Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
The A. B. C. Murders: A Hercule Poirot Mystery Paperback – February 1, 2011
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
More items to explore
“Mrs. Christie has invented an entirely new plot for a detective story—a difficult thing in these days; she is to be congratulated on the perfection of her invention.” (The Times (London))
“Her best yet. Where does she get hold of these brilliant notions?” (Bristol Evening Post)
“There is no more cunning player of the murder game than Agatha Christie.” (Sunday Times (London))
From the Back Cover
There’s a serial killer on the loose, working his way through the alphabet and the whole country is in a state of panic.
A is for Mrs. Ascher in Andover, B is for Betty Barnard in Bexhill, C is for Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston. With each murder, the killer is getting more confident—but leaving a trail of deliberate clues to taunt the proud Hercule Poirot might just prove to be the first, and fatal, mistake.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I'm not sure how I skipped over this book when I started working my way through her backlist as a teen; hopefully the neighborhood library actually had a copy and it was just continually checked out. I'd hate to think that other Dame Agatha fans also missed out on this cunning puzzler. If you've missed this one, it definitely is worth adding to your to-read list.
The premise of this tale is deceptively simple. M. Poirot's deserved acclaim has preceded him among the public at large, and a determined soul thus has chosen the Belgian detective as a cross between confidante and modified cat's paw.
What follows is a seemingly linear series of events, though as usual when Christie is at the typewriter, there are tricky, twisty bits that advance the story in the moment but gain additional meaning once the last page is finished and the reader has a chance to reflect.
In addition to the faithful Hastings, Inspector Japp makes a cameo, but the rest of the ensemble cast, new to the most loyal of readers, is rather ingenious and illuminating on Christie's part. (Yes, as is the case in several other of her books, there are some dated word choices and frames of reference. It helps to imagine oneself reading this in 1936, the year in which it was initially published.) I hesitate to delve into the plot lest I let something slip. Christie largely plays fair with clues, red herrings and sleight of hand. The story moves briskly, with slower passages calculated to heighten suspense.
We also get fascinating glimpses into the thought processes of M. Poirot, such as this rather chilling observation midway through the story. "Crime is terribly revealing," Poirot tells Hastings when the latter expresses frustration about the murderer still being at large. "Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions."
KINDLE NOTES: File conversion of this title is spot on -- no hiccups or stray typographical artifacts. Poirot indulges in rather more instances of colloquial French than usual, but the Bing translation feature is able to cope with all of the phrases. If you should get an English-language translation, click "English > French" within the translation screen to reset the function. I had this happen three times during the book and the reset process was simple and accurate.
Three separate murders are brazenly predicted in specific locations on specific dates. What follows is a confused and futile attempt to stop each before it occurs. There are no apparent witnesses, nor is there any useful evidence.
Gradually, Poirot father's information by enlisting the assistance of people living at or near each murder's location. Patterns begin to emerge, which lead Poirot and law enforcement to a suspect. When the suspect turns himself into the police, it appears that the case has been solved.
One thing bags at Poirot: A notice has not been determined. His persistence with this missing piece of the puzzle keeps the case open in his mind, to the frustration of everyone else.
Christie masterfully shares the complicated inner workings of Poirot's with the reader, revealing how he determined the motives for the murders until the real murderer is behind bars.
The brilliance of Poirot as presented by Christie creates a page-turning and intriguing mystery.
Agatha Christie tells this story from different points of view. I liked this style because it gives us a wider range of knowledge of the situation. The plot is not easy to follow. There are many characters. It was hard to get started in this book, as is true in other Agatha Christie books. Each murder has a highly likely suspect completely unrelated to each other except for the clue the murderer purposely leaves behind. Although the plot is hard to follow it is also highly realistic. From sick motives to human nature to family relations, the book keeps it fairly real. For example, one time, Hastings “hastily presented the strawberries to a small boy who seemed highly astonished and faintly suspicious” (Christie).
Agatha Christie walks you down a path believing that you have it all figured out only to find out you are wrong. The ending was very interesting and there was an unexpected twist. I have read other Agatha Christie books and found this one equally as interesting but completely different. I would definitely recommend this book if you are an Agatha Christie fan.
Top international reviews
I was prompted to read this by watching the BBC TV adaptation last week. While I thought this was a good piece of atmospheric drama in its own right, it differed in several aspects from the novel, especially in terms of Poirot's background.
Despite all of this, reading the book again so soon after the TV show was very rewarding. It did not spoil my enjoyment in the slightest. I won't go into the details of the plot as I am sure most of you will be familiar with it. The book really is Agatha Christie at her best. And those little grey cells? Don't get a mention on the BBC!
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.
What I particularly enjoy is how Agatha Christie presents all the clues necessary for any armchair detective to determine who the killer is, but does it in such a clever way that I suspect most people, myself included, will miss them. In addition, while the dialogue and writing style clearly differs from that commonly found in murder mystery novels today, it has a certain period charm and pace that makes the book an absolute pleasure to read.
So, while the 2018 TV adaptation shown on the BBC is certainly dramatic, I personally found reading the original story to be a far more satisfying experience ... as hopefully many of you will too.
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.