Saturday, March 21, 2020

Reviewing Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders Mini-Series

Agatha Christie Mini Series - The ABC Murders
Yes, that's a grown up Ron Weasley
playing a Scotland Yard dectectiv
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I have to put my hand up and say I'm an Agatha Christie fan from decades back and one of the books that I liked was the ABC Murders, I loved the twist in this novel.

Adapting a book to a mini-series always presents challenges in keeping true to the author for their fans while also ensuring it works well for today's audiences.   I feel that when they adapted And Then There Were None they really captured that well.   In this case I feel conflicted.

As I said I enjoyed this book immensely, but having finished the three part mini-series I'm not sure if I liked it or not!   I was intrigued with the casting of John Malkovich in the role of Hercule Poirot and I think he makes a surprisingly refreshing change to David Suchet or Peter Ustinov.

The problem for me was that key elements of the story was changed, one of the key players wasn't in the mini-series and two of the other players had totally different roles, in fact I was very surprised by a certain death that occurred.

While watching it the thing that I really didn't find added anything to the mini-series was flashbacks that Poirot was having to his time before arriving in the UK and at the end you see what role he supposedly had before leaving Belgium which is completely at odds with the character Dame Christie created.

If I wasn't as familiar with Hercule Poirot I might not have minded the liberties taken and it may have added something, but I'm not sure.   It has left me feeling very conflicted about whether or not to recommend this series.

When it comes to one of the main characters lodgings in London, the series certainly makes them a lot seedier than my imagination created in my mind as I read the book.

I was grateful that they didn't change who the killer was because at one point I thought they were going to make it a different person which would've been insane (in my opinion).   I did like the reveal after the murderer was revealed.   Instead of the almost iconic Poirot gathering of the characters for his big reveal they went with the power of television to give flashbacks of key scenes.

Do I recommend this series?   I really am conflicted so I will just say if you are an Agatha Christie purist absolutely not.   If you haven't read the book then I think you might enjoy this.   I would be intrigued to know your thoughts if you do decide to check this miniseries out.

If you've not heard of the ABC Murders before then it basically starts with Hercule Poirot getting letters from someone who signs himself ABC ..... and then the murders begin. 

The first is Alice Asher in Andover, the second is Betty Barnard in Bexhill, you get the idea.   Next to each murder victim a copy of London's ABC (the famous railway guide) is left opened at the appropriate letter.   Each destination is one that has a connection with Poirot and the letters are addressed to him almost taunting him to participate in the murderer's 'game'.

The story is set in 1930s London and the backdrop shows the rising fascist movement and anti-immigrants movement which adds to the bleakness that accompanies Poirot's traumatic flashbacks.


The ABC Murders on Amazon Prime
Click here to get the ABC Murders on Prime Video

 
Now I watched this on the ABC channel in Australia (which I thought was kind of ironic!), but I could've watched it on Amazon Prime.   I do love Amazon Prime and have enjoyed watching shows such as Jack Ryan and Good Omens on there.




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5 comments:

  1. Oh, my! As a huge Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie fan, I'm not sure what to do. When I saw your review title, my first thought was "oh, good! A new reliable series to watch!" Now, I find myself very conflicted. If I decide to watch it, I think I need to try to ignore that it is Poirot & Christie and simple think of it as a show, like any other, to watch. It is so sad when they try to recreate perfection. It is always less than!

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  2. Lou, I am a huge mystery novel fan; probably 90% of my reading is of mysteries. But, for some reason, I never actually got 'into' Agatha Christie. I really cannot say why; just one of those things; either you like an author or you don't. :-)

    Of course I am familiar with the ABC murders and naturally know who Hercule Poirot is (any mystery fan would know of one of the most famous characters of the genre). So, because I am not driven by knowing all the original details of the story, I just might find this series a good one to watch. Thanks for your review and honest opinion.

    PS: I wish TV/movies would NOT feel they have to change story lines and characters from books, especially one(s) so well known. A better way would be to make the original (book) as compelling in video form. IMO.

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  3. I will mention this one to my mom, I really think she'd enjoy this. This is absolutely up her alley. I've never been a mystery novel or tv show fan, but I'm sure if I took the time, I would enjoy this.

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  4. Okay Lou, I'm really not sure if I will or won't watch this series. Like Miss Elf, Agatha Christie novels have not been on my reading list for whatever reason. I know many people enjoy her writing, but somehow she just hasn't been on my MUST READ LIST. Now having said that, with being at home more, maybe I will indulge myself and watch. Thanks for the heads up.

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  5. Agatha Christie has never appealed to me. But I know someone who has read her novels but probably doesn't know about this mini- series. I'll have to make sure to mention it to her - although, like you, she may be such a fan that she may find fault with it. I will remember to mention it to her... just in case she's looking for things to do while at home.

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