I would like to recommend The ABC
Murders by Agatha Christie. I feel that this book is suitable for proficient
readers across all ages aged 8-99.
story revolves around a mysterious serial killer who calls himself ABC and
kills victims in alphabetical order; Mrs Ascher in Andover, Betty Barnard in
Bexhill, and Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston. Before each murder, the killer sends
a letter to the renowned private detective, Hercule Poirot, detailing the crime
to be committed soon, but Poirot and the police always arrive too late. The
killer signs off as ‘ABC’ and then leaves an ABC Railway Guide at the scene of
The identity of the murderer appears
to be obvious as the story progresses. A series of incriminating evidence leads
Poirot and the police to an individual, whose name acronym is ABC. The case
seems to have come to a close, until an alibi for the alleged killer surfaced.
As with all good mysteries with its twists and turns, it is eventually revealed
that the real murderer is a highly intelligent yet scheming individual who orchestrates
the multiple murders in attempt to conceal his vicious motive of murdering his
brother for the inheritance. Instead, he wants to create the impression that
his brother has been killed by a serial killer.
The main characters of the story are:
Poirot, the key protagonist in the story, is an observant and exceptionally
logical private detective. Poirot has solved multiple mysteries under the Hercule
Poirot series. Being the recipient of letters sent by the murderer, he alerts
the police to the impending crimes. He plays an active role in solving the
crime and is the only person who saw through the ploy of the murderer, when
even the police are baffled. Poirot
occasionally resorts to unscrupulous means of falsifying evidence to get a full
confession from suspects.
Arthur Hastings, akin to Watson in the Sherlock Holmes series, is Poirot’s
friend and companion on the case. Complementing Poirot, Hastings notices the
obvious, while Piorot picks up on minute details. Hastings plays an
instrumental role in solving the crime. He observes that the third letter is misspelled
intentionally to lead it astray, as the murder wants no chance of the police
interrupting that murder. This crucial observation helps Poirot to eventually deduce
the motive of the crime and the perpetrator.
Franklin Clarke is brother of Sir
Carmichael, who is the third victim of the serial killings. Franklin is the cold-blooded
serial murderer; whose real intention is to murder his brother to seize his
inheritance. A highly intelligent individual driven by greed, he committed the numerous
crimes to draw attention away from the murder of his brother. He blotches the ‘D’
murder in Doncaster by killing the wrong person, although there is someone with
the initial ‘D’ sitting close by.
Bonaparte Cust is an epileptic travelling salesman who suffers from memory
blackouts and constant headaches as a result of head injury during the war. He
is framed by Franklin as the murder suspect. Cust’s memory lapses coupled with planted
evidence makes him such a palpable perpetrator, that even Cust himself believes
that he must be guilty and surrenders himself as the murderer at the police