Click to listen!
Title: The Mysterious Affair At Styles (#1 Hercule Poirot)
Author: Agatha Christie
Published: 4th of June 2004 – HarperCollins (first published in October 1920)
Format: Paperback – 258
“Sometimes I feel sure he is as mad as a hatter and then, just as he is at his maddest, I find there is a method in his madness.” – The Mysterious Affair At Styles
Hello Hello! How are you?
My first book review for August is a really exciting one for me! I have wanted to read the Agatha Christie books for years, and I have heard so many great things about all of them for so long. I received The Mysterious Affair At Styles for Christmas by my mother-in-law, but unfortunately, it was an abridged version for non-native speakers (a strange edition to pick as I’m British but oh well) and it has taken me this long to actually get my hands on a proper edition and read it.
I’ve got quite a few other Agatha Christie books, but I’m the type of person who has to read from the first published book otherwise it makes me feel all sick and funny, but I’m very happy to have finally gotten to Agatha Christie’s debut novel, and will hopefully be reading all the rest for a long time to come! Keep on reading for my thoughts on this great mystery and my first meeting with the famous Hercule Poirot!
Agatha Christie’s debut novel was the first to feature Hercule Poirot, her famously eccentric Belgian detective.
A refugee of the Great War, Poirot is settling in England near Styles Court, the country estate of his wealthy benefactress, the elderly Emily Inglethorp. When Emily is poisoned and the authorities are baffled, Poirot puts his prodigious sleuthing skills to work. Suspects are plentiful, including the victim’s much younger husband, her resentful stepsons, her long-time hired companion, a young family friend working as a nurse, and a London specialist on poisons who just happens to be visiting the nearby village.
All of them have secrets they are desperate to keep, but none can outwit Poirot as he navigates the ingenious red herrings and plot twists that earned Agatha Christie her well-deserved reputation as the queen of mystery.
The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie is the first mystery book in the Hercule Poirot series. These books were written nearly 100 years ago and are still loved today, so I knew I needed to start reading them as soon as I could. I have watched so many adaptations of Christie films, but personal favourite was the newest film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, I really enjoyed it. I’ve got a way to go before I can read that one as I’m going to be reading them in publication order, but I’m really looking forward to each one.
In this first instalment in the Hercule Poirot series, a crime is committed when Mrs Inglethorp is poisoned in her bed and Captain Hastings knows that the only way to find the real culprit and explain the crime is to bring in his old friend and famous Belgian detective Monsieur Hercule Poirot. I really liked this first glimpse into Poirot’s character, I wasn’t expecting it to be someone else narrating the story and having seen the crime being committed, but it was actually great.
I have to say that I suspected everyone, I didn’t know how the crime had been committed, and I liked to see how both Poirot and Hastings came together to solve the crime. There are a few iffy bits in the story, and it’s a bit faffy, but it is the language of the time and the behaviours of the time, which I know will evolve in Christie’s writing style anyway, so it didn’t really bother me that much.
I was actually strangely really drawn into the story. This was peculiar for me because I usually struggle with classics, I think it’s fair to say that this is a classic mystery novel, and I often get bored quite quickly because the language is so ancient that I lose track of everything. But this did not happen here and I was hooked right from the start, which I really enjoyed, it makes a change to some other classics I’ve read and suffered through.
I think that if you like mysteries, you like more of a historical fiction vibe and you like eccentric detectives, a crime that has been committed seemingly by no one and everyone at the same time, then I would definitely recommend the Christie books. Although I’ve been told that it doesn’t matter which order you read these books in, I do think I made the right choice for me, starting at the start because I am going to get to know Hercule Poirot in the order Christie wrote them, I am very excited to see the evolution of the characters and also the language or the settings.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, this was a great short mystery, written by the queen of mysteries herself. If you love mysteries, you have to give these ones a go, even only once. I will admit that some little bits were probably a bit strange to me, or drawn out, but I can’t really fault it as it is a thing of the times and will definitely evolve as the books get published later and later into the 20th century.
I really enjoyed reading it, I never expected the murderer to be who they turned out to be, and I loved how Hercule dropped little clues for Hastings to help him come to the same conclusion. I read both the published and unpublished chapter 12s (as I have an edition with both), and I have to say that I preferred the published version that Christie was asked to rewrite. Hercule Poirot is famous for him explanation scenes, and I love the first glimpse I got of him and his genius.
I gave this one 3.5 stars and I would definitely recommend to mystery, historical fiction, classics and Christie fans!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this review, see you soon, stay safe,
If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Audible FR (affiliate link) – Amazon US – Waterstones – Barnes and Noble – Audible UK – Scrib’d – Kobo