Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders is a 2019 series.
7 out of 10 stars. Interesting, but a little on the boring side.
In this installment of Hercules Poirot’s career, his best friend Jabb has retired from the police force and there’s a strong anti-immigrant stance in London. Hercules is the latest victim being called a fraud, a liar, and an opportunist. In the midst of this barrage of hatred, he begins receiving letters of a personal and deadly nature. They hint to future murders in the order of the alphabet.
When the letters begin giving clues to the place of the murders, he takes the letters to Inspector Crone at Scotland Yard, Jabb’s replacement. I would like to say Crone is unintelligent, but that would be too kind. He is a halfwit with a chip on his shoulder, played by Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley of Harry Potter fame).
The letter that prompted Hercules’ visit to Crone says a murder is going to take place in Andover. Hercules is persistent enough that Crone has a detective call Andover to see if there were any murders. There were not. So he sends Hercules home after making him the laughing stock of the department.
Not to be stopped, Hercules goes to Andover to investigate the break in at the tobacconist’s shop. The store is owned by Alice Asher and when he arrives he finds her dead. So there was a murder but no one had reported it yet. Near Alice’s body is a train route book opened to the letter A.
While the main story is about the ABC Murderer, which has many twists and turns, the subplot is about Hercules’ past. Crone tells him that Jabb was made the laughing stock of the department because he supported Hercules. But when Scotland Yard looked up Belgium records there was no listing of a Hercules Poirot as a policeman. That’s because he wasn’t and that scene is revealed at the very end.
John Malkovich is an interesting choice for Hercules Poirot. He has a poor French accent and his American accent comes through very clearly most of the time, but his performance is engaging and he is believable as Hercules Poirot. If you’ve seen or read any Agatha Christie mysteries you know what I mean.
This is a three hour series with three episodes. The first hour is probably the hardest to watch because Hercules is being mistreated at every angle. Gone are the adoring and fawning fans. In their place are train conductors and others who spit on him, drop his things, and tell him to “go home to France”. Watching that kind of hatred is hard for anyone. The second and third episode were much easier to watch.
Of all the Agatha Christie series put out in the past four years, including the one with Kenneth Branagh on the mountain train, this is probably my favorite. And I’m picky.
7 out of 10 stars. Wonderful production values.