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4.7 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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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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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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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 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 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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on 16 April 2012
This book just shows how great Agatha Christie's books truly are. I am a lover of murder mysteries, I can't stop watching them on TV: Diagnosis Murder; Murder She Wrote; Midsomer Murders are all shows that I adore. I was browsing for books in the library and thought that reading is like TV in your head so I picked up a book from Christie's shelf. But Agatha's books are much more than TV in your head, they engage you! You feel like you are traipsing along behind a short Belgian man discovering more clues as to who may have murdered Mrs Ascher or Betty Barnard.
Usually I hate reading books written in the first person (like a diary entry), there's something that makes me resent it. In fact, when I discovered this book was written in the first person I felt rather disappointed! But the fact that I adore this book and would easily call it a masterpiece shows how good Christie is! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I devoured it in three days (solid reading, it's not a tiny book)!

The reader is thrown into M. Poirot's apartment in London, along with Hastings. A letter is received saying that Mrs Ascher, in Andover, will be murdered. Due to the high quantity of letters that Poirot receives that are similar to this, it is not taken seriously, but the murder takes place and we arrive at the scene of the crime. The murderer progresses through the alphabet, the chase is on as Poirot and Hastings must aid Scotland Yard before the blood of 26 innocent people is spilt. But is this predictable plot all that it seems, or is there a more twisted, clever solution that lies beneath.

You will gasp incredulously at the simple explanation to the riddle that will stick with you forever.

Amazon.co.uk offer this book at an extremely low price compared to the RRP, it is an absolute must have along with two other novels: And then there were none - and - Murder on the Orient Express. They too were both written by Christie and are on Amazon.co.uk for up to 40% off the RRP.
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on 1 February 2013
This book is slightly different to most of the Poirot stories, in that the identity of the murdered is made clear very early on. Or is it? As with most things Agatha Christie wrote, the reader is kept guessing - is the identity a bluff, or a double-bluff? - right up to the end. Poirot's involving several people to help appears inconsistent with his style, but becomes understandable at the end. I have read some criticisms of this book, and there are others I prefer, but it is still very much worth reading and very enjoyable.
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