Monday, January 03, 2011

The Mysterious Affair At Styles

The Mysterious Affair At Styles. A Hercule Poirot Mystery. Agatha Christie. 1920/2006. Black Dog & Leventhal. 224 pages.

The intense interest aroused in the public by what was known at the time as "The Styles Case" has now somewhat subsided. Nevertheless, in view of the worldwide notoriety which attended it, I have been asked, both by my friend Poirot and the family themselves, to write an account of the whole story. This, we trust, will effectually silence the sensational rumours which still persist.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles was Agatha Christie's first novel. And since I'm new to her work--new to the genre--I thought I would start at the very beginning.

 Hastings, our narrator, is a guest at Styles Court. He finds himself in a bit of a mess. You see, the family is at odds with one another. The (step)mother, Mrs. Emily Inglethorp, has recently remarried a much younger man. And John and Lawrence, the sons, are UNHAPPY. They think she is being used. They think it likely that their inheritance is at risk by this new husband. John has problems of his own--marital problems. Hastings hears it all--for better or worse. He's even warned of the danger Mrs. Inglethorp faces. So when she is found dead--in her locked bedroom--well, Hastings, is one of many anxious to solve this mystery. He calls his friend Hercule Poirot to investigate the crime...

I enjoyed this one very much. I liked the narrator, Hastings. I liked how Hercule Poirot kept him guessing. Hastings--for the most part--was there by Poirot's side during the investigation. And he had more than a few private conversations with Poirot. Conversations about who the murderer was--or who they thought the murderer was. Yet. Hastings isn't able to piece this one together. He, like the reader perhaps, is kept guessing until the big reveal. As for the detective, I really enjoyed Hercule Poirot. I did. I liked the way this story unfolded chapter by chapter. Each chapter reveals a few clues. Each chapter leads you in a certain direction. I thought it was well done. I found it very compelling!

I would definitely recommend this one!

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous said...

I love Hercule Poirot and Mrs. Marple....they are definitely fascinating characters. My sister is working on collecting her books so we've read quite a few, you'll love them!

Serena said...

I'm not sure how many books you read for the challenge, but there are 3 giveaways up for participants of the Vietnam War Reading Challenge. I hope you'll enter and spread the word.

Bev Hankins said...

Got this one logged for the challenge! Great review! Hastings is such a great side-kick for Poirot. I love the Agatha Christie stories.

Birdie said...

I'm so glad you liked Poirot and Hastings! Christie's novels, though notoriously uneven, are quite enjoyable, and most of them are great fun to read. I'd love to hear what you think of Miss Marple!

Ryan said...

This is one of my favorite Poirot books. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one.