually making perfect sense in the conclusion and making you say, « darn, I should’ve known. » Christie makes the books atmosphere such that it feels as if you are right there, trying to figure out the murders right along with Hercule Poirot, the great detective in the book. Christie’s book is such a thrilling and exciting book for many reasons. First, her writing style is unique, in that it excites you from the beginning of the book until the very end. Her style is wonderful because she writes with enthusiasm to keep you interested throughout the book.
She grasps your attention in different ways and makes you keep on reading until the very end. Secondly, Christie describes the characters to the last detail, making sure every detail has importance in the conclusion of the murders. These facts tie together at the end, concluding the mystery with great strength and reassurance to the reader. Lastly, the atmosphere of the book is outstanding. Christie absorbs you into the book so well that you want to talk over the mystery with Poirot, as if you were there solving the case right along with him.
This book is great because it makes you want to keep on reading and reading, with no end to the book. With absorbing writing, great characterization, and encouragement to read on, Agatha Christie has written yet another outstanding detective fiction. » [pic] »Hercule Poirot, the famous detective, receives letters which warn of a coming murder. The towns and last-names of the assasined are arranged in alphabetical order. First, a merchant, then a maid, and then an archaeologist, are killed. This is exactly the kind of book one should not spoil by revealing much of the plot.
Suffice it to say that it is smartly built. The characters are well-rounded, and the threads of the plot lead through the mystery until ends meet at the end. Good entertainment. » This went out the window when I saw my copy of The ABC Murders on my dresser, where it’s been sitting for, oh, a year or more. (Inertia: why fight it? ) Even at that point I instead racked my house for my copy of And Then There Were None, hands down my favorite Agatha Christie, before accepting that it must be in the Indiana household, not this one, and settled in to peruse The ABC Murders for the trillionth time.
A homicidal maniac sends Hercule Poirot a mocking letter, bragging to look out for Andover on a certain day. The day comes, and an old woman named Alice Ascher is murdered at her shop in Andover with an ABC train guide left on the counter. But it’s not over… another mocking letter, and the murder of Betty Bernard in Brixhill, and then Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston. There appears to be no motive and no reason, except the reason of an intelligent madman, killing alphabetically for the sheer purpose of mocking Poirot’s inability to catch him.
The ABC Murders differs for me in many ways: for one, the story is primarily narrated by Poirot’s friend Captain Hastings in first person, a clear homage to Sherlock’s Watson as Hastings is the friend, companion, and occasional master of the obvious. Further, the plot develops away from a seemingly common plot of Christie’s: instead of the crime committed, the witnesses interviewed for 100+ pages, and the solution presented, the murders happen throughout The ABC Murders – not one, but multiples, and the plot thickens and develops as each crime is committed.
Sometimes it even seems like the bits in between the murders are just filler – we’re waiting for the next murder, thank you very much. Another bit of Agatha Christie that I always find intriguing, no matter the quality of the book, is the almost anthropological quality to reading them in the twenty-first century. Christie almost always writes of the upper-middle and upper class in England, and so much of her writing is incredibly class-conscious – and written in a way that tells you that the stratified society of England in the early century was entirely embedded into a collective conscience and taken for granted as true.
There’s not so much about her novels that should be considered « historical fiction » (as I tend to reserve that for books written by modern authors about a previous era), but in terms of reading between the lines there’s much that can be gleaned about the time period in which Christie writes – in the case of The ABC Murders, the mid-1930s. There’s a slight undercurrent of xenophobia throughout the book, and for awhile I even thought that we would be dealing with the after-effects of World War I, as a character suffered from what clearly sounded like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (but was later dismissed as epilepsy: so close, yet so far away.
It’s probably worth pointing out that PTSD was only formally recognized in 1980 though writings of Herodotus include PTSD-like stories. ) Anyone who talks to me about 20th century history will usually get my regular spiel about how we cannot underestimate the psychological effects of WWI on the world, and I think that if we read The ABC Murders in a different light – without the epilepsy – there could be a case made for seeing WWI-induced PTSD in a main character.
The ABC Murders still has an almost levity to it that some of Christie’s greatest works do not have; it’s a different type of murder mystery in very many ways. But it’s still a favorite of mine. Does it rank up there with the « very, very good » ones? I’d give it a « very good » instead, and it’s certainly nowhere near the « ok » ones. But nothing, to me, has topped And Then There Were None or Murder on the Orient Express. wikipedia: Plot summary A serial killer is murdering apparently random people in order of their ames: first Alice Ascher of Andover, second Betty Barnard of Bexhill-on-Sea, third Sir Carmichael Clarke of Churston (a small village). The killer sends a letter to Hercule Poirot before each murder, telling him where and when each murder will take place, but Poirot and the police always arrive too late. The killer signs himself ‘ABC’ and at the place of each murder, leaves an ABC Railway Guide next to the body. Poirot and the police are baffled until a series of clues lead them to suspect the murderer is traveling as a stocking salesman.
Then the ‘D’ murder in Doncaster goes awry and a stocking salesman called Alexander Bonaparte Cust walks into a police station and surrenders. The case seems closed, but although Cust has confessed to the crimes, he claims not to have heard of [pic]Hercule Poirot and can not explain the letters, although they were written on his typewriter. Cust suffers from epilepsy and is subject to blackouts. He claims he can not recall committing the murders, but he believes he committed them because he was in the vicinity of each crime scene.
He also sees other clues, such as blood on his cuff (put by Franklin Clarke) and believes himself the culprit. Poirot is suspicious and is later able to prove that Cust is innocent of the crimes. In a twist ending Poirot reveals that the brother of Sir Carmichael Clarke, Franklin Clarke, who wanted Sir Carmichael’s property and money, committed the crimes in order to draw attention away from the murder of his brother. Franklin had met Cust by chance and decided to use him as part of his plan.
He arranged for Cust to be hired as a stocking salesman and gave him a travel itinerary that ensured he was at the scene of each murder. He also sent Cust a box of ABC Railway Guides and a typewriter, on which he had already typed the ‘ABC’ letters. Characters in « The A. B. C. Murders » The story features various characters, associated with the victims, who need to be investigated for possible means and motive for the murders: • Franz Ascher – estranged husband of the first victim, Alice Ascher. Mary Drower – niece of the first victim, Alice Ascher. • Donald Fraser – jealous boyfriend of the second victim, Betty Barnard. • Megan Barnard – sister of the second victim, Betty Barnard. • Franklin Clarke – brother of the third victim, Sir Carmichael Clarke. • Thora Grey – attractive secretary to the third victim, Sir Carmichael Clarke. • Alexander Bonaparte Cust – a salesman who visited the home of the victims shortly before their murders.