112 pages 3 hours read

Agatha Christie

The ABC Murders

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1936

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Chapters 22-26Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 22 Summary: “Not from Captain Hastings’ Personal Narrative”

Alexander Bonaparte Cust paces his lodgings, agitated, while his landlady asks if he is still planning to travel that day. The landlady, Mrs. Marbury, accepts Cust’s tentative explanation that he must soon depart for Cheltenham. When she catches sight of a newspaper, she reflects on the murders and how frightened she would be if her name began with D and she lived in Doncaster. Cust, agitated, repeats that he must go, and packs his things, leaving a railway guide behind. The landlady’s daughter, Lily, hears him sighing, and Cust asks if she has ever had instincts about the future. He bids her farewell, gloomily, so that she almost thinks he is saying so permanently. When Lily mentions Cust was in Churston and may have seen the murderer, Mr. Cust agrees “with such a ghastly and contorted smile that Lily Marbury noticed it” (171).

In a change of scene, Crome instructs a subordinate to follow up Poirot’s hunch about stocking salesman but dismisses Poirot as a “mountebank” when his subordinate reflects the great detective may be past his prime (172). That same evening, Lily Marbury dances with her boyfriend, Tom, who tells her that Cust was not going to Cheltenham but Doncaster.