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Abc Murders Literary Analysis

1082 words - 4 pages

Imagine attempting to expose a highly cautious serial killer who could be anyone living anywhere in the country. In Agatha Christie’s ABC Murders, Hercule Poirot has this exact task placed upon him. A murderer, who only kills in alphabetical order, is on the loose, and Poirot, along with his partner and the police squad, is charged with the case. After a few consecutive murders, clues began to be found as to who “ABC” actually is. A surprising plot twist occurs at the end which has the reader questioning how Monsieur Poirot eventually discovered this careful killer. According to Stanford’s Suggested Reading List, this book is considered a “must read.” Although the novel has its high and low aspects, the plot, setting, characters, conflict, and theme deem this book worthy of Stanford’s highly esteemed list.
The plot is entertaining and suspenseful which allows it to hold up to the standards of the list. Foreshadowing maintains interest, and is a prominent part of the suspenseful nature of the plot. After the first murder of Mrs. Ascher, Hastings believed that the crime is a singular event, but Poirot stated, “This is only the beginning” (Christie 22). The author uses a delightful example of foreshadowing to hint to the later murders. This keeps the plot suspenseful which makes one want to continue reading. After discussing possible coincidences on the day of the murder with the victims’ friends and families, Poirot realized, “I tell you my friends, it cannot be a coincidence. Three crimes---and every time a man selling stockings and spying out the land” (Christie 211). The finding of clues allows the plot to continue, thus maintaining the reader’s interest and preventing the story from becoming too tedious to enjoy. While Monsieur Poirot finished pronouncing the name of the murderer, the narration stated, “Two detectives from Scotland Yard emerged from the next room” (Christie 333). The ends are finally tied up when Franklin Clarke, the serial killer, was dragged into a jail cell by the police.
The setting was an important section of the book and was well described which made it worthy of the list. At the beginning of the novel, Hastings visits Poirot and described, “It was in June of 1935 in England...in one of the newest types of service flats in London...” (Christie 1). This fully depicts the locale in which the two detectives are living. This also aides in the understanding of the story which may have been unclear in parts without this description. Directly after the third letter, the police has formed plans about what to do to try to prevent a third murder which Poirot described, “All persons whose names begin with C are being warned...[in] Churston on the 30th” (Christie 128). All the murders occurred in alphabetical order, including the victim’s name and the town. The setting was highly important in the murders, due to the nature of the murderer. While discussing Poirot’s earlier retirement with Hastings,...

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