The ABC Murders

ISBN: 0007164807
ISBN 13: 9780007164806
By: Agatha Christie

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About this book

Alice Ascher, a shopkeeper in Andover, is bludgeoned to death at her place of work. Next to die is Miss Bernard in Bexhill, then Mr. Clarke in Churston. More disturbing than the alphabetic sequence of the killings or the ABC Railway guide that the killer leaves at the crime scenes are the taunting notes warning Hercule Poirot before each murder.

Reader's Thoughts


I enjoy the Poirot tales, though I often get a little impatient with the ones which are told from the first person narrative of Captain Hastings, who frequently plays Watson to the Belgian detective's Sherlock. These stories, in particular, often seem a bit too heavily padded with scenes where the two men conference - Poirot speaks very enigmatically about the case, Hastings gets frustrated, and Poirot admonishs him to "use the little grey cells." Mystery investigations are by their nature rather heavy on exposition, but the very sameness in all these scenes can often have the effect of slowing the narrative down to a slow crawl. Having said that, I liked "The A.B.C. Murders" just fine. There was a little less development of the "cast" than is usually found in her books, but by the end I was caring most for the character I was supposed to, so the reveal had the punch that the author intended. The twist was quite clever and, thinking back, I do believe that the murderer featured in this story may be one of the most ruthless and cold-blooded I've come across in a Christie novel so far.

This is Christie at her best, published first in her glory period in the 1930s when she also released Murder on the Orient Express, Three Act Tragedy, Death on the Nile and And Then There Were None. I promise, you'll enjoy this one - it's up there with my favourites.Picture the scene - Alice Ascher is killed in Andover, Betty Barnard dies in Bexhill, and Sir Carmichael Clarke is found dead in Churston. Hercule Poirot receives a letter in advance of each murder, telling him where to expect the crime to take place. The great detective must unravel the clues and try to stop the killer before further lives are claimed.The inspector unravels the clues in his usual inimitable style, and it's great fun to watch and learn as Hercule Poirot's faultless logic helps to track the perpetrator down. This is a great book to start with if you're new to Poirot or Christie, and seasoned readers are likely to have read it already.Good luck solving why the killer always leaves a copy of the ABC railway guide beside his victims - that's been one of my favourite riddles in any of the Agatha Christie books that I've read. As always, her mastery of the mystery genre is supreme, and you'll be kicking yourself at the end when all is revealed. The sign of any good mystery book, encapsulated by Christie.


This was a very enjoyable read. Dame Agatha lulls you into a false sense of self-confidence of making you think you know who the killer is, but leaving enough clues for you to look back and think yourself the fool when the book wraps up.I love the character of Hercule Poirot, so it is an easy book to love. He is so quirky.I will say, this is the first book by Agatha Christie I've ever read. I've become a fan of Poirot by watching the well-done BBC films, starring David Suchet.It may sound childish to remark, but the words on the pages were very large, making a large number of pages digestible in one sitting. That made it encouraging to continue reading, coupled with the compelling plot, it made the book darn near impossible to put down.

Amin El alami

ABC Murders is a great story, but it wasn’t meant to be a video game and it shows. DS-owning Agatha Christie fans might get a kick out of it, but the game just isn’t as engaging or fun as the other point-and-click puzzlers on the system.The ABC Murders may lack the attention to detail and high levels of presentation found in the Layton titles, yet it should definitely appeal to the same market sector thirsty for more puzzle solving.Agatha Christie was obviously a masterful author, and The A.B.C. Murders could have been an engaging interactive companion to one of her most famous works.The book features the characters of Hercule Poirot, Arthur Hastings and Chief Inspector Japp. The form of the novel is unusual, combining first- and third-person narrative. This approach was famously pioneered by Charles Dickens in Bleak House, and was tried by Agatha Christie in The Man in the Brown Suit. What is unusual in The A.B.C. Murders is that the third-person narrative is supposedly reconstructed by the first-person narrator, Hastings. This approach shows Christie's commitment to experimenting with point of view, famously exemplified by The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. A. B. C. – unknown cold-blooded serial killer and Poirot's nemesis in this novel. He kills his victims in alphabetical order and leaves an ABC railway guide depicting the scene of crime as his calling card.


I got 10 of these books for my birthday, so there might be a few reviews in the foreseeable future. I grew up reading Agatha Christie, and to this day she's one of my go-to authors when I want a comfy, interesting and straight-to-the-chase book. This one is very good. Poirot is at his best and for once directly involved in the murders, as the murderer contacts him beforehand. I had an inkling of where the story would be headed, but I hadn't figured it out before the big reveal. It will keep you guessing, and though some of you will read it and think it's a little predictable then that's most likely because this type of plot has been copied a bit over the years. The cast of side characters is rather good in this one as well - although this is something I think Christie has always done well. She makes them all interesting and some of them very likeable and you're afraid to pick a favorite because they'll probably have done it in the end. Never you mind, it's one of her better books, and perfect for a lazy afternoon on the couch.


This one was ok...nothing too exciting. I was able to pick out the bad guy early but this was at the end of a Christie reading marathon so I was totally satuarated wiht her writing style.


Another brilliant book by Agatha Christie. I am still waiting for a bad book but appearantly there are none to be found.One thing I loved about this book is the fact that it is not written from Poirot's point of view, but Hastings'. Mostly because I can identify with Hastings since like me (or most readers) he has pretty much no idea what is going on Poirot's head until Poirot decides to tell him.I can say though (finally) that I was able to tell who the murderer was before the freaking last two chapters.Can't wait to read more.


This is the "serial killer" one out of the Christie opus, a murderer with an alphabetical fixation gradually bringing England into a frenzy as 4 murder victims pile up.Normally I deplore the "serial killer" genre, the one which has strangely 1,000 books published from various Scandinavian countries that probably have 1 or 2 such fiends a century. But we accept Christie can do anything, we already accept the fantasy of "clever" murders solved by old ladies and vain Belgians, not the reality of moronic true crime investigated by tired, traumatized, bureaucratic laden city policemen. Of course it is fun, a breezy read from the great Dame. Although seen as one of her classics, to me it fell short of her better ones. Too much sitting in a chair "thinking" from Hercule, no great jaw dropping twist, no great character development, and although I usually enjoy the psychological analysis by Christie, when "examining" the "mad" it all got a bit freaky:"A madman is as logical and reasoned in his actions as a sane man - given his peculiar biased point of view. For example, if a man insists on going out and squatting about in nothing but a loin cloth his conduct seems eccentric in the extreme. But once you know THAT THE MAN HIMSELF IS FIRMLY CONVINCED THAT HE IS MAHATMA GANDHI, then his conduct becomes perfectly reasonable and logical.Please Agatha, this is not right. :o(.


اكتشفت المجرم والدافع والفكرة .. لكن تسلسل الاحداث وبعض العقبات اللي زللها بوارو اثناء التحليل لم استطع طبعا ..والا اشتغلت تحري خاص.

Ally Atherton

Sometimes murder is as easy as ABC but this time Hercule Poirot seems to be faced with a homicidal maniac and clues seem to be few and far between. Poirot receives a letter that informs him that there is going to be a murder in Andover and Mrs Ascher is found battered to death behind her shop counter. Next young Betty Barnard is strangled on a beach in Bexhill and then Sir Carmichael Clarke is killed in Churston. Why are each of the bodies found with a copy of the ABC railway guide and who the heck is the mysterious Alexander Bonaparte Cust?I have read a few Agatha Christie novels over the years and every time I am convinced I will solve the case and pin point the murdering swine but of course yet again I failed! In fact this time I was nowhere close probably because this one is a little bit different. Instead of having a murder committed in a house or on a train or on a boat we have a series of murders that don't appear to be linked. In this book there does appear to be a lack of clues that you can normally find in any Christie book but in many ways it is much cleverer than the others.I would probably say that it is an avarage Agatha Christie romp and enjoyable but nowhere near as good as the likes of the fantastic 'Crooked House' or 'Murder on the Orient express.' I haven't been too well this week, suffering from a horrible viral infection that is currently sweeping through the rest of my family ( except my dog, lucky git!) so I wasn't really up to reading but I plodded on.3/5

An Odd1

** spoiler alert ** 5* "The A.B.C. Murders" by Agatha Christie is better because clues are up front, not trivia we could not possibly know, although some, as always, are saved for the dramatic final reveal. Christie's forte is creating atmosphere of 1935 England, with cozy chatty relationship details like ever-popular soap operas. An A.B.C. British railway schedule is left by each body, and a taunting note with the next location and day sent to Hercule Poirot. A mystery should be savored slowly, to give bubbles of recognition, subconscious intuition, time to surface and pop. "In the haystack there is a needle." Poirot p98Poirot shows narrator Captain Arthur Hastings, visiting from his wife in South America, a boast for murder on June 21 at Andover. Inspector Japp scoffs at the typical hoax, until elderly shop-keeper found bashed dead. Mrs Ascher was publicly often threatened by her drunken ex-husband, mourned by neat Mary Drower, the niece she raised. Poirot notes "the amazing magnanimity of the murderer" p68, which recurs; without the ABC, the main suspects would be arrested. The criminal appears to have two personalities, an inconspicuous appearance but challenging writing.Pretty waitress flirt Betty Barnard in Bexhill has jealous quiet boyfriend Donald Fraser and sensible sister Megan. Vigorous Sir Clarke in Churston had smashing blonde Swedish secretary Thora Grey, hoofed out by fatally ill wife, afraid for his childish returned brother Franklin. The soon-to-be heir funds the bereaved to be a Special Legion. In their common observations, Poirot recognizes a stocking salesman whom Thora must recall, after Lady Clarke insists the beauty lied about no strangers around. The author, obstensibly Hastings as noted in the foreword, intersperses third party sections about travelling lodger Alexander Bonaparte Cust. The epileptic's memory lapses since his war-time head injury. After a stranger, not D-, is stabbed dead (how easy would that truly be in the dark, even by a soldier?) in the Doncaster cinema, Cust finds the bloody knife in his pocket, so confesses to all the murders, but denies the letters, and an alibi for Bexhill comes forward. If only one murder were sensibly motivated and the others coverup, then who would be the perpetrator?(view spoiler)[Franklin met the troubled Cust, sent him stockings, ABCs, customer schedule, Poirot the warning notes, delayed C too late deliberately by mis-addressing. Witnesses connecting his whereabouts to crimes are Christie's hidden clues. Poirot even lies about Franklin's fingerprint on Cust's typewriter to provoke a confession. Excess? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


I won't say too much so as not to spoil it for those who've not yet had the pleasure - but the basis of this book has been used in loads of books since written and films produced. What an original thinker Agatha Christie was... The book is thrilling and sinister and a superb ending...great Poirot to start you off if you've not already discovered him

Julie Davis

I really shouldn't have started this book since I have so many others I'm reading right now. However, I saw it was $1.99 for the Kindle and couldn't resist. This is one of my favorite Poirot mysteries, partially because of the other character through whose eyes we see during the book. After reading Sherlock Holmes fairly devotedly for a while, I am rather stunned to see what a dunderhead Captain Hastings is compared to Dr. Watson. However, I'm enjoying the book quite a lot. I recall a couple of main plot points but not the overall solution.FINALClassic Poirot and Agatha Christie.

Houry Keshishian

The A.B.C. Murders is a good book. This is the first time I read Agatha Christie. At the beginning, I was somehow disappointed, because there was no mystery to be solved by the reader. You’ll just have to read read read, and wait for Poirot to solve the mystery and give you a big surprise. Nevertheless, I was fascinated by the psychological analysis that Poirot did at the end of the book, and this made the book worth the effort. I especially liked when he demonstrated that someone who believes in fate can confess about committing a murder without even committing it. What a genius!


Just like the scheduling details in Hampton's ABC Railway Guide, Hercule Poirot is receiving letters taunting him with the specific dates and places of the murders of random victims whose surnames begin with A, B, C, and D. The mad serial killer threatens to continue murdering through each letter of the alphabet!What is the connection between the killer's ABC signature, the railway schedule, and Alexander Bonaparte Cust, a traveling salesman following Hampton's Guide who just happened to be in each hamlet on the designated day of a murder selling silk stockings? A shabby sort of person, he wasn't the kind of man you'd notice. Periot wonders if we've just described the perfect murderer.The first victim is in Andover, a 60 year old shopkeeper named Mrs. Ascher who is beaten to death. She's been separated from her 70 year old alcoholic husband for several years. The next letter to Periot announces an upcoming murder in Bexhill. Miss Barnard is strangled with her belt. Her boyfriend is known to be possessive, jealous of male attention to his girlfriend, but he was eliminated as a suspect by an eyewitness account. The third letter is sent to the wrong address delaying its delivery until after the murder. Sir Carmichael of Churston is the victim. He is an elderly millionare with a terminally ill wife and an attractive secretary. Venturing on a usual evening walk, he is killed by a blow to the back of his head, but who will benefit? On September 9 in Doncaster there is a horse racing event drawing the majority of the citizens to the track. Periot, Hastings and Chief Inspector Japp ask for the victim's families help to identify the culprit. But are they witnesses to the "D" murder, or is this affair just a distracting ploy?Hundreds of miles along the railway and every difference of lifestyle separate the victims. And why is the killer sending taunting letters announcing his next crimes to Periot? What is the motive for the murders, and what is the motive for the warning letters?It's all there for mystery sleuths to solve...the date and place of the murders, first initial of the victim's surnames along the schedule of the rail. But nothing is simply in this 1936 Agatha Christie classic. Highly Recommended.

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