The ABC Murders: An A to Z

We’ve worked with Agatha Christie expert Chris Chan to explore facts about The ABC Murders and its various iterations.

AThe ABC Railway Guide is a recurring motif throughout the story. The original ABC alphabetical railway guide was published in 1853. It was an extensive guide to train timetables and ticket prices in the UK, which also detailed recommended routes as well as places to stay at your destination.
BBexhill-on-Sea is the location of the second murder in the book. The seaside town (population: 43K), was used in the 2018 adaptation of The ABC Murders.
CCards on the Table and Curtain, both Poirot novels published after The ABC Murders, have their plots foreshadowed in conversations Poirot has in The ABC Murders.
DDavid Suchet once stated that his adaption of The ABC Murders was his favourite episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot.
EEgotism is a key characteristic of the ABC killer – arrogance emanates from the letters they write to taunt Poirot.
FFirst- and third-person narration alternate in the novel, which reflects Christie's continuing experiments with narration styles and perspectives.
GGreenway House, Christie’s holiday home, is just down the road from the real-life village of Churston in Devon where murder number three happens. Greenway is now open to the public, and owned by the National Trust.
HHastings narrates the 1936 novel. The character would only narrate two more Poirot novels after The ABC Murders: Dumb Witness (1937) and Curtain: Poirot's Last Case (1975). He would also make a one-line flash-forward cameo in Evil Under the Sun (1941).
I Inspector Crome is the policeman put in charge of the case of the ABC murderer. He is described as a ‘younger inspector’, and is played by Rupert Grint in the 2018 adaptation of the show.
JJapp was played by Philip Jackson in the Agatha Christie's Poirot TV adaptation and the BBC radio adaptation of The ABC Murders.
KKillers with multiple victims, such as A B C., are today known as "serial killers," but that term wasn't yet created when Christie published her book in 1936.
L Les Petits Meurtres d' Agatha Christie, the French series inspired by Christie's work, opened its regular series with an adaptation of The ABC Murders, not featuring Poirot.
MMargaret Rutherford makes a cameo appearance as Miss Marple in The Alphabet Murders, which is to date the only time Poirot and Marple appear on-screen together in a live-action adaptation of Christie's works.
NNotebooks discovered by John Curran show that Christie originally planned for the killer to be the intended fourth victim who "escaped" an attack. The earliest notes also have no references to the alphabetical link to the crimes.
OOld age is creeping up on Poirot and his friends in this story. Poirot has taken to dyeing his hair and moustache. It is “suspiciously black” (See ‘R’).
PPsychology had recently become a subject of study, and the detectives and Poirot discuss complexes such as paranoia and the Oedipus complex in the novel, when considering the murderer. Crome is on the case because of his working knowledge of psychology.
Q"Quelle idée!" is an exclamation often used by Poirot. In this story, he uses it when another character describes his obsession with method and order as a disease!
RRevivit is the brand of hair dye Poirot uses in the novel, an attempt to disguise his ageing visage.
SScotland Yard plays a pivotal role in the novel. The impressive Bradford City Council building was used as the police station in the 2018 adaptation.
TTony Randall played Poirot in the big-screen movie adaptation The Alphabet Murders.
U – “Unutterable little jackanapes of a foreigner” shouts one character to Poirot, calling our attention to Poirot’s personal background. His Belgian refugee roots and the wider xenophobia in 1930s Britain are explored further in the 2018 adaptation.
V – A video game of The ABC Murders was released on Nintendo DS in 2009. Players could either use the original ending or have a different murderer selected as a playing possibility.
WWhitehaven Mansions is Hercule Poirot’s London home. When one of the letters from ABC is sent to the wrong address, Poirot arrives too late to stop a murder.
XX is the name of Clive Morton's character in The Alphabet Murders, a mysterious figure connected to the crimes.
YYorkshire played a key role in filming the 2018 adaptation of The ABC Murders. Scenes were shot in Grosmont, Leeds, Pickering, Ripon, Skelton-on-Ure and Wakefield.
Z – Robert Barnard, literary critic and mystery writer, referred to the book as "A total success– but thank God she didn't try taking it through to Z" in his book A Talent to Deceive.

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