The ABC Murders First Edition Cover 1936. The novel was well received in the UK and the The abc murders by agatha christie pdf when it was published.
One reviewer said it was “a baffler of the first water,” while another remarked on Christie’s ingenuity in the plot. A reviewer in 1990 said it was “A classic, still fresh story, beautifully worked out. Returning from South America, Arthur Hastings meets with his old friend, Hercule Poirot, at his new flat in London, who shows him a mysterious letter, signed “A. Poirot suspects it will be a murder. Two more letters of the same nature soon arrive to his flat, each prior to a murder being carried out by A. In each murder, an ABC railway guide is left beside the victim.
Dr Thomson, who tries to profile the killer. Thora Grey, Carmichael’s young assistant. Poirot’s address, causing delayed receipt of it. However, the murderer strikes at a cinema hall instead, in which the victim’s name does not match the pattern of the other killings. Cust flees his apartment, but collapses upon arriving at the Andover police station, where he is taken into custody.
When questioned, he claims a stocking firm hired him. While he lacks any memory of committing the murders, he believes he must be guilty of them, as he had been at the cinema hall when the last murder occurred, and found blood on his sleeve and a knife in his pocket after he left. The police learn that the firm in question never hired Cust. Their search of his room turns up an unopened box of ABC railway guides, and the typewriter and fine paper used in A. Poirot doubts Cust’s guilt because of his memory blackouts, especially as he had a solid alibi for the Bexhill murder. Calling a Legion meeting, Poirot denounces one of its members, Franklin Clarke, as the A.
Lady Clarke is slowly dying from cancer, and upon her death, Carmichael would likely marry his assistant. Franklin feared a possible second marriage, as he wanted his brother’s wealth, and stood to lose greatly as a result under such circumstances, thus he chose to murder his brother while Lady Clarke was alive. A chance encounter with Cust at a pub gave Franklin the idea for the murder plot. After typing the letters, Franklin pretended to set up Cust with a job, and gave him the typewriter and other items, knowing these and his memory blackouts would make it easy to frame him for the murders. A suggestion by Hastings revealed the third letter was misspelled intentionally, as Franklin wanted no chance of the police interrupting that murder. Franklin planted the knife on Cust, after following him to the cinema hall and then committing the last murder while Cust was there. Franklin laughs off Poirot’s theory, but panics when he is told that his fingerprint was found on Cust’s typewriter key, and that Milly Higley, a co-worker of Betty, had seen him in her company.