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4.7 out of 5 stars68
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on 21 February 2001
Fans of Christie have marvelled at the 'quaint english country village with a dark secret' stories that we have known and loved for years. What a delightful departure in the ABC Murders. A brutal serial killer goades Hercule Poirot with clues as to the next victim, but he always arrives too late to save them. Why has the killer chosen to write to Hercule Poirot? What have the victims got in common? When will the killer strike again? A very clever and thoroughly enjoyable read.
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This is one of the most interesting Poirot mysteries. It is 1935 and Hastings has returned from Argentina to visit - will he and Poirot get to hunt a murderer again? Poirot is concerned by an anonymous letter he has received, stating, "look out for Andover, on the 21st of the month." It is signed simply, "ABC". When an elderly woman, named Ascher, is found murdered in her little newsagent shop, Poirot and Hastings become involved in a case which is different to any they have faced before. It seems a homicidal maniac is striking victims at random, based only on the first letters of their name and the place that they live. An ABC railway guide is always placed on or near the vitim. As the bodies mount, the families and friends of the victims propose working with Poirot, to help solve the case.

This novel shows why Agatha Christie is still the best crime writer of all time. The book may be set in the 1930's, but she has such an understanding of human nature and her plot and characters all stand the test of time. Her books never drag, are always immensely readable and Poirot - well, he is simply the best fictional detective ever created. Enjoy!
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on 4 January 2011
An unknown person challenges Poirot to solve murders of unconnected people by means of a series of letters, one letter sent before each murder.

A tobacconist with the initials A.A. is duly murdered in Andover and a waitress with the initials B.B. is strangled at Bexhill-on-Sea a month later. Poirot receives a third letter threatening a third murder in Churston, Devon.

How far will the series of murders continue before Poirot discovers the killer's identity and the reason for the murderous procession through the alphabet?

ABC Murders is brilliantly original, unusual and inspirational for many similar serial-crime stories of other UK and US crime writers, and noteworthy for a concise masterpiece of exposition by Poirot near the story's end on the rationale behind serial murder and the reasons why this series was different.

Quite simply, brilliant! So too is the TV equivalent featuring David Suchet which, along with other episodes, painstakingly reproduces much 1930s period detail.
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on 6 June 2001
A fiendish puzzle, revolving around a series of totally random alphabetical murders and a sinister calling card of an ABC railway guide. Poirot has to be at this best to solve this superb mystery. The plot is exciting and the twists will keep you going right up to the end.
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on 8 August 2007
This is one of my favourite Agatha Christie Poirot mysteries. A great story that is very cleverly written to misdirect you as to 'whodunnit' leading to a satisfying ending where Poirot reveals all. For crime fiction fans this is well worth reading.
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VINE VOICEon 12 March 2007
This is Dame Agatha at her best. A series of apparently motiveless murders connected only by the victim's initials, and copies of the "ABC of London" being left at the scene of the crimes. The readers attention is kept to the end. Certainly not a time waster for Christie fans. An enduring classic.
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This was my first Agatha Christie book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I found the mystery intriguing. I also smile at how how things have changed since the book was written e.g. 'An electric bell trilled sharply above the girl's head' (to you and me, that's a doorbell); when a man packs an overnight bag, he includes a 'spare collar'; and '...The evening post arrived about ten o'clock...'.

The plot is simple: someone arrogantly writes to Hercule Poirot telling him that he/she (no spoilers here!) will murder someone whose surname begins with the letter A in Andover on a certain date. The murderer signs the letter as "ABC".

After the murder, Poirot receives another letter: this time the victim will be someone whose surname begins with the letter B, living in Bexhill-on-Sea, and again ABC names the date.

It's risky business, giving prior notice of a murder - naming the location, date and even first letter of the victim's surname. It increases the chance of being caught. That's part of the tension in the book.

The quest is not just a whodunnit but also who will the next victim be and how far down the alphabet will it get. (And how would ABC ever handle Z?)

The plot is simple but the book isn't (when you read the book, you'll understand what I mean by that). Thoroughly recommended.
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Hercule Poirot receives a taunting anonymous letter telling him there will be a murder in Andover on a certain date and signed 'A B C'. When a woman is found dead in her tobacconists/newsagents shop with a copy of the ABC train timetable open at the page for Andover it seems the letter wasn't a hoax.

Another murder is announced to Poirot - this time in Bexhill. Poirot is getting increasingly concerned and he and his friend Captain Hastings are soon hot on the trail of this mystery murderer. I found it a totally baffling mystery and I definitely didn't work out who the murderer was until Poirot himself explained in his inimitable fashion.

I really enjoyed reading this story and Agatha Christie could certainly teach many authors writing today a thing or two about plotting! The book is well written, the characters are varied and interesting. The book definitely justifies Christie's unofficial title - 'The Queen of Crime.'
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on 30 May 2009
I've only read about seven Poirot novels so far, a number of which I consider to be quite weak, but this is simply superb! More twists than a twisty thing, and a really good ending which you just wouldn't guess in a million years. I would recommend this as a starting point for anyone wishing to get into Poirot - its an easy read, and you won't want to put it down until you get to the last page.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 August 2014
'The A.B.C. Murders- is a Poirot book published in 1936. Colonel Arthur Hastings, Poirot's old friend, is the narrator and describes how Poirot received typewritten letters from someone signing himself (or herself) A.B.C. Each, horrifyingly, gives the date and place of the next murder and the killings seem to be in alphabetical order. Alice Ascher is killed at Andover, Betty Barnard in Bexhill and Sir Carmichael Clarke at his home in Churston. The killer leaves an ABC railway guide at each murder site. But why does A.B.C. write to Poirot? And why does Poirot's address seem to have been deliberately misspelt?
Episodes in the life of Alexander Bonaparte Cust are appended to each chapter told by Hastings. He is an epileptic, having served in the war and received a head injury leaving him with blackouts and severe headaches, and now he finds it difficult to get work. Poirot hopes to get new information by uniting the relatives against the murderer. The police are not helpful to Poirot, belittling his abilities.
Agatha Christie had used the device of combining first- and third-person storytelling in 'The Man in the Brown Suit' and she uses it again in this book. She enjoyed experimenting with point-of-view and had done so very successfully in 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.' As usual, she constructs an ingenious plot with many surprises and twists and turns and, also as usual, her characters are psychologically interesting. I'm not a great fan of Poirot - he does seem too ridiculous to be true - but that's a personal view and I recognise how popular and clever the Poirot books are, despite Christie's pedestrian writing style. This is a very good book and it may be my fault that I can't work up a great enthusiasm for it! Many people think it is her best book.
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