112 pages 3 hours read

Agatha Christie

The ABC Murders

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1936

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Age and Youth

The novel opens with Hastings and Poirot discussing Poirot’s appearance when the two are reunited; he seems to have defied time as his hair remains dark in color. Poirot lets Hastings believe he may have carried off a magical feat, finally producing a bottle of hair dye. Hastings, for all of his lack of depth as a character, shows the most emotion when Inspector Japp suggests his own hair is thinning, or alludes to Poirot solving his own murder. Hastings notes, peevishly, “Poirot, poor old chap, is getting on. Jokes about his approaching demise can hardly be agreeable to him” (11).

The theme develops further as Poirot and Hastings investigate the murders and meet those close to the deceased. Poirot and Hastings are both struck by the pitiful circumstances of the Alice Ascher, the killer’s first victim, a woman in her sixties. Poirot insists that “she must have been beautiful once” (25), and both he and Hastings are struck by the dead woman’s wedding photo, particularly how much she and her husband have altered for the worse by time and the latter’s alcoholism.

The second victim, Betty Barnard, was a very young woman, and much is made of her life cut short and the grief of her aging parents.