The ABC Murders

25 Favourites

Poirot is challenged by a serial killer to figure out the clues behind the ABC murders. Can Poirot stop the mysterious killer before it's too late?

"If Mrs. Christie ever deserts fiction for crime, she will be very dangerous: no one but Poirot will catch her."

Times Literary Supplement, 11th January 1936



About this story

First released

January 1936 (novel, Collins)

Genre

  • Murder Mystery, 
  • Detective

Formats

  • Novel, 
  • Television Film, 
  • Radio Play, 
  • Game, 
  • TV, 
  • Anime, 
  • Manga

Recurring characters

  • Poirot, 
  • Chief Inspector Japp, 
  • Hastings

Murder methods

A challenge to Poirot’s detective skills – can he stop the ABC murderer before it’s too late?

This story was a departure from Agatha Christie’s usual style, tackling the modern figure of the serial killer and the psychology behind it. Psychoanalytic theory was increasingly popular in the late 1930s and while the police officers cite contemporary theories, Poirot notably refrains from using that terminology. Christie also used this novel to continue her experiments with point of view, following the footsteps of her favourite author Charles Dickens, as she switches between first and third person narration.

Its ingenious plot ...

Read more

A challenge to Poirot’s detective skills – can he stop the ABC murderer before it’s too late?

This story was a departure from Agatha Christie’s usual style, tackling the modern figure of the serial killer and the psychology behind it. Psychoanalytic theory was increasingly popular in the late 1930s and while the police officers cite contemporary theories, Poirot notably refrains from using that terminology. Christie also used this novel to continue her experiments with point of view, following the footsteps of her favourite author Charles Dickens, as she switches between first and third person narration.

Its ingenious plot has been cited in several other publications, including Michael Innes’ 1945 novel, Appleby’s End and the manga Detective Conan.

As one of Agatha Christie’s most surprising works, it’s been adapted many times. The first was in 1965, with Tony Randall taking on the role of Poirot in a comic film version called The Alphabet Murders. In it Margaret Rutherford made an uncredited cameo appearance as Miss Marple. In 1992 it was adapted for TV as part of the long running series Agatha Christie’s Poirot, with David Suchet in the title role, alongside Hugh Fraser (Hastings) and Philip Jackson (Japp). BBC Radio 4 dramatised the story in 2004. John Moffatt was Poirot. Later the same year the Japanese manga of the story was released, accompanied by its anime version which aired on NHK in four parts for the series Agatha Christie’s Great Detectives: Poirot and Marple (Agasa Kurisutī no Meitantei Powaro to Māpuru). The series connected the two detectives by having Miss Marple’s great-niece team up with Poirot to solve the mystery. A Malayalam film titled Grandmaster was produced in 2012 which, although it suggests it was inspired by the story, bears little resemblance to the original.

2009 saw Agatha Christie’s first Nintendo DS adaptation; players take on the role of Hastings, investigating crime scenes and interviewing suspects. It also offered the choice of a different murderer, for players familiar with the original story.



More about Poirot

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Still1.jpg

Find out more about the brilliant Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. From the actors who've played him, clips of shows, fan art and Agatha Christie's own thoughts on his character.

More on Poirot

Poirot reading list

PoirotReadingList.jpg

Download our checklist of all the stories Hercule Poirot featured in. Have you read them all?

Download the reading list

Other stories you may like...