I have so many books piled beside my bed to read… but my brain seems a bit empty, so although I have started a book about Sir Francis Walsingham the principal secretary and spymaster of Queen Elizabeth I, plus various book club books, plus a pile of others novels I have bought recently, plus things I have downloaded onto my Kindle… so I have picked up an old Agatha Christie novel, and I’m enjoying that in bed as I drift towards sleep.
I have read it before, I’ve read all of Agatha Christie’s books before – in fact at one time I had all of her books! ‘The A.B.C. Murders’ was first published in 1936, and cost 7s 6d – seven shillings and sixpence. It features Hercule Poirot, his friend and associate, Captain Hastings and Chief Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard. The story is classic Christie; Poirot receives letters signed A.B.C. giving the date and location of the next murder. The murderer moves alphabetically from Alice Ascher, a tobacco shop owner in Andover, to Betty Barnard is a young waitress in Bexhill, and then to Sir Carmichael Clarke who lives in Churston.
It is typical Christie, and is a real page turner – even if it is a little creaky and you soon begin to work out what is going on. Just the sort of thing to settle down in bed with and read before drifting of to sleep.
It’s so easy to criticise Christie, and yet she is an absolute master – or mistress of quickly and efficiently delineating a character, setting a vivid scene, moving the action forward, springing the unexpected – and even if we do guess ‘who-dunnit’ because we have read so many books like it,seen so many TV series and films, she still keeps us turning the pages! I wish I had her skill!
Oh well, back to the A.B.C. murders… I can’t quite remember who did the deeds, nor why, nor how…