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Alice Ascher of Andover is murdered. Betty Barnard of Bexhill-on-Sea is killed. Then Sir Carmichael Clarke of Churston is found dead. Does anyone detect a pattern here? Dapper detective Hercule Poirot certainly does. In fact, prior to each of these alphabetical murders, Poirot receives a taunting note from the killer, giving the time and place of the murder—but Poirot and the police only find dead bodies. And next to the bodies is an ABC Railway Guide. It all seems to be the work of a homicidal maniac, a serial killer who dispatches death in alphabetical order. But then the fourth murder—D in Doncaster—goes awry, and every other chapter or so the standard third-person narrative switches to the point-of-view of a vague, confused fellow who just happens to be named Alexander Bonaparte Cust. This is one of author Agatha Christie’s best mysteries, and Christie (1890-1976) is known as the Queen of Crime. Hercule Poirot is her most famous detective. The neat, eccentric Belgian sleuth with egg-shaped head and sleek mustachios uses his “little grey cells” to observe, reflect, and come up with a flawless solution to every aspect of a seemingly impossible to solve crime. Poirot very nearly meets his match in The ABC Murders, which, even after nearly seventy-five years, remains one of the most ingenious little whodunits out there.
posted Jan 21, 2010 at 10:55PM
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