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The ABC. Murders [Mass Market Paperback]

Agatha Christie
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 4 2003 Hercule Poirot (Book 12)
Alice is the first victim. Alphabetically speaking, master Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot figures it's a matter of one down, twenty-five to go.

"A baffler of the first water!" (New York Times)

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"There is no more cunning player of the murder game than Agatha Christie" Sunday Times "A masterwork of carefully concealed artifice... most stunningly original" Julian Symons --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

There’s a serial killer on the loose, workinghis way through the alphabet and the wholecountry is in a state of panic.

A is for Mrs. Ascher in Andover, B is for BettyBarnard in Bexhill, C is for Sir Carmichael Clarkein Churston. With each murder, the killer is gettingmore confident—but leaving a trail of deliberateclues to taunt the proud Hercule Poirot might justprove to be the first, and fatal, mistake.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
IT was in June of 1935 that I came home from my ranch in South America for a stay of about six months. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Let's get one thing straight.... April 9 2004
By Bill
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dame Agatha Christie may have revolutionized the mystery genre, and her detectives are undoubtedly clever, the cases certainly puzzling, and the solutions are deffinatley surprising. The problem is in the superhuman nature of her characters.
(Warning: Plot Spoilers Ahead)
Take the solution to the ABC murders, for example. Somehow, Poirot managed to figure out that Cust was innocent, and unravel an extremely complx murder/frame up plot by one of the victim's family members. Very clever, but by the logic he used, ANY NUMBER OF OTHER SOLUTIONS WOULD BE EQUALLY POSSIBLE. The way he arranges what scant clues he has into this elaborate solution is kind of like trying to solve the New York Times Crossward puzzle with only the clue to 43 down.
And not to mention the fact that her books are so mind-numbingly boring! Absolutely nothing in the way of solving the case happens in between, and the reader finds themselves propelled through the plot by only the curiosity to know the outcome. And sometimes that isn't enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poirot the magician can be tricked but by whom? March 6 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This woman is a killer in murder stories. She has no complex with Sherlock Holmes always in the wings and she is able to do things differently and yet in the tradition. The tradition here is of course the revelation of the real culprit in a conference by Hercule Poirot in the last five pages of the book. The tradition is to use Hercule Poirot's brains more than his magnifying glass. Already a difference in this similarity. But then everything is very different, is in a definitely more modern mood. Hercule Poirot is looking for the psyche of this serial killer and the motivation he has. He follows the line of a madman on the loose and yet keeps his awareness open to facts that could lead to a completely different solution, and sure enough it is the psychology and motivation necessary for these crimes to appear logical that enables Hercule Poirot to tell the name of the killer. This is more important than real evidence which can always be collected afterwards when the mystery is cleared. In other words Agatha Christie is already in 1936 on a « profiling » line that will appear in the world as a standard method only in the 1980s in the FBI to answer the challenge of serial killers. She is in other words postmodern when everyone is nothing but premodern. She is ahead of her times and by at least one if not two generations. The story itself is fabulous in the way it is organized and told. Suspense is perfect. The mystery is dense and dark. The solution is clear and logical. There is only one difficult element : two girls, two victims have a birthday before their murders and their parents or relatives buy them silk stochings for this same reason. This is a little bit coincidental. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Darker Than Usual Tale Feb. 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Poirot has gotten a letter challenging him to stop a murder. He is given the date and location, the letter is signed ABC. The police dismiss the incident as yet another harmless crank letter - until a murder takes place on the day and time stated in the letter and an ABC railway guide is found on the scene. More letters arrive and a pattern begins to form, the killer is working his way through victims and towns alphabetically - Ascher in Andover, Barnard in Bexhill, Clarke in Chruston... Poirot and the police are in pursuit but always it seems a frustrating step behind. Ultimately Poirot is successful of course. The solution to the crime is clever and original, even by Christie standards.
This is a departure from the usual 'cozy' style that is more typical of Christie (ie confined location, murderer and victim know each other, motive clearly established, little focus on the crime itself). This is darker than her usual work, the victims are seemingly chosen at random, the entire country is threatened, and the messages from the killer are reminiscent of Jack the Ripper.
Poirot gives a description of the killer based on the letters and evidence collected at the crime, in a manner that is very like a modern day profiler. Keep in mind that this book was written nearly 80 years ago.
If you are a Christie fan this is definitely a must read but if you are looking for a more comfortable 'cozy' you may find this one a bit disturbing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars five for brilliance, but had major problems... June 30 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
this was my first Agatha Christie book, and she's undoubtedly brilliant, weaves together an exceedingly tight book which flies right along, and is not written for dummies by any means, in case you happen to think murder mysteries were for people who lacked intelligence...
but my problems: shallow emotional depth in characters. I know, you could argue that people don't read murder mysteries for emotional depth, but regardless, this book lacked it. it's just junk food. no substance. well, though not entirely, because she does give out some insightful philosophy near the end, all about intuition versus experienced reasoning, etc., and about really understanding WHY a person does what he does, what really motivates someone.
my question: why, deep inside Agatha Christie, would SHE write a book like this, and I'm convinced that she did because she was brilliant in the emotional sphere she ventured into in her life, but that she was so utterly blocked off from other parts of herself that she was unable to venture into them in her writing. the result: she wrote these kinds of books (well, I've only read one, but I'll assume they suffice for the rest) that looked at just a very SLIM part of the human experience...
also, I think psychologically this book is all unconsciously about the child overcoming the parent, which is a complete fantasy, the child in this case being Poirot and the parents being so many people - the deceptive murderer, the fancy and arrogant police. it's a big ol' grandiose fantasy, and that, I think, is why so many people are drawn to it. I admit, I liked it, and I felt pretty omnipotent reading it and identifying with Poirot...
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok but not great.
I've read multiple Hercule Poirot novels before but this one if not as good as the others.
Published 1 month ago by Yanick D.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, Not Great, Agatha Christie
The A.B.C. Murders strength is also its weakness. It has a very unusual twist. That is typical of the Agatha Christie of the superb Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the... Read more
Published on May 17 2004 by Ricky Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Poirot Mystery
It is the Poirot Mystery I like best. There are few whodunits I want to read again, but this book is the exception. I read this book second time and I love it again. Read more
Published on May 6 2004 by APRICOT
3.0 out of 5 stars an ok book, average
Hercule Poirot is the main detective in a murder mystery where there is a murderer on the loose. This murderer is on a killing spree killing people in alphabetical order. Read more
Published on April 25 2004 by bob bobington xxxvvi
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever twist
If you are a fan of Agatha Christie's, as I am, you may think that you've read all of the clever plot twists that there are, but this book has a real gem of a twist. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2004 by Karen Potts
5.0 out of 5 stars A B C Murders... The best
ABC Murders is one of the best books ever. Agatha Christie makes everything interesting and you never want to put the book down. Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Hercule is challenged in navigating a serial killer's mind
Hugh Fraser narrates Agatha Christie's ABC Murders, an unabridged Hercule Poirot mystery which tells of three murders of ABC Rail employees. Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2003 by Midwest Book Review
4.0 out of 5 stars Agatha Christie is the Queen
It is difficult to write a review of Christie's work, as any hint of the plot could give away a clue. So I'll just say that this is one of her best. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2003 by H. Huggins
5.0 out of 5 stars [A]ltogether [B]rilliant and [C]aptivating!
One of Dame Christie's most famous books, The ABC murders certainly lived up tp its expectation.
The story in brief: The great Hercule Poirot receives a challenge from the... Read more
Published on July 23 2003 by
5.0 out of 5 stars Flower Reviews...
Okay, so maybe 12 year olds shouldn't be reading Agatha Christie books, but I was VERY impressed. I've read classics like 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and, of course, all the Harry... Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2002
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