Antonia's Antics

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie


Summary: There has been a murder at Styles Court. Detective Poirot comes out of retirement to solve who would want the rich heiress Inglethorp dead, and would have the impudence to poison her. The jagged plot turns keep Poirot – and the reader – guessing as suspicion shifts from one peculiar character to the next.

In Agatha Christie’s first published work, the reader meets Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, destined to become the central detective of her mystery novels.

Review: I’ve been wanting to read Agatha Christie’s books for a long time but continuously put it off in favor of others. When I read Sabriel’s review of Murder on the Orient Express the other day, I decided I finally had to get one of her books. I immediately got the first Hercule Poirot novel and finished it in about four hours.
Now I’m kicking myself for not reading her books sooner. This was a fantastic mystery that kept me guessing the entire time. It was a relatively light (for a mystery), quick read and I appreciated that it didn’t lean towards the scarier side of the mystery genre. (I’m a wuss when it comes to scary stuff.)
The narrator, Arthur Hastings, was the only part I didn’t love. I found him a little self-absorbed and mildly annoying at times though not enough to diminish my overall enjoyment of the book. He worked very well as narrator; since he didn’t have a direct connection to the murder, he was able to observe events without influencing them too much. He appears in several of the other Hercule Poirot novels so I hope I’ll start to like him better later on.
I found Hercule Poirot extremely entertaining. He’s a Belgian detective who appears in most of Christie’s works. He works in a style similar to Sherlock Holmes, using seemingly insignificant clues to solve the mystery. He’s a little dramatic and flamboyant and has funny little quirks, like straightening objects on a mantelpiece when he’s agitated, that combined to form a very clear picture for me. I absolutely can’t wait to read more about him.
The rest of the characters were fairly diverse in their personalities and I was surprised that they were more complex than I expected from a book written in the early 20th century. I’ve found many older books have secondary characters that are more two-dimensional.
I found the plot interesting throughout despite a great deal of back and forth over who the murder suspect could be. There were so many clues and behaviors, small and big, important and irrelevant, that I could never quite figure out who the murderer was.
Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery, detective novels, and crime. I can’t wait to read the rest of Christie’s books. Please leave your own thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading!
-Antonia

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3 thoughts on “The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

  1. This is a great review! Now I’m getting excited to read this one. I’ll add it to my TBR immediately (though considering how big my TBR is, I might not get around to this one for a while😢).

    1. Thank you! I’ve had the same problem recently but am glad I squeezed this one into my list. I knew once I got through one of her books I’d be hooked so now I’ll probably just read them as I get my hands on them.

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