Title: The ABC Murders
Author: Agatha Christie
Date: 2013 (1936)
Genre: Crime & Mystery / Classics
Summary: 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 corpse 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…
I absolutely loved this book. I might even go as far as to say that it is, perhaps, my favourite Poirot book so far.
The plot was absolutely wonderful. Christie managed to produce a fresh, innovative Poirot case by switching up the locations in the novel, taking us from Andover, Hampshire to Doncaster, South Yorkshire, as the killer makes his way through the alphabet, using the ABC Railway Guide to guide his killing spree. Also, the concept of the alphabet and the ABC Railway Guide adds a real sense of tension to the book because you know that there is another murder just around the corner but you don’t know how, when, or where the killer will strike. I don’t really know how to describe it but it’s almost like anticipatory suspense. You’re on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, because you know that something will happen and you’re trying to anticipate the killer’s next move. Every page was thrilling.
Christie utilised multiple points of view to great effect in this novel. It’s very unusual though because it combines the third-person narrative of Hastings and the first-person narrative of Alexander Bonaparte Cust. I really enjoyed this structure as it added an extra layer of suspicion to the novel.
I also really loved the development of the side characters and their relationships. I was invested in the stories of the members of the ‘Legion’ who were helping Poirot in his investigation. Franklin Clarke, Mary Drower, Donald Fraser, Megan Barnard, and Thora Grey all captured my attention and one aspect of this novel that I really enjoyed was the development of these characters, some of whom are not all that they seem. Christie always wrote well-developed side characters, especially women, and it’s a joy to get to know them and their stories. At times, I actually preferred this unlikely gang of side characters to the main cast.
The reveal at the end was just perfect. I hadn’t worked out who the murderer was – Christie’s red herrings were too clever for me (and I like to be swept away by the mystery so I don’t spend too much time trying to figure out the killer) – and I just loved the ending. A great ending to a great mystery.
Overall, I think that this is a fantastic book! It was fun, thrilling, and highly entertaining. I would definitely recommend it.
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