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When Alice Asher Is Murdered In Andover, Hercule Poirot Is Already On To The Clues Alphabetically Speaking, It S One Down, Twenty Five To GoThere S A Serial Killer On The Loose His Macabre Calling Card Is To Leave The ABC Railway Guide Beside Each Victim S Body But If A Is For Alice Asher, Bludgeoned To Death In Andover And B Is For Betty Bernard, Strangled With Her Belt On The Beach At Bexhill Then Who Will Victim C Be Agatha Christie is a WITCH I don t know how but she manages to confound me EVERY TIME I read one of her books Specially, with this one You re going with the story, reading with a flow, building up to the climax, and then suddenly whatever you were thinking is snatched away from you, and you begin to look at the things in a way that you never thought of until now.And to do her justice, not only was this story and any of her others thrilling, but it had an element of reality better than most of her counterparts no comparisons And here s an example, in the words of Poirot And it is very true when a young girl is dead, that is the kind of thing that is said She was bright She was happy She was sweet tempered She had not a care in the world She had no undesirable acquaintances There is a great charity always to the dead Do you know what I should like this minute I should like to find someone who knew Elizabeth Barnard and who does not know she is dead Then, perhaps, I should hear what is useful to me the truth Skip this paragraph to avoid spoilers At one point of time in the book, I felt I was going to be disappointed, because up to the last the crimes were attributed to mental illness, and what fun is in that I had my doubts deep within, but they were too deep to have any effect on what I was reading.But when we came to the typical Christie climax scene, a room full of people, and Poirot giving his dramatic explanation, that is when the cloud from in front of my eyes cleared and I praised one of the best writers of detective stories ever Agatha Christie is such a crafty devil that midway through a novel she might have you believing that YOU are the murderer Indeed, The ABC Murders uses slight of hand most deftly Again, I was thrown off the scent of the real killer and was ready to blame others I feel a bit foolish when she dangles bait in front of me, and although I guess it for what it is, I take it anyway And yet, if ever it felt good to be played the fool, it s while reading a cracking good mystery Ah, but never fear, Hercule Poirot is here Christie may make him out to be the retired old sleuth past his prime, but she s used that line on us before and we know the little man with the peculiar accent and fantastic mustaches won t let us down In this story, he is put on his guard by the personal nature of the murderer s actions He is not quite as flippant as he can be, in fact, he seems downright disconcerted at times It makes for a nice change in the character After sampling a few shorter Poirot stories, it felt liberating to read something that stretched and breathed a bit While the shorts feel like wham bam thank you ma am, this makes you feel like you ve been wined and dined Christie even gets all psychological on this one Not only in how she delves into the minds of the suspects, but the 1st person 3rd person narration switches made The ABC Murders seem that much cerebral Seriously, she may not go down as the most clever author of all time, but I like that she tried these sorts of techniques Rating A 4 star book that gets an extra star for captivating me almost from start to finish Back when I had an Audible subscription I acquired 2 literature courses and one of them is called The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction It is a history of the genre and its many ramifications There are quite a few books mentioned and I am planning to read most of them as they appear in the lectures Since Agatha Christie is one of the most important personalities in the history of Crime fiction among Poe, Doyle, Hammett and Chandler her works are extensively present in these lectures The first novel I encountered by her is the ABC murders and this is why I decided to read it as my 2nd Christie I doubt anyone contests her talent to write amazing, clever, twisting crime novels Time passed well over the pages of her works and I feel that they will continue to be enjoyed many years from now She managed to surprise me this time as well and I enjoyed the reveal at the end although I had intuited who the murderer was This time, Hercule Poirot faces a direct challenge from a serial killer He is sent letters from the perpetrator announcing in advance where the murders will take place As the title suggest, the killer chooses his her victims and crime location in alphabetic order I enjoyed reading this little book and my only regret was that I had no time to absorb it in one go and had to settle for a few pages day My next Christie will probably be The murder of Roger Akcroyd. Aggie, you wily old bird You got me again