Agatha Christie Wiki
Advertisement

In the novel The A.B.C. Murders, Alice Ascher was the first victim of A.B.C., a psychopathic serial killer who picks off his victims in alphabetical order. She was an old woman running a tobacco and newsagent shop in the town of Andover.

Despite being a divorced woman with no children, she got abused frequently by her drunk, German ex-husband, Franz Ascher. Her only family member is Mary Drower, her niece. Her brother, Tom, was killed during the war, and another brother, Harry, had gone to South America and had not been heard of since. Her sister, who was Mary's mother, was also dead.

Mrs Ascher was originally from Hampshire. As a girl, she went into service in London. While there, she met Franz Ascher and married him. She left him for good in 1922, and she came to the region of Andover to get away from him.

Her husband would frequently get drunk and make scenes at the places where she was employed, so Mrs Ascher took a job as cook-housekeeper to Miss Rose, who lived three miles out of Andover. This made it more difficult for Franz to go there.

When Miss Rose died, she left Mrs Ascher a small legacy, which she used to open her tobacco and newsagent business in Andover.

Mrs Ascher had been beautiful when she was young. Poirot makes this judgment from observing the line of her jaw, the bones, and the moulding of the head. He is proved right when a wedding picture shows her to have been a handsome girl, with "clear-cut features and spirited bearing".

Mrs Ascher had a sharp tongue, and would stand up to people, even her husband. Mary Drower said that she had seen him slink away like a dog with its tail between its leg when she turned on him. She usually gave him fifteen shillings a week, but he would frequently come and abuse her. She would give him a bit of money to get rid of him.

At 5.30 p.m. on the evening of June 21st, James Partridge bought some tobacco from Mrs Ascher. Albert Riddell came in a few minutes after 6 p.m., and found the shop empty, or so he thought. At 1 a.m. on the morning of the 22nd, Constable Dover was on his round, and found the door of the shop unfastened. He discovered the body of Mrs Ascher huddled up behind the counter.

She had been killed with a blow to the back of the head, and Dr Kerr said she never knew who or what struck her. There was a packet of Player's on the ground beside her, and an ABC railway guide on the counter.

Portrayals[]

In the film adaptation of The A.B.C. Murders in Series 2 of ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot, there are some flashbacks showing Poirot's reconstruction of how Alice Ascher was killed, and we also see her at the morgue. The actress who played the role is not credited.

In the anime show ABC Murders, NHK's adaptation of The A.B.C. Murders, the character of Alice Ascher is seen only in her wedding photo.

In the MGM adaptation The Alphabet Murders (1965), the character is changed to one Albert Aachen, an internationally famous "aquaclown" (someone who does diving stunts while dressed as a clown). He is rehearsing his routine at the Clifford Street Baths when he is shot by a dart from an air gun. He falls from his diving board into the pool and dies. He has not speaking part and the actor who plays him is not credited.

Advertisement