The only thing more impressive than Hercule Poirot's powers of deduction is the fact that the character and all his adventures came from the mind of one person, Agatha Christie. The level of detail, love, and care put into her novels is almost magical, and it's easy to wonder how the heck she came up with such incredible tales. So I want to know if she based her work on real life cases from the time. Like is The ABC Murders based on a true story?
Well y'all, it's a big fat no on that. It is, amazingly, a story all from the mind of Christie. And TBH her methods and inspiration remain a complete mystery. However, as The Guardian reports, in recent years it has been suggested that the character of Hercule Poirot was in fact based on a Belgian refugee who she may have met in Torquay in her early 20s.
Now that is literally the most tentative link, but a link nonetheless. As for Christie, her life was almost as mysterious as that of her characters. For example the author ran away for a period of time, only to be found after an extensive search and claiming to have amnesia. She never spoke of the mysterious event to anyone and remained an intensely private person her whole life. Now that sounds like something out of one of her books.
The ABC Murders is perhaps one of the darkest of all of Poirot's investigations. It is about a killer who is one sick puppy. This time around our Belgian babe detective is hunting a killer, who signs letters "A.B.C.". A pretty specific tag. The murderer's spree starts in Andover, moving to Bexhill, and then Churston. OK you are getting that alphabetical element, and their initials also have the ABC vibe. After each murder the killer also leaves a copy of The ABC Railway Guide. So like most serial killers, there is a pattern to the murders. Or, maybe they're just a big Jackson Five fan. OK kidding but real talk, this story is about as dark as it gets for Poirot.
The story is being adapted for screen by Sarah Phelps, who has brought Christie's work to to the BBC a few times already, with And Then There Were None and Ordeal By Innocence. She explained her unique take on the classics in an interview with the BBC.
"I don’t care about ‘whodunnit’ and I don’t think that’s the point - it’s the ‘why’ for me. What would push you to do that thing? I would really like to think about the whole idea that these murders are terrible, terrible events. Lives have been annihilated by violence. That’s the thing that I have always found fascinating".
But what about the latest version of Christie's most beloved character, Hercule Poirot? Well this time round he is being played by John Malkovich, who will not be speaking in a Belgian accent, nor will he have a curly moustache. Not sure bout y'all but I'm low key livid about those things. However in fairness, if anyone can go rogue and absolutely nail it it's Malkovich.
Watch The ABC Murders at 9 p.m., Boxing Day on BBC1.