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Publisher's Summary

There's a serial killer on the loose, working his way through the alphabet and the whole country is in a state of panic.

A is for Mrs. Ascher in Andover, B is for Betty Barnard in Bexhill, C is for Sir Carmichael Clarkein Churston. With each murder, the killer is getting more confident - but leaving a trail of deliberate clues to taunt the proud Hercule Poirot might just prove to be the first, and fatal, mistake.

©1936 Agatha Christie Limited (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers

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Average Customer Ratings

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Gets lost early on, strong finish.

More high quality narration from Hugh Fraser. Like The Pale Horse, this can be hard to stick with. It is inaccessible at times relative to the rest of the pantheon. But it's worth staying with it. Enjoy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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First Serial Murder Case Told by Hastings

Another installment illustrations the methodical workings of Hercule Poirot's little gray cells. Rather fantastic seeming, the first serial murder case Hastings has told us about. The alphabetical nature did have me wondering. I liked the new investigative legion of victims' family/friends to help hone in on the culprit. I particularly liked a comment Poirot made about how conversation was the undoing of concealment and his quoting that speech was man's invention to prevent thinking. He hinged much throughout the investigation on what would come to light in the course of discussion - and, of course, he was right. And as always he (and the narrative) employed a little misdirection and suggestion while the pieces fell into place. Leading up to the traditional reveal scene I still had no clue how the explanation would go...my suspicions had been thoroughly diverted. Until he said something in the early moments of his speech about the nature and personality of the killer, and it suddenly dawned on me. Still a nice little surprise or two in the denouement after that. Trusty narrator Fraser again did not disappoint, incorporating numerous voices and accents to distinguish not only the traditional cast but more than a dozen other major and minor players. An interesting mystery, unique in many ways, and yet still classic Christie / Poirot style.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Jolly good mystery!

I really do enjoy these well-narrated Agatha Christie novels, and this one doesn't disappoint. Although I'm not a huge fan of the egotistical Poirot, I am a big fan of Christie's mysteries and her (other) characters and, yes, Poirot is growing on me, if only as a somewhat laughable genius.

This mystery involves a series of alphabetical murders - the person's name and their town, running down the alphabet - that have been fortold in a series of taunting letters sent to Poirot, daring him to stop them or solve them. For reasons that later become apparent, it takes Poirot to the fourth murder (in Doncaster) to solve the problem and find the murder. In the interim, there are suspects, witnesses, red herrings, subtle clues, and a roulette wheel.

I recently found out that the character of Arthur Hastings (Poirot's friend who chronicles many of his adventures in several Agatha Christie novels) was played for almost 25 years on TV by the narrator of this book, Hugh Fraser. A nice match.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • PITTSBURGH, PA, United States
  • 06-17-17

One of AC's masterpieces

I know "masterpiece" is supposed to refer to one work. However In Agatha Christie's case there are a handful that are really special. This is one of them. I read this many years ago so I knew the ending. I still thoroughly enjoyed the listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent reading.

First book. Never read Agatha Christie's books. Loved the reading. Will read more. Love the service.

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Doesn't compare to murder on the orient express

The plot of this story really didn't grip me and I also didn't like the way it was told through poirot's friend. Not at all comparable to murder on the orient express. If you haven't read that, you must.

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Hugh Fraser superb

Superb job Mr. Fraser. Absolutely perfect Hastings did this. You are the best Hastings ever.

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Superb

Hugh Frasier's narrations are always wonderful in these Poirot stories. His range of tones and accents is incredible.

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Always

I always love Agatha!s books. I'm almost done with them all and then what! I'll listen again?

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Good but not great

This one is suppose to be one of her best but for my taste it did not keep me coming back to listen like some of her other stories