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The ABC Murders

Page history last edited by Jon 10 years, 3 months ago

Christie, Agatha - The ABC Murders / The Alphabet Murders (1936)


Review by Nick Fuller




One of Christie's triumphs: an original plot, a masterpiece of telling the truth and making it lie, and a successful application of Anthony Berkeley's favourite gambit (similarities to The Silk Stocking Murders and to Chesterton's "The Sign of the Broken Sword" are obvious; comparisons, however, are not only obvious but odious). Poirot is in magnificent form; with the (limited) assistance of Captain Hastings and the victims' relations, and spurred on by rivalry with the obnoxious Inspector Crome, he investigates a series of seemingly random murders across England and in various social milieux (working-class Andover, middle-class Bexhill-on-Sea, the gentry of Churston), linked only by the presence of the A.B.C. Guide and of the sinister Mr. Cust. The grisly series comes to its close in the melting-pot of Doncaster. Perplexed, however, by the psychological anomaly embodied in Cust, and by his possession of a cast-iron alibi for one of the crimes, Poirot reasons from psychological clues to produce a profile of the murderer, which he proves with physical clues.

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