It was in June of 1935 that I came home from my ranch in South America for a stay of about six months.
I liked The A.B.C. Murders. But I didn't love it. I'm not sure why. It had Hastings, the same narrator found in The Mysterious Affair at Styles; and, of course, it had Hercule Poirot. (My favorite of the three Poirot mysteries that I've read this year would probably be Murder on the Orient Express.) It had four murders instead of one, which is perhaps, why it wasn't love--for me. Instead of following the clues for one murder, instead of narrowing in on the motives for wanting one person dead, instead of figuring out who had the most to gain from the death, and all the 'good stuff' revealed along the way, Poirot is trying to outwit a serial killer. The crimes appear to be randomly connected--by the alphabet--as you can imagine. But are these murders random?
Poirot is taking this case personally because the killer has been sending him notes--warnings--about the crimes before they're committed. He's challenging Poirot, daring him to be clever enough to solve the crimes and identify him. He's an arrogant man, a seemingly insane man, who hides behind the initials ABC.
As I said, I liked this one. I don't regret reading it. And at the time I was reading I certainly found it entertaining enough. (I just had to read until I found out who the killer was.)
"Who are you? You don't belong to the police?"
"I am better than the police," said Poirot. He said it without conscious arrogance. It was, to him, a simple statement of fact. (90)
The spoken word and the written--there is an astonishing gulf between them. there is a way of turning sentences that completely reverses the original meaning. (122)
"Words, mademoiselle, are only the outer clothing of ideas." (132)
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews