One of my early Christies, and a good one despite a highly improbable and meticulous plot. Hercule Poirot receives a disturbing letter from an apparent madman, announcing the date and location of a future murder. The writer signs himself “ABC,” and when the letter proves to be more than a hoax, an ABC Railway Guide is found next to the body of the murdered woman, Alice Ascher. But A is just the beginning. Betty Barnard is next, and then Sir Carmichael Clarke — and all seemingly for the sole purpose of baiting Poirot to match wits with a homicidal maniac.
Some of the characters are a bit one dimensional. The solution to the mystery is rather complicated. There’s a big fat red herring so big, fat, and red that it’s almost unsporting. But I don’t care. Hastings is still humorous, the story moves along at a good clip, the dialogue flows naturally, and of course, Hercule Poirot does his thing. It’s just plain entertaining and isn’t that why we read Agatha Christie in the first place? Fun stuff.