This month’s “She Said, She Said” will be on “The A.B.C. Murders” by Agatha Christie. Read on and chime in at the end!
The A.B.C. Murders is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on the 6th of January in 1936 and in the US by Dood, Mead, and Company on the 14th of February of the same year.
The novel follows the eponymous murders and their investigation as seen by Colonel Arthur Hastings, Poirot’s old friend. Poirot receives typed letters signed by A.B.C.. In each is given the date and location of the next murder. A.B.C. moves alphabetically: Alice Ascher is a tobacco shop owner killed in her shop in Andover, Betty Barnard is a flirty waitress killed in Bexhill and Sir Carmichael Clarke is a wealthy man killed at his home in Churston, leaving an ABC railroad guide with each victim. Poirot has two doubts in his mind a) Why would A.B.C. write to him instead of the Scotland Yard or any reputed newspaper?, and b) Why did a meticulous man like A.B.C. misspell Poirot’s address on the Churston letter? ¹
Mom – What do you like most about this book?
Trinity – I think what I liked about it was the way Hercule Poirot went about solving the mystery and the way Agatha Christie wrote the story. She made it so, if you tried hard enough, you could solve the mystery. I like the fact that her character, Hercule Poirot, dared the reader, through the eyes of Hastings, to figure out the mystery along with him.
Mom – Did you figure it out on your own then?
Trinity – I pretty much figured it out.
Mom – How so?
Trinity – For the first two murders, the husband and the fiancé did not benefit from their deaths; while in the third, the brother did.
Mom – So, then you needed to figure out how the three murders were tied together.
Trinity – Agatha Christie will often play a hand so that the person you think is the murderer is not the one who committed the crimes. Knowing this from previous reads, I did not believe Alexander Bonaparte Cust, the main suspect, was the actual murderer.
Mom – Why?
Trinity – In the first two murders, there is nothing to tie the two together. However, coming to the third murder, we see a lot of things that start to arouse curiosity. Therefore, I was looking for something from the third crime to tie in with the first two. I found it in the lies which the third victim’s brother told.
Mom – Do you think you would have been able to solve this mystery, had you been the detective in charge?
Trinity – Maybe; the problem with being the detective is, unlike when your reading, there are scenes that play out which the detectives never see but are crucial to discovering who the real criminal is and, without that knowledge, it is hard to figure out who is the real criminal.
Trinity – Out of all the Agatha Christie novels, was this one of your preferred reads?
Mom – I don’t have a preference. I like all of her stories.
Trinity – If you could choose three things that you thought made this story good, from your point of view, what would they be?
Mom – Um… Wow; I don’t know how to answer that. I don’t think there are any three singular components that make this story well written. I don’t have an answer.
Trinity – Is there a movie on this?
Mom – No, I don’t think so. A lot of her other stories were made into a movie, but not this one. Hold on a moment while I double-check that. (Imagine Jeopardy music playing in the foreground.) Okay… it seems it was an episode on the Hercule Poirot television show. We can look it up later.
Mom – What you might not have known, is that there is a Nintendo DS game based on The A.B.C. Murders, complete with Hercule Poirot!
Trinity – Wow!
Trinity – Is Agatha Christie well-known now a-days?
Mom – Unfortunately; no.
Trinity – What are some Agatha Christie books that you would recommend?
Mom – And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, The Seven Dials; the list is endless. I like pretty much all of them.
Mom – Do you prefer Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple?
Trinity – So far, I have only read one short story about Miss Marple, she seems funny and different. I can’t decide between the two, they are both entertaining. Personally, Hercule Poirot has proved to be very exciting.
Mom – Okay… I think it is time to wrap this up and start considering our next read. Any ideas?
Trinity – No, we’ll have to think of something creative.
Mom – Maybe we’ll have to try some non-fiction, just to liven things up.
Trinity – How is that livening?