The ABC Murders - Agatha Christie

I've never been into Agatha Christie. Growing up, the nearest I got was when my great aunt gave me Ngaio Marsh's "Colour Scheme", which I read and felt was a bit meh. Since then I've never been a great reader of crime fiction, although for some reason I did get through a giant Sherlock Holmes complete omnibus. I think in some senses that was less about the actual crime fiction, and more about what modern-day action stories looked like 120 years ago.

Anyone who's read a few of my book reviews will know that they're really more about me than the books. So, I'm just going to get side-tracked onto that great aunt of mine. She was lovely and really something of a character. Except, as someone under ten looking at a septegenarian, I never really saw that at the time. It was fascinating to learn more about her later. There you go. It's left me with a little sense of loss of not really getting to know her at the time, but also gratitude for knowing her enough that I can look back on the memories I do have, and fit them into a bigger picture.

Anyway, The ABC Murders. My previous exposure to Agatha Christie was a couple of screen versions of Murder on the Orient Express and glimpses of Suchet's Poirot. My son David had a speech exercise involving reading a passage of The ABC Murders, we got the book, he read it, I was casting around for something light to read, and here we are!

It sounds like a late Poirot - plenty of characters talking about how they're getting on. In the great tradition of these things, the mystery is documented by Poirot's sidekick, Hastings. Poirot acts like you'd expect Poirot to act, even if your knowledge of the character is basically cultural background radiation. The story itself is quite fun. Early on it telegraphs an obvious solution, and keeps hammering away at it, so you know a twist is coming. In the end, that twist is not surprising - while I didn't guess the exact murderer, I guessed the gist of it.

It's fun, enough. Does it encourage me to start reading the rest? Not really.

Posted 2021-06-17.