I but Poirot and the police always arrive too

I would like to recommend The ABC
Murders by Agatha Christie. I feel that this book is suitable for proficient
readers across all ages aged 8-99.

            The
story revolves around a mysterious serial killer who calls himself ABC and
kills victims in alphabetical order – Mrs Ascher in Andover, Betty Barnard in
Bexhill, and Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston. Before each murder, the killer sends
a letter to the renowned private detective, Hercule Poirot, detailing the crime
to be committed soon, but Poirot and the police always arrive too late. The
killer signs off as ‘ABC’ and then leaves an ABC Railway Guide at the scene of
each crime.

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The identity of the murderer appears
to be obvious early in the story; A series of incriminating evidence leads
Poirot and the police to an individual, whose name acronym is ABC. The case
seems to have come to a close, until an alibi for the alleged killer surfaced.
As with all good mysteries with its twists and turns, it is revealed only at
the very end that the real murderer is a highly intelligent yet scheming
individual who has orchestrated the multiple murders in attempt to create the
impression that his brother has been killed by a serial killer, thereby concealing
the vicious motive of murdering his brother for the inheritance.

The main characters of the story are:

Ø    Hercule
Poirot, the key protagonist in the story, is an observant and exceptionally
logical private detective. Being the recipient of letters sent by the murderer,
he alerts the police to the impending crimes. He plays an active role in
solving the crime and is the only person who saw through the ploy of the
murderer, when even the police are baffled. Poirot occasionally resorts to unscrupulous means of
falsifying evidence to get a full confession from suspects.

Ø    Captain
Arthur Hastings, akin to Watson in the Sherlock Holmes series, is Poirot’s
friend and companion on the case. Complementing Poirot, Hastings notices the
obvious while Piorot picks up on minute details. Hastings plays an instrumental
role in solving the crime. He observes that the third letter is misspelled deliberately
to lead it astray, as the murder wants no chance of the police interrupting
that murder. This crucial observation helps Poirot to eventually deduce the
motive of the crime and the perpetrator.

Ø   
Franklin Clarke is brother of Sir
Carmichael, who is the third victim of the serial killings. A highly
intelligent individual driven by greed, he commits the numerous crimes to draw attention
away from the murder of his brother. He blotches the ‘D’ murder in Doncaster by
killing the wrong person, although there is someone with the initial ‘D’
sitting close by.

Ø    Alexander
Bonaparte Cust is an epileptic travelling salesman who suffers from memory
blackouts and constant headaches. Cust’s memory lapses coupled with evidence planted
by Franklin makes him such a palpable perpetrator, that even Cust himself
believes that he must be guilty and surrenders as the murderer at the police
station.