The ABC Murders starts on BBC One tonight - who's on the cast and what's it all about?
The ABC Murders is one of Agatha Christie’s boldest stories, in which she introduces the terror of the serial killer long before crime fiction’s current obsession. Alongside titles such as Murder On The Orient Express and Death On The Nile, this is one of the crème de la crème of Poirot novels.
As well as the premise of the serial killer, the novel deals with the themes of criminal psychology and psychopathy, the effects of the First World War, and changing social lives - particularly those of young girls, who no longer 'rush home at night'.
It has previously been adapted for screen as The Alphabet Murders with Tony Randall as Poirot in 1965, and for an episode of ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot starring David Suchet. It has also been the inspiration for various foreign language productions.
Now the BBC is airing its three part series, beginning tonight, December 26 at 9PM on BBC One.
The series then continues Thursday at 9PM.
The ABC Murders cast
- John Malkovich... Hercule Poirot
- Rupert Grint... Crome
- Andrew Buchan... Franklin Clarke
- Anya Chalotra... Lily Marbury
- Eamon Farren... Cust
- Jack Farthing... Donald Fraser
- Tara Fitzgerald... Lady Hermione Clarke
- Shirley Henderson... Mrs Rose Marbury
- Bronwyn James... Megan Barnard
- Freya Mavor... Thora Grey
- Michael Shaeffer... Yelland
- Eve Austin... Betty Barnard
- Gregor Fisher... Dexter Dooley
- Henry Goodman... Sidney Prynne
- Lizzy McInnerny... Jenny Barnard
- Kevin McNally... Japp
- Cyril Nri... Father Anselm
- Suzanne Packer... Capstick
- Christopher Villiers... Sir Carmichael Clarke
The ABC Murders spoilers
It’s 1933 and a killer travels the length and breadth of Britain via the railway network. The killer uses the alias ABC, and strikes in a methodical pattern, leaving a copy of the ABC railway guide at the scene of each of murder.
As Poirot attempts to investigate he is thwarted on every front. If he is to match his most cunning nemesis, everything about him will be called into question: his authority, his integrity, his identity.
Finding himself being warned off the case by Inspector Crome, Hercule continues to conduct his own investigation into the A.B.C. killer. He receives another letter promising a murder in Churston.
Hercule deciphers that the victim could be someone from his past - Sir Carmichael Clarke - and immediately telephones his house. Carmichael’s brother Franklin answers, but Hercule is too late again. Moments later Franklin confirms the worst: Carmichael has been murdered.
National interest in the killings explodes. The public begin to panic, turning against Poirot, infuriated by his inability to catch the killer and suspicious of his involvement.
There is a pattern to the murders, the killer is following the ABC Railway Guide and choosing his victims by letters of the alphabet. Finally, Crome pays attention.