Ingenious and well-plotted,
This review is from: The ABC Murders (Poirot) (Paperback)
'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.