Serial killers are fascinating to me only because of the obsessive quality of their work; I don’t really care for the actual murder part of it… Which probably explains why I enjoy Agatha Christie’s work. Her cases, though involving the sordid occurrence of the death of one or more human beings, always steer away from any suggestion of violence or mess: “Ooh. There’s a cadaver, let’s see who made it.”
The ABC Murders, though not considered one of Christie’s best, is interesting as it brings Christie’s style to the personality of a serial killer. The sequence of murders is in alphabetical order, and they are all announced by a note giving warning.
After that setup, however, the rest of the book is classic Christie. Poirot enters stage right and, though others appear to be leading the investigation, takes command. He guides us through the plot and reminds us to keep an open mind even when things appear to be leaning strongly in one direction.
His cryptic comments keeping everyone honest are the reason this one stays fair, and I’ll give it high marks in that regard. Also, readability is supreme, as is the obsession factor to know whodunnit. I read it in a single day, unable to go to bed without knowing how it finished.
High marks and a good place to keep going once you’ve read the obvious candidates (Roger Ackroyd, Orient Express).
Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine novelist whose novel Outside is science fiction, but with an underlying mystery that should make Christie fans happy. You can check it out here.