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The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie

The A.B.C. Murders (1936)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hercule Poirot Mystery (13)

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4,601851,546 (3.8)232



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» See also 232 mentions

English (73)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Chinese (1)  All languages (84)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
This time around Poirot has to deal with a serial killer. Indeed the great Belgian detective has a bit of a time with it but in the end finds out his man. ( )
  krgulick | Jun 19, 2019 |
The A.B.C. Murders is arguably a fan favorite—and it is extremely clever, twisty, and has a wonderfully creepy serial killer who seems to be murdering his way through the alphabet.

Most of the build up was a little slow for me. The payoff at the end was excellent, but unfortunately this one gets low marks from me because I can’t stand Poirot’s friend Captain Arthur Hastings. I know he’s a foil to Poirot’s genius, but still. *Begin rant* Besides the fact that he’s one of the most idiotic characters ever written, his internal monologue is painful. Painful. You’d think he would stop questioning Poirot’s abilities … how many investigations has he helped Poirot with at this point?! But no, he always thinks he knows better than Poirot and always ends up being amazed that Poirot figured out the crime without any help from him. Shocker! *Rant over*

You’ll have to decide for yourself what you think about Hastings, but The A.B.C. Murders is definitely still worth the read.

Read more Agatha Christie reviews on my blog at bigdipperbooks.com ( )
  melissa_faith | Mar 16, 2019 |
**2018 UPDATE**
There's yet another unnecessary, unwanted remake of this book into a 3-part miniseries being made; John Malkovich will appear as Poirot, which is as ludicrous as that Brannagh dude and his mustachios appearing in the unnecessary, unwanted remake of [Murder on the Orient Express] that carbuncled itself onto screens last year.

Rupert Grint, of Harry Potter fame, will also appear. Amazon Prime will stream in the US, though I'm not sure about international markets. End of this year.

Why they can't leave it with David Suchet, who filmed all the Poirot stories in 25 years as the little Belgian, I cannot fathom. He **was** Poirot. *annoyed sigh*

2019 UPDATE I watched the Amazon Prime 3-part adaptation. It wasn't at all bad. I still think of Suchet as Poirot, but wasn't distracted by Malkovich in the role as I worried I might be. His Poirot is very different from the canonical one. Not bad, please understand, just different; his moustaches are infinitely preferable to the pogonotical heresy sported by Branagh in the recent feature film of Murder on the Orient Express.

There is a new, and divisive, backstory to the character; Malkovich's Belgian accent is superior to almost all the preceding efforts; the production was possessed of some annoying (to me) anachronisms (eg, a Woody Herman tune from 1939 being used in a 1933 setting, a china pattern I know from my years selling the stuff was introduced in 1960) but overall was beautifully conceived to convey the despair of the time.

I was inspired by the series to zip through the book again, and found it to be one of the top quality Christie efforts. Hastings, our narrator, has just returned from South America; he delivers us the the story with all the verve of Boswell reporting on Johnson's aperçus. Hastings is also, in the way of informing the reader, attempting to put himself in the head of the killer. It's not the ordinary run of the mill technique used in the Poirot books and I, for one, am pleased that's the case. It's not unsuccessful, exactly, to tell the story this way. It's obtrusive, and calls attention to the story as being told. So there one is, listening to one's rather dull cousin talking about how clever someone else is. It's not the smoothest reading experience, but it's quite effective as used in this particular story.

I was again struck by the great usefulness of Hastings as a narrator, and am sad to report that he is absent from this filmed version; Inspector Japp's fate, dealt with here in a cursory way, is at variance from the book; Cust's issues and their resolution are very much changed for no particular reason that I can see; and Rupert Grint's Inspector Crome is a nasty little man, eaten alive by jealousy and petty grievance. It was actually a perfect foil for Malkovich's performance.

So I'll eat my 2018 words and say this *isn't* an unnecessary and unwanted remake of the Suchet-era version (which, if I'm honest, isn't all that). It's a different, darker, and curiously unpleasant take on a top-flight Christie novel. ( )
  richardderus | Feb 8, 2019 |
Loved this Poirot novel. Someone is committing seemingly random murders around England based on the letters in the victims' names. They are taunting the famous detective with letters and he tries to anticipate the next move. The clever Poirot doesn't disappoint and this was a great vacation read. ( )
  bookworm12 | Jan 31, 2019 |
Serial-killer stories and golden-age private detectives don't often intersect, for obvious reasons - tracking down a serial killer normally requires the kind of large-scale teamwork that makes police-procedurals so interesting. So Christie has to play a few tricks here to finagle Poirot into investigating a set-up that rapidly turns into a template for so many later serial-killer stories - victims widely separated in location, social class and personal situation, but linked by a bizarre "signature" element - in this case Alice Asscher in Andover, Betty Barnard in Bexhill, and so on, are all found with an "ABC Railway Guide" next to them.

The police steadily plough through the process of amassing clues, whilst Poirot focusses on what today's crime novelists would call the forensic psychology aspect of the case, trying to work out what it could be that motivates the killer. And of course has plenty of opportunities along the way for chaffing his sidekick, Captain Hastings, about the conventions of detective fiction. He pours particular scorn on the importance of the Clue, in particular the "curiously-twisted dagger" or the "little-known oriental poison". (And a few passing references along the way to past and future Poirot books.)

There's also a lot of interesting discussion calling into question our preconceptions about crime and madness - you can't help wondering if there's some biographical significance to the way the main suspect himself has a genuine doubt in his mind about whether or not he committed the crimes, bearing in mind Christie's high-profile fugue ten years earlier. But the seriousness of the discussions is a little undermined by the way characters seem to keep saying "homicidal murderer" when they presumably mean "homicidal maniac"...

Fun, even if not without a few big flaws, and I'm glad to have read it at last. And obviously an influential crime story, since it launched a major plot convention re-used by many other writers since. ( )
  thorold | Jan 22, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mallorquí Figuerola, JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suomalainen, AuneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wardle, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Death on the Nile / Murder on the Orient Express / The A.B.C. Murders / Cards on the Table / Thirteen at Dinner by Agatha Christie

Why Didn't they Ask Evans? [and] The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie Crime Collection: The A.B.C. Murders, The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side, They Came To Baghdad by Agatha Christie

Murder-Go-Round: Thirteen at Dinner / The A.B.C. Murders / Funerals Are Fatal by Agatha Christie

The A.B.C. Murders [and] Endless Night by Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Affair at Styles / Peril at End House / The A.B.C. Murders / One, Two Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie

Has the adaptation

Is abridged in

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Series (with order)
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Important places
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Awards and honors
To James Watts
One of my most sympathetic readers
First words
In this narrative of mine I have departed from my usual practice of relating only those incidents and scenes at which I myself was present. (Foreword by Captain Arthur Hastings, O.B.E.)
It was in June of 1935 that I came home from my ranch in South America for a stay of about six months.
Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions. (Hercule Poirot)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 042513024X, Mass Market Paperback)

When Alice Ascher is murdered in Andover, Hercule Poirot is already on to the clues. Alphabetically speaking, it's one down, twenty-five to go.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:04 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A is for Ascher, cudgeled in Andover. B is for Barnard, strangled in Bexhill. C is for Clarke, struck down in Churston. Beside each body is an A.B.C. Railway guide; before each murder Hercule Poirot is notified. In one of Christie's most twisted tales, the meticulous Belgian sleuth must navigate the eerie maze of a serial killer's mind. D is for Doncaster, where the next victim dies... E is for evidence, ingeniously analyzed.… (more)

» see all 18 descriptions

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