The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Poirot, a Belgian refugee of the Great War, is settling in England near the home of Emily Inglethorp, who helped him to his new life. His friend Hastings arrives as a guest at her home. When the woman is killed, Poirot uses his detective skills to solve the mystery....

Title:The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0646418432
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:294 pages

The Mysterious Affair at Styles Reviews

  • Kirsty
    Apr 10, 2008

    How did I go for so long without reading an Agatha Christie?! I wish I'd picked one up sooner! I figured my first read should be the first book published (I have an OCDish need to read books in order) and I have to say that this is a fantastic debut novel. Most authors' work gets better with time - if Christie gets better than this then I have some treats in store!

    Long story cut short:- Mrs Inglethorp, the old lady owner of Styles Court, suffers a violent fit early one morning and dies. It appea

    How did I go for so long without reading an Agatha Christie?! I wish I'd picked one up sooner! I figured my first read should be the first book published (I have an OCDish need to read books in order) and I have to say that this is a fantastic debut novel. Most authors' work gets better with time - if Christie gets better than this then I have some treats in store!

    Long story cut short:- Mrs Inglethorp, the old lady owner of Styles Court, suffers a violent fit early one morning and dies. It appears that foul play is in the air and the family bring in Hercule Poirot to investigate...

    This book was everything a murder mystery should be. There were intriguing characters (which, incidentally, are nicely fleshed-out), a page-turning plot, plenty of clues and red-herrings and, best of all, it kept me guessing right until the very end. The narration also works well - by having Hastings as the narrator, we don't get to see inside Poirot's head, so we can continue to form our own conclusions right to the end.

    I also liked how quaint this was. As a reader of more modern thrillers such as James Patterson, Lee Child and David Baldacci, it was nice to realise that there isn't always a requirement for violence, blood and guts in order to have a good plot.

    I will definitely be picking up more of Christie's work.

  • Lawyer
    Jan 19, 2017

    Dame Agatha Christie was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller on 15 September 1890 in Torquay, Devon, South West England and lived a very full life until her death by natural causes on 12 January 1976. During those eighty-five years the lady published sixty-six novels and fourteen short story collections, becoming the best selling author in history, outsold only by the Bible.

    Christie's remarkable life as a writer h

    Dame Agatha Christie was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller on 15 September 1890 in Torquay, Devon, South West England and lived a very full life until her death by natural causes on 12 January 1976. During those eighty-five years the lady published sixty-six novels and fourteen short story collections, becoming the best selling author in history, outsold only by the Bible.

    Christie's remarkable life as a writer had to begin somewhere. She was homeschooled by her father. Although her mother didn't want her to read before she was eight, young Agatha, bored, taught herself to read by age five. Agatha was the recipient of her Mother Clara's gifted storytelling. Her first writing would be short stories.

    It was this book,

    , published by John Lane of the Bodley Head in London in 1921. Curiously, The Times published it completely as a serial to great reception. Even more curious is that Christie's first book was offered by Lane to be published in the United States in 1920. Both the American and subsequent English editions featured the same dust jacket.

    < blockquote>

    Oddly enough, Agatha Christie wrote her first Poirot novel on a bet with her older sister Madge that Agatha could not write a detective novel. But Agatha, who had a taste for mysteries, had cut her teeth on

    and

    by

    , and the Sherlock Holmes stories by

    . Christie took the bet.

    Agatha had met and married Archie Christie in 1914. Her husband fought in World War One as a fighter pilot. While her husband was overseas, Christie began

    in 1916, the year in which the novel is set. Conveniently, Christie volunteered at a hospital where she worked in the dispensary. She learned quite a bit about poisons, how they worked, the symptoms, and the anomalies in which poisons did not always cause the expected reaction.

    So, Hercule Poirot was born. Her inspiration was a group of Belgian refugees living in her hometown of Torquay.

    From her Autobiography, Christie wrote:

    Christie's debut novel was well received both in England and the United States. Copies sold briskly. Incredibly, Agatha Christie earned only 25 Pounds for her novel, something that would change with her future novels subject to more favorable contracts.

    The Bodley Head summarized the plot simply on the original dust jacket.

    Today the setting in an English Country Manor seems in no way original. But Christie ushered in the Golden Age of Mystery with Poirot's debut.

    Author Robert Barnard, in appreciation of Christie's work had this to say:

    Christie won that bet with Sister Madge. Repeatedly.

  • j
    Jun 22, 2010

    "Dear me, Poirot," I said with a sigh, "I think you have explained everything! And how wonderful of you to wait until page 230 to finally shed light on all your absurd behavior throughout the book, and to justify and the red herrings and narrative padding! But of course, it could only be so in the classic style of a fiendish murder mystery! Why, in fact, though this is but the first case we have solved together, I have no doubt we could do the exact same thing as many as 86 more times, depending

    "Dear me, Poirot," I said with a sigh, "I think you have explained everything! And how wonderful of you to wait until page 230 to finally shed light on all your absurd behavior throughout the book, and to justify and the red herrings and narrative padding! But of course, it could only be so in the classic style of a fiendish murder mystery! Why, in fact, though this is but the first case we have solved together, I have no doubt we could do the exact same thing as many as 86 more times, depending on if you count the smaller cases!"

    "Quite so,

    ," Poirot chuckled. "You make such a reliably dim-witted Watson!"

    I looked at Poirot in silent amazement. The colossal cheek of the little man! Then we drank some tea and he kissed me passionately, on the mouth.

  • mark monday
    Dec 08, 2010

    Choose Your Own Adventure!

    You are Captain Arthur Hastings, and you are slowly falling in love with a Belgian. The feelings are embarrassing at first; you find the Belgian himself to be quite an embarrassment. But there is just something about him. Could it be his suave, continental sense of humor... his keen sense of justice... his shapely, rubenesque figure? Or is it simply his hypnotic mustache, perhaps? The passion develops in fits and starts. You don’t want to love him, you really don’t. You

    Choose Your Own Adventure!

    You are Captain Arthur Hastings, and you are slowly falling in love with a Belgian. The feelings are embarrassing at first; you find the Belgian himself to be quite an embarrassment. But there is just something about him. Could it be his suave, continental sense of humor... his keen sense of justice... his shapely, rubenesque figure? Or is it simply his hypnotic mustache, perhaps? The passion develops in fits and starts. You don’t want to love him, you really don’t. You don’t want to follow him around, adventure after adventure. You don’t want to be his little bitch, always at his beck and call, sniping and moaning at him but loving it nonetheless. You don’t like mysteries but you are about to fall victim to the greatest mystery of them all: the mystery of the human heart! Try as you may, the Belgian has hold of you, heart and soul. You will follow him forever.

    If you decide that to love somebody, you must set them free... preferably in an English village, choose

    If you decide to follow the little Belgian to the ends of the earth, choose

  • Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
    Oct 08, 2011

    I have a goal to read all of Poirot's stuff - order isn't terribly important for this type of 'series', but I don't want to touch his final act and book, Curtain, until I've read the others. Just an OCD reader thing.

    The mystery itself was baffling (closed room rocks), but I didn't care much until the surprising end about the culprit. It's hard to explain why, but maybe because the characters didn't draw me in much, besides the main detective Poirot and the semi-clueless Hastings. The book was co

    I have a goal to read all of Poirot's stuff - order isn't terribly important for this type of 'series', but I don't want to touch his final act and book, Curtain, until I've read the others. Just an OCD reader thing.

    The mystery itself was baffling (closed room rocks), but I didn't care much until the surprising end about the culprit. It's hard to explain why, but maybe because the characters didn't draw me in much, besides the main detective Poirot and the semi-clueless Hastings. The book was completely enjoyable, though, as Poirot shines when he's introduced in this first book featuring the Belgian detective. He doesn't focus on his mustache quite as much yet, alludes to the little grey cells only once, but steals the scenes wherever he goes. Hastings is amusing - I admit some of his books I found dry but I'll have to revisit - but here he's likable as the narrator. I don't get his thing for the women, though, were all men so easily led into marriage back then?

    Even if I felt little for the victim or cared about the accused cast, I didn't figure out the ending and liked the neat curveball Christie threw the readers way, something I never saw coming. The clues add up but, like Hastings, I'm too dense to get them. It's amazing how Agatha could conceive and hold all that in her mind, but then there is a reason she still stands as one of the very best in detective fiction.

    Overall a great book featuring Poirot. It's a fast, smooth read with stylish dialogue, a few twists thrown in every few chapters to keep the waters from feeling too calm and keeping the readers mind working. I wasn't entranced by the players, though, so this is not a five-star rating. Still, it's worth a read for mystery fans.

  • Araz Goran
    Nov 12, 2015
  • James
    Jun 14, 2016

    If you've read my reviews before, you know I love mystery fiction, and in particular, the classics. Agatha Christie died in 1976, and I was born the following year. Two things come to mind... (1) It's a good thing I wasn't alive when she died because I would have been so miserable to be around. (2) Since I was born just about a year later, I'm wondering if maybe a small part of her lives on... as I love her genius and her works of literature... and I can re-read her books over and over again wit

    If you've read my reviews before, you know I love mystery fiction, and in particular, the classics. Agatha Christie died in 1976, and I was born the following year. Two things come to mind... (1) It's a good thing I wasn't alive when she died because I would have been so miserable to be around. (2) Since I was born just about a year later, I'm wondering if maybe a small part of her lives on... as I love her genius and her works of literature... and I can re-read her books over and over again without ever getting bored.

    There are tons of reviews of all her major works, and I don't need to be repetitive in my review. What I'd really try to get across is why you need to read ANY of her works, and then why I'd suggest this one:

    1. This was one of her first books, and I believe the first published one, in 1920, which means she was probably writing it exactly 100 years ago. And though some of the language is a little different, and it takes place with a different cultural atmosphere, the crux of the story -- its plot, is appropriate at any point in time. People don't love Christie for her beautiful language or her great ideas... yeah, she had some of those... but it's her plots and characters that stand out. And those transcend time.

    2. Who else can create such a puzzle that you are constantly trying to guess what's going on? True, tons of writers today, but not 100 years ago. And even with modern writers, it's often in a suspense and thriller type of novel, where it's all about the chase. Christie was all about the calm approach to solving a murder. She didn't try to end each chapter with a big WOW and heart-wrenching scare tactic. It's simple evolution of a timeline, collections of clues, conversations with people... and then you start to see the puzzle come together. But at the last minute, you get the unexpected twist.

    3. With this first book, you meet Hercule Poirot, one of her two popular detectives. Poirot is annoying. He's painful. He will make you angry while you are laughing. And that's the cool part. Columbo is the best comparison I can come up with. And I'm certain Columbo was based on large part by Christie's Poirot.

    So why this book???????

    It's the first in the series. It's a prime example of why her stories work. It's the ultimate tale - a family with secrets. It takes place in the UK... the best place to visit and perhaps live. I don't live there, only visited it. :}

    But it's really the slow build-up of the clues that will have your mind working overtime. So... if you need a Christie stand-alone book, go to "And Then There Were None." If you like female investigators, choose a Miss Marple. If you like a Belgian male detective, flip a coin and pick between Murder on the Orient Express or The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Both will be a great read. But if you need to start at the beginning, go with this one to see what an author's first book looks like. Because if I didn't have my Christie... I'd be like...

    For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at

    , where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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  • Dannii Elle
    Sep 25, 2016

    This is the first installment in the Hecule Poirot series and was just as brilliant as every other detective book I have read by the undoubted Queen of crime fiction!

    The novel is set in an English manor house, Styles, owned by the the Cavendish family. Hastings, our protagonist, is staying with the family in their regal abode when the unexpected and inexplicable murder of Emily Cavendish (or the more recently referred to, Emily Inglethorpe) occurs. The murder scene, a locked bedroom, baffles det

    This is the first installment in the Hecule Poirot series and was just as brilliant as every other detective book I have read by the undoubted Queen of crime fiction!

    The novel is set in an English manor house, Styles, owned by the the Cavendish family. Hastings, our protagonist, is staying with the family in their regal abode when the unexpected and inexplicable murder of Emily Cavendish (or the more recently referred to, Emily Inglethorpe) occurs. The murder scene, a locked bedroom, baffles detectives and family alike, and it is up to the famous Belgian detective to solve this unsolvable puzzle.

    I already knew a death would occur before I even turned the first page, as this is a Christie novel, but that didn't dampen the thrilling atmosphere. The emphasis placed on Mrs Cavendish/Inglethorp's "as yet untasted coffee" early in the novel also led me to a premature conclusion concerning the victim and the means of her demise. Even this didn't hamper my enjoyment, but added to it: I adore playing the amateur sleuth and seeing if my predictions come true. And that is where Christie's brilliance lies. She involves the reader in the crime and places them in Poirot's role, in the hope of uncovering the clues that will lead to the answer of 'whoddunit?'.

    I love Christie for giving us an almost voyeuristic insight into the historical upper-class. I also love that the characters continually dismiss Poirot. I have also experienced this in the Miss Marple series. Both are deemed 'past it' when they don't jump to the same, obvious conclusion as the other characters, yet the reader knows who will ultimately be proven correct.

    As always, Christie takes the reader in a series of previously unsuspected direction before all is revealed and solved just before the close of the novel. This, as with all her other works, left me completely baffled throughout as to who the perpetrator of the crime was. I am no Poirot, but I enjoy attempting to assume his role in these thrilling insights into historical England.


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