abc“Poirot shook his head energetically.  ‘You are in error, my friend.  You do not understand my meaning.  A robbery would be a relief since it would dispossess my mind of the fear of something else.’

‘Of what?’

Murder,’ said Hercule Poirot.” –  p 17

Now that I’ve finally read one of the Miss Marple mysteries, I feel it only fair that I dip my toe into the pond of Poirot.  My husband has claimed that the Poirot murders far exceed the Marple ones in quality, so I picked up the first one listed – apparently one of the later ones chronologically.

In this Poirot novel, Hastings has returned to visit England, and of course he drops in on his old friend.  Poirot has recently received a strange letter, claiming that the author will commit a crime on a certain date in Andover.  Poirot is worried by this letter, and when an elderly woman is found murdered on the exact date the letter stated, with an A.B.C. railway guide near her body, both Poirot and Hastings are drawn into the murderer’s game.

Every few weeks like clockwork, the letters appear, taunting both Poirot and the police with plans of yet another murder, following an alphabetical bent in both the location and the selection of victims, with no reason behind them.

I will concur with Jason that I did enjoy Poirot’s method of dealing with a murderer rather more than I liked Marple’s.  With a Poirot murder (and I feel a little self-conscious writing this, having only read one of each) you are given all the clues to figure out who the murderer is.  With a Marple murder, you aren’t given all the pieces and are usually forced to make an assumption of some sort.

Also, I’m not entirely sure this is the best book to judge Hercule Poirot by.  In this book, the murderer is actively working to foil Poirot, has targeted him specifically.  Having not read any of the other books completely (we’re reading “Evil Under the Sun” now), I am not sure if this is normal for the detective.  But, whatever the case, I’m completely hooked on Agatha Christie, despite my not having a preference for mysteries.

“The A.B.C. Murders” was written by Agatha Christie, and published in 1935.