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The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie

The A.B.C. Murders (original 1936; edition 1983)

by Agatha Christie

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Title:The A.B.C. Murders
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:BANTAM BOOKS (1983), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, murder, anonymous letters, psychology, profiling, cozy mystery

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The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie (1936)



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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
'The ABC Murders' by Agatha Christie is another tale of Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian sleuth (with his groomed mustaches). The book was also published as ‘The Alphabet Murders’. It is the story of continuous killings happening in the English alphabetical order and Poirot’s attempt to deduce the murderer by using his grey cells. The story takes place in Britain, near London, during the late 1800s to early 1900s. The story is told from the point of view of Captain Hastings, a friend of Poirot's. While I love reading Poirot mysteries, I get irritated by the stories having the personal narratives of Captain Hastings. It is like reading Sherlock Holmes mysteries where Dr. Watson plays a similar role. The resemblance is too similar to avoid. Compared to Dr. Watson, Captain Hastings is quite a dull character. He does not seem to add anything new to the story and just seems to be incorporated to give what we may call a ‘reader perspective’.

Even though the plot of this novel is lengthy and the actual crimes are not overly interesting, Poirot’s causal wit while solving crimes keeps readers involved. I am almost always hooked whenever I pick up a Poirot mystery and this one was not an exception. I do feel, however, that the boring descriptions could have been avoided. What I liked most about this book is the end part. It was brilliantly written and the twist was quite clever. While I have rated this book less enthusiastically, this book is not at all disappointing. ( )
  PankajGoyal | Nov 30, 2013 |
This is a different book for Christie. I wasn't expecting her to play with points of views like that but it was refreshing and gave the whole story an odd quality.
Very interesting plot and some hilarious lines of which here is a choice exemple -

'She really is a lovely girl,' I said.
'And wears very lovely clothes. That crepemarocain and the silver fox collar - dernier cri.'
'You're a man milliner, Poirot. I never notice what people have on.'
'You should join a nudist colony.'

( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
Innocent people thinking they are murderers?? ( )
  sharat.sachin | Oct 11, 2013 |
I recently read a biography of Agatha Christie and it gave me a hankering to read one of hers I had never tried. I've heard The A. B. C. Murders called one of her best, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I thoroughly enjoyed myself from beginning to end, and goodness this was a fast read--just a few hours. It's a short novel, and Christie is very dialogue heavy and undemanding, so her books zip right along. I was amused early on by the little jokes about the detective novel in the repartee between Captain Hastings and Hercule Poirot. Very meta.

If you haven't read Christie before, freakish as that might be, well Poirot is her most famous detective, along Sherlock Holmes lines, and Hastings is his Watson. Hastings strikes me as much dimmer than Watson though. I know sometimes Watson has been portrayed in film adaptations and pastiches as none-too-bright, but I don't think that's true to the original. It's only he's merely brilliant while Holmes is a genius who outranks not just Watson but the ordinary reader. Hastings though is the quintessential unreliable narrator, and the reader is usually far ahead of him, and some of the humor in the novel is seeing how he misreads so much. Two well-known films have been made from novels featuring Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, which are among the novels acknowledged as Christies' best. Certainly Murder on the Orient Express is one of my own favorites, one of those where my jaw dropped at the solution of the mystery--where I felt I couldn't believe she just did that, but had to admit Christie played fair. I'd say the same of And Then There Were None (and though some famously disagreed) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

For me The A. B. C. Murders, though fun, didn't have that jaw-dropping quality--I guessed the murderer very, very early and picked up just about every clue Poirot mentioned in his reveal. I'm not sure that's because Christie wasn't at the top of her game or I'm particularly clever though. I'm pretty sure I've seen this twist lifted and used in more than one television drama--and if you guess the basic premise, then everything follows. Still, even though this was enjoyable, I can't quite place this among the standouts by Christie I've read that I've rated five stars. (And for the record my absolute favorite isn't among the ones mentioned above but Death Comes At the End, Christie's sole historical mystery set in Ancient Egypt.) ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Sep 8, 2013 |
So this is a reread. I had forgotten a few things : how annoying Hastings is. Really. Beyond annoying; who did it and it was pretty obvious after I remembered the gimmick and the red herrings.

But, it's still a pretty good plot, since it's originally came out in 1935. Serial killer, psychoanalysis of the murderer, obsessive compulsive analysis behavior, all pretty new and Christie loved playing with narrative point of view and new plot twists. Poirot is still playing matchmaker and has the best moustache in all the realm.

Still Hastings is annoying as a wanna be Watson. ( )
  writerlibrarian | Aug 31, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suomalainen, AuneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:16 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In one of Christie's most twisted tales, Poirot must navigate the mind of a serial killer as he systematically kills his way through the alphabet.

(summary from another edition)

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