The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

ABCTitle: The ABC Murders
Author: Agatha Christie
Series: Hercule Poirot, #13
Published: January 6, 1936
Genres: FictionMystery
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
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There’s a serial killer on the loose, bent on working his way through the alphabet. And as a macabre calling card, he leaves beside each victim’s corpse the ABC Railway Guide open in the name of the town where the murder has taken place. Having begun with Andover, Bexhill and then Churston, there seems little chance of the murderer being caught – until he makes the crucial and vain mistake of challenging Hercule Poirot to frustrate his plans.

Overview:

“A madman, mon ami, is to be taken seriously. A madman is a very dangerous thing.”

March is Murder Mystery Month, and my book club decided to read an Agatha Christie book and we picked The ABC Murders. While it was a good, classic murder mystery perfect for this month, it really wasn’t my favorite Christie novel.

The Good: 

  • Yet again, Christie crafted a twisty murder mystery that leaves the reader completely baffled.
  • There is a pretty good amount of witty humor and sarcasm in this one, which gave some good comedic relief.
  • I liked the use of Arthur Hastings’s character to bridge the gap between Poirot and the rest of us mortals.

The Bad:

  • The main thing that I didn’t like about this story is that it is basically impossible for the reader to solve the mystery before the reveal. While it is possible to have a hunch about who the murderer is, there’s just really no way to have it all completely figured out because it’s too convoluted.
  • Poirot is…a bit too brilliant. He makes huge intellectual leaps that just aren’t realistic. I’m sorry, but there’s just no way that anyone could fit the pieces of the puzzle together the way that he does, and this brilliance makes him very unrelatable.
  • The reveal at the end of the book is just that: a reveal. There are several pages dedicated to Poirot telling us exactly what happened. This is almost as bad as the dreaded gloating-villain-trope that everyone hates so much. Plus, there’s just no way that the murderer would sit there and listen to Poirot go on and on that long, but I do understand that the reveal is a common trope of the time period.

Final Thoughts:

Obviously, the cons outweighed the pros for me in this story, which is unfortunate because I usually enjoy Christie’s novels.


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it if you have?

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