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#ReadChristie2019– January Book of the Month– THE ABC MURDERS

GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States mod
Welcome to the first month of #ReadChristie2019! (https://www.agathachristie.com/news/2019/read-christie-2019). 

We're talking about The ABC Murders here.  Feel free to talk about the original novel, the recent BBC adaptation, and all the other adaptations of the story here, and please start any other threads on specific themes that you like.  Thanks!
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Comments

  • SirHenryClitheringSirHenryClithering Canada Investigator
    Hello, everyone! Since I don't live in the UK, I haven't seen the new BBC adaptation of The ABC Murders. I am wondering what all your opinions are on it... it seemed alright, but some of the reviews I've seen say it was awful. What do you think?
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK ✭✭✭
    Spoilers: Sarah Phelps certainly took liberties and changed a lot of aspects of the story in her adaptation of The ABC Murders. This adaptation uses a very dark approach to telling the story, not only in the tale but in the visual aspect; people were in dark rooms; they met in the evening; the clothes were grey and dark colours. But for purists, the big change was the history of Poirot and the fact that two of the main characters were missing - Captain Hastings and Inspector Japp. One scene seemed to be repeated time and time again, playing just a few moments longer each time, but it was only near the end of the story did the big reveal appear.
    I prefer to stick to discussing the books, Agatha Christie's true skill. However, having watched the Phelps adaptation, you can admire the telling of a great story which had drama and suspense, supported by great actors and acting. It was really enjoyable.
  • The 1992 version of the story, with David Suchet as Poirot, is as faithful of an adaptation of the story that we're going to get, I believe. These days, in the era of film making concerning Christie's novels, the words "faithful" and "loyalty" to the novel no longer apply. Every film has to be dark and each character has to be licentious. These are not the characters that Christie wrote. Christie did not write Alexander Bonapart Cust as some sadist as is represented in screenwriter Sarah Phelps' "reimaginings". I don't intend to watch the adaptation of any other film written by Phelps. I'm hoping the new adaptation of Death Comes As The End will be faithful and not turned into a twisted, depraved reimagining, since we're getting another writer penning the script, but my expectations are very low. We shall see, but I think if you're going to watch a fantastic adaptation of The ABC Murders, the David Suchet version is the one to see.  


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 5

    Dr Shephard, Japp was there, Poirot met him in his Garden (Or was it his Allotment?) but shortly afterwards Japp died of a Heart attack, I assume Sarah Phelps did that as it got rid of the entourage and she then felt she had a free hand, the Dark rooms etc are an appalling idea but so common in things today, it doesn't help people with poor eye sight, It is a dark book if you want to see it like that but not as dark as the Adaptation made out, which is what Sarah Phelps was going for, another reason to dispense with Hastings and Japp as they give the Book shade and if you don't have them there is no reason to make Poirot lovable and light, Betty Barnard was [portrayed as a who when really she is a Tarter, her Boyfriend wasn't a very nice man whereas in the Book I see him as a hard done by fool.

    I love the Book, I have read it many times and prefer to see the book the way Agatha Christie  as light with a tiny speck of Darkness not Dark served up with a dollop of Dark
  • SirHenryClitheringSirHenryClithering Canada Investigator
    Thank you... I'll see if I can get ahold of the David Suchet version. Based on what you've said, I do not think I will watch the new adaptation. It is certainly a shame that Hastings was not present, however if Sarah Phelps was going for a darker approach, I can see the reasoning for that decision. I do hope that Death Comes As The End will stay truer to the original then this one.

  • Dr Shephard, Japp was there, Poirot met him in his Garden (Or was it his Allotment?) but shortly afterwards Japp died of a Heart attack, I assume Sarah Phelps did that as it got rid of the entourage and she then felt she had a free hand, the Dark rooms etc are an appalling idea but so common in things today, it doesn't help people with poor eye sight, It is a dark book if you want to see it like that but not as dark as the Adaptation made out, which is what Sarah Phelps was going for, another reason to dispense with Hastings and Japp as they give the Book shade and if you don't have them there is no reason to make Poirot lovable and light, Betty Barnard was [portrayed as a who when really she is a Tarter, her Boyfriend wasn't a very nice man whereas in the Book I see him as a hard done by fool.

    I love the Book, I have read it many times and prefer to see the book the way Agatha Christie  as light with a tiny speck of Darkness not Dark served up with a dollop of Dark
    I agree Tommy, the book is not as dark as the film made it out to be. The film's tone is grotesque. Even in the midst of the book's dark tone, there were some lighthearted moments, i.e. Captain Hastings adds to this. In the book, for one, you have a funny, light moment when Hastings finds out that Poirot uses hair dye. This is what gives the book some relief and "shade" (as you mentioned). Sarah Phelps needs to re-read the books and get the tone right. I think the 1992 version of The ABC Murders balances the tone, light and dark. Sure, the 1992 version had some moments that weren't in line with the book, such as Hastings and the stuffed crocodile Cedric but it didn't get in the way of the plot or interfere with the balanced tone that Christie presented in the book. In this new version of the story, there are far way to many liberties and unnecessary embellishments of the characters that doesn't serve them the way Christie wrote them. If Phelps wants to write her own stories and create characters such as these, then do so, but don't insert them in a film with Agatha Christie's name stamped on it. 


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • I like the part in the book when Hastings finds out that Poirot uses hair dye, a great comical lighthearted moment. 


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • CoraCora Worcestershire Fan
    I love Agatha Christie books and have enjoyed most of the TV adaptations. They stated going a little off kilter when we had the 'Agatha Christie's Poirot and Marple. Different characters and different endings. I saw the Kenneth Branagh Murder on the Orient Express and didn't like it. I haven't watched the ABC Murders because I didn't like the look of the trailer and a friend told me the outcome. I agree. Sarah Phelps is most welcome to write her own stories but please don't attach Agatha Christie's name or characters to them. I am unhappy that for people who don't know Agatha's stories they will get completely the wrong idea about her brilliant books. 
  • SirHenryClitheringSirHenryClithering Canada Investigator
    Cora said:
    I love Agatha Christie books and have enjoyed most of the TV adaptations. They stated going a little off kilter when we had the 'Agatha Christie's Poirot and Marple. Different characters and different endings. I saw the Kenneth Branagh Murder on the Orient Express and didn't like it. I haven't watched the ABC Murders because I didn't like the look of the trailer and a friend told me the outcome. I agree. Sarah Phelps is most welcome to write her own stories but please don't attach Agatha Christie's name or characters to them. I am unhappy that for people who don't know Agatha's stories they will get completely the wrong idea about her brilliant books. 
     Yes, that is true! From what you've said, people who tune into the BBC Adaptation are going to get the completely wrong idea about Agatha Christie's style and works. I am glad Sarah Phelps isn't writing the next one, so hopefully the new writer will have a fresh attitude and genuine love for Christie's works. The book itself is great! I love the ending and the plot is magnificent. The first time I read it, I could not put it down. The ABC Murders is not my favourite Christie, but it is certainly up there!
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK ✭✭✭
    edited January 7
    The BBC has announced it will be adapting a new Agatha Christie murder novel next year [2019]. After the success of the retelling of The ABC Murders and Ordeal by Innocence earlier this year, the channel has said the next book from the famous crime writer to be turned into a prime-time watch will be Death Comes as the End.
    It’s going to be all change behind the screen too, as Vanity Fair writer Gwyneth Hughes will be taking over from the current screenwriter, Sarah Phelps, for this particular adaptation.
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