Review – The ABC Murders (Hercule Poirot #13) by Agatha Christie

9672973A – Ascher in Andover

B – Betty Barnard in Bexhill

C – Carmichael Clarke in Churston

Hercule Poirot receives a letter from someone who signs their name as ABC challenging him to catch them.  They are planning a murder on a specific day in Andover.  When he finds that a murder did occur, he works with the police to try to predict the next move.  The second letter announcing an upcoming murder in Bexhill also comes true.  Then Churston.  Can Poirot catch a serial killer before he works his way through the alphabet?

Another strong mystery from the queen herself.  Written in both 1st and 3rd person, The ABC Murders is well paced and plotted with another cast of interesting characters.  1st person chapters are written from the viewpoint of Arthur Hastings, a friend to Poirot who assists in the investigation.  3rd person chapters are based on scenes where he wasn’t present but had some knowledge based on the investigation.  Hastings is an interesting sidekick for Poirot and his influence and observations helped humanize Poirot and make him more likable.

When a reader works through an author’s library, they learn some of their quirks.  It always surprises me to find that successful authors that have published a multitude of books still make certain, what I consider, errors.  In one case, I found the word “indefatigable” three times on the same page.  What made it most noticeable was that the term hadn’t been used before in this novel and wasn’t used again.  In some ways it is normal.  A writer remembers or thinks of a fitting word that they like.  It’s in their head for a while so it’s used probably more than it should be.  (I’ve seen everyone from Stephen King to Jennifer Estep do this.)  But, when it’s this obvious, why doesn’t a beta reader or editor point it out?  Maybe they do and the author likes it as is.  That’s fine but as I’m reading it does stop the flow of the pages and makes the novel slightly less than it could have been.  Does that make sense or am I really overanalyzing things?

The ending was satisfying and showed that once again Poirot is the smartest detective and no one can touch his deductive capabilities.

Overall a strong addition to the series and extremely well done.  4.5/5 stars.

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