112 pages 3 hours read

Agatha Christie

The ABC Murders

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1936

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Chapters 18-21

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 18 Summary: “Poirot Makes a Speech”

Franklin Clarke arrives in London and informs Poirot that he is unhappy with Crome’s efforts. He suggests that the friends and relatives of the victims investigate independently, under Poirot’s direction. He offers to finance the operation so that all can participate. Hastings notes that when Franklin proposes including Thora Grey for her knowledge of the local area in Churston, he “looked suddenly like a shy schoolboy” (133).

The next day all the interested parties gather. Hastings notices the contrasting attractiveness of the women and Franklin Clarke’s boisterous personality compared to the retiring Donald Fraser. Poirot launches into a speech, reminding those present that they seek a killer with a mental health condition who “appears ordinary” and selects victims deliberately. He points out, “I make the assumption that one—or possibly all of you—knows something that they do not know they know” (135). Megan Barnard and Donald Fraser are skeptical, while the others are more enthusiastic.

At Poirot’s behest, Franklin Clarke recalls the day of his brother’s death, and Thora Grey does the same. They recount routine activities, like reading books and getting the mail. Megan Barnard recalls her last visit to Bexhill and arguing with Betty.