112 pages 3 hours read

Agatha Christie

The ABC Murders

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1936

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Chapters 27-30

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 27 Summary: “The Doncaster Murder”

Hastings and Poirot enter the police station, where the superintendent takes pains to greet them politely, possibly because he fears they heard Crome’s dismissive tone. The murder victim was a man named George Earlsfield, which deviates from the expected pattern. The next witness, a slightly fussy old man named Downes who Hastings says resembles the frog footman, character from Louis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, recounts failing to awaken the man in the seat in front of him and summoning aid. The senior officer assures him he should be happy he was spared. Downes nearly faints, and the police escort him home, deciding to watch him in case the killer makes another attempt.

Just as Poirot is assuring the officers the killer will soon make an error, a blustering man who owns a lodging house brings in his employee as a witness. She reports her encounter with Cust, his odd behavior and bloody sleeve. Her employer explains they only made the connection when the news of the murder broke and other employees saw Cust sneak out. The maid, Mary, describes Cust as a man who stoops, wars glasses, and is “shabby-looking” (200-01). A junior officer brings in the register, which confirms Cust’s initials, though not his entire name.