The ABC murders
Read the book today. I decided to give this one a three star rating (average goodreads rating is 3.88). I can’t really talk about my motivations for doing so without providing spoilers.
A good thing about the book is that she once or twice moves very close to the fourth wall – I love when authors play around with that stuff. I decided to add a few illustrative quotes from the book (which I highly doubt will spoil the book for you) below:
[Poirot is bored, and so he and Hastings start talking about what a ‘creamy crime’ (the ideal mystery) for them to investigate would be like:]
“”Robbery? Forgery? No, I think not. Rather too vegetarian. It must be murder […] “Who shall the victim be — man or woman? Man, I think. Some bigwig. American millionaire. Prime Minister. Newspaper proprietor. Scene of the crime — well, what’s wrong with the good old library? Nothing like it for atmosphere. As for the weapon — well, it might be a curiously twisted dagger — or some blunt instrument — a carved stone idol—”
“Or, of course,” I said, “there’s poison—but that’s always so technical. Or a revolver shot echoing in the night. Then there must be a beautiful girl or two—”
“With auburn hair,” murmured my friend.
“Your same old joke. One of the beautiful girls, of course, must be unjustly suspected — and there’s some misunderstanding between her and a young man. And then, of course, there must be some other suspects — an older woman — dark, dangerous type — and some friend or rival of the dead man’s — and a quiet secretary — dark horse — and a hearty man with a bluff manner — and a couple of discharged servants or gamekeepers or somethings — and a damn fool of a detective rather like Japp — and well — that’s about all.”
“That’s your idea of the cream, eh?”
“I gather you don’t agree?”
Poirot looked at me sadly.
“You have made there a very pretty résumé of nearly all detective stories that have ever been written.””
“”You have the melodramatic soul, Hastings. You would like, not one murder, but a series of murders.”
“I admit,” I said, “that a second murder in a book often cheers things up. If the murder happens in the first chapter, and you have to wait to follow up everybody’s alibi until the last page but one — well, it does get a bit tedious.”
“”Your aunt never thought of freeing herself by legal means from this persecution?”
“Well, you see, he was her husband, sir, you couldn’t get away from that.”
The girl spoke simply but with finality.
“Tell me, Mary, he threatened her, did he not?”
“Oh, yes, sir, it was awful the things he used to say. That he’d cut her throat, and such like.”” (but then again he was her husband, so… Aargh!)
[Setting: They’ve almost only just started out with the case, there were zero witnesses to the crime and pretty much no clues. Poirot and Hastings are talking to each other…]
“”The crime,” said Poirot, “was committed by a man of medium height with red hair and a cast in the left eye. He limps slightly on the right foot and has a mole just below the shoulder blade.”
“Poirot?” I cried.
For the moment I was completely taken in. Then the twinkle in my friend’s eye undeceived me.
“Poirot!” I said again, this time in reproach.
“Mon ami, what will you? You fix upon me a look of dog-like devotion and demand of me a pronouncement à la Sherlock Holmes! Now for the thruth – I do not know what the murderer looks like, nor where he lives, nor how to set hands upon him.“