Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review--> Hercule Poirot #13- The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

Title and Author: The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
Print Length: 331 Pages
Series: Hercule Poirot #13
Publication Date: Collins (1936)
Language: English
Genre: Mystery, Classic, Crime, Thriller and Suspense

Book Review:
"...Let us see, Mr. Clever Poirot, just how clever you can be..." says the letter which marks the beginning of a madman's killing spree across England with only his letters and the ABC railway guides left behind after every murder as clues and his stubborn adherence to the alphabetical order. While there is no apparent symmetry in the logic behind the choosing of the victims, one thing is clear, this is a case most unique and one which could just become the first ever case where Poirot fails to catch the criminal!

One thing that is guaranteed when you pick up an Agatha Christie book is the completely out of the box nature of the crimes and an assurance that by the end you will be left speechless and completely awed!
The same thing happened with me while reading The A.B.C. Murders. The plot is simply ingenious and one which I could never have imagined. The fact that this book was written as far back as in 1936 simply blew away my mind.

The story line is well conceived and executed with expertly planned and thrown twists and turns. In this book, Poirot and Hastings are on the hunt together again which was great. I love the duo, with Hastings' simple naivety which symbolizes the general public and Poirot's infamous "little grey cells" which are rare and I think possessed only by him! :)

The author gives gives her views on the general anticipation of people for colorful, filmy style mysteries with devious and brooding characters which are often so far removed from the real noteworthy crimes that are always "simple". She gives an example of one of her great mysteries, Cards on the Table and which was yet unpublished when this book came out. Similarly, the author uses Hastings and Poirot to give an in depth insight into human motives, actions and their general character which is eye opening and left me with great respect for the author. Only a person who has experienced life and carefully studied human nature can give this much insight and beautifully use her knowledge to give a mystery that makes its place among the top written mysteries of all time.


There are many memorable quotes that stay with you long after you have finished reading the book. Some of the quotes that I liked were:

1) 'Death, mademoiselle, unfortunately creates a prejudice. A prejudice in favor of the deceased...'

2) 'It's like all those quiet people, when they do lose their tempers they lose them with a vengeance..'

3) 'When I know what the murderer is like, I shall be able to find out who he is.'

4) '...Murder, I have often noticed, is a great matchmaker.'

5) 'Our weapon is our knowledge. But remember, it may be a knowledge we may not know that we possess.'

6) 'There is nothing so terrible as to live in an atmosphere of suspicion - to see eyes watching you and the love in them changing to fear - nothing so terrible as to suspect those near and dear to you - It is poisonous - a miasma.'

7) 'Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.' 

8) 'His mind, shrinking from reality, ran for safety along these unimportant details.'

9) “Who are you? You don't belong to the police?'
'I am better than the police,' said Poirot. He said it without conscious arrogance. It was, to him, a simple statement of fact.” 


The characterization is admirably done and each character is diligently kept under suspicion with clues thrown here and there.Their physical appearance is also depicted in such a manner that it is easily relatable to their real character. Agatha Christie keeps one step ahead of the reader throughout and when the climax comes, she succeeds in shocking the reader.

I loved this book through and through. The A.B.C. Murders has great dialogues, expertly developed and very teaching characters and a mystery that stays with the reader long after completing the book. A book that can be read any number of times and which will leave you surprised and awed each time, I give The A.B.C. Murders 5 super shining stars. Go buy and read this book, it is not to be missed! :)


Buying Links
Amazon US: Hardcover | Paperback 
Amazon IN: Paperback | Kindle Ebook
Flipkart: Paperback | EBook

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