It’s like all those quiet people, when they do lose their tempers they lose them with a vengeance. Agatha Christie
Yes, it’s another Poirot book. Anyone that knows me well enough will know I love these stories and I’m always in the mood to read them. I was struggling to pick which book to read last week since I’d picked up four new ones at a library sale and was so spoilt for choice I ended up going back to something familiar whilst deciding which of the four new ones to read – saying this I have a bookcase full of books that were once new but are yet to be read.
ABC Murders is told mainly from Arthur Hastings’ point of view as a recounted story of his visit to see our favourite Belgian detective. So far I have not come across any of the Poirot books with Hastings in so I really enjoyed getting to know the character through this first person account of events. I also appreciated the quick bits of humour dotted in-between serious moments, this is one of the things I like most about Christie’s Poirot books, despite the usually very sad and mysterious themes there is always time for a little joke either about Poirot’s famous moustache or in this case Hastings’ unconscious humming.
This story from the off gives us someone to pin our suspicions on “ABC” himself and that this story would just follow his decent into further madness before Poirot catches him, but as you know we would be wrong to assume anything is straightforward in the mind of Christie. We follow a series of murders with no obvious motive other than they are being committed in alphabetical order and the only connection between them is that Poirot has received letters detailing where the crimes would happen beforehand but no information as to who was being killed or why they were happening.
We pick up characters throughout the story who play an important part in leading Poirot to the killer. There is a simplicity in the Poirot stories that I felt got a little lost in this one, without giving the game away I thought that the ending seemed a little far-fetched and the mindset of A.B. Cust was not made clear enough to believe his delusions through the final pages. Although the twist ending was satisfactory for any murder mystery fan I couldn’t help feel that as a reader we were lead too much in the wrong direction for the ending to be believable for me.
With this in mind I did still enjoy the book, I enjoyed waiting for the next letter with Hastings and Poirot and following the duo from Andover to Bexhill, Churston to Doncaster chasing the now infamous ABC murderer, I just wish there had been a few more pages detailed A.B. Cust’s delusions earlier in the book, not necessarily to raise doubt of his guilt but to just explain that everything isn’t as it seems with him, or in fact, with this story in general.