A series of murders. Well, quite literally .. an alphabetical one. A killer is on the prowl, murdering people, random people, with seemingly no sane motive. The only method to the madness : people murdered in an alphabetical order of their names and town : Mrs. Ascher in Andover, Miss. Barnard in Bexhill and Sir Clarke in Churston. At the scene of each crime, the murderer leaves an ABC railway guide next to the body. Before each murder, Hercule Poirot receives a letter addressed to him, revealing the name of the town and date when the murder is going to take place; taunting and challenging him to stop the next murder.
Can Poirot, with the help of his old friend Captain Hastings (and part first-person narrator of this story) and the detectives from Scotland Yard out-wit the murderer? Or will he end up running through all the letters of the alphabet?!!
The narrative occasionally breaks from the first-person account of Captain Hastings to third-person account of Alexander Bonaparte Cust, who seems to be not of sound mind; and is in possession of the railway guides.
Who is Mr. Cust? Is he related to the crimes? Is the story more of a why-dunit than a whodunit? Or is there something more than what meets the eye?
It has been years since I have read or re-read an Agatha Christie novel and it felt quite nice to read a good old-fashioned murder mystery, without the trappings of the modern day aids in crime fiction. Deductions made only by analysis, observations, and conversations with the relatives, friends and acquaintances of the victim. I loved the little eccentricities of Poirot and Hasting’s exasperation and impatience with them. Their interactions were endearing!!