The Mysterious Affair at Styles

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....

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Title:The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Author:Agatha Christie
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.

  • Jason Koivu
    Feb 24, 2017

    Thus begins the sleuthing adventures of that diminutive Belgian private detective Hercule Poirot!

    The setting is an English country manor house during World War I. The lady of the house has a will, potentially multiple wills, and just about everybody at the house has some reason for wishing her dead, or at least suspecting the others with vehement certitude. Nearly everyone's got a motive and red herrings are flying about the place like, well, like flying fish!

    I loved the WWI details and such how

    Thus begins the sleuthing adventures of that diminutive Belgian private detective Hercule Poirot!

    The setting is an English country manor house during World War I. The lady of the house has a will, potentially multiple wills, and just about everybody at the house has some reason for wishing her dead, or at least suspecting the others with vehement certitude. Nearly everyone's got a motive and red herrings are flying about the place like, well, like flying fish!

    I loved the WWI details and such how Poirot and some fellow Belgian refugees are guest to the English and soldiers are convalescing at houses such as this. Interesting slice of wartime life.

    I've read a few of Agatha Christie's Poirot books before and grown fond of the recurring characters, so it was nice to finally see where it all began. While not her best work, I believe

    is Christie's very first work, and with that in mind, this ain't half bad!

    I don't know if it deserves four stars, because I'm a fan and was happy to get some insights into the main characters that would carry this series into the dozens. This book lays the blueprint for many (most?) of her others, which would be written with varying degrees of skill, some better and some worse than this one. So I don't mind giving it the rating I did.

  • Jadranka
    Feb 09, 2015

    "Tajanstveni događaj u Stajlsu" je pisan prepoznatljivim stilom Agate Kristi, a značajan je iz najmanje dva razloga:ovo je roman prvenac Kraljice detektivskih romana i ujedno putem njega Agata nas upoznaje sa jednim od najpoznatijih književnih likova uopšte - reč je naravno o belgijskom detektivu Herkulu Poarou. Zaleđinu za lik simpatičnog detektiva pronašla je u okolnosti da su u njen rodni grad stigle izbeglice iz Belgije koje su tražile utočište pred Prvi svetski rat.

    Agata Kristi je "Tajanstv

    "Tajanstveni događaj u Stajlsu" je pisan prepoznatljivim stilom Agate Kristi, a značajan je iz najmanje dva razloga:ovo je roman prvenac Kraljice detektivskih romana i ujedno putem njega Agata nas upoznaje sa jednim od najpoznatijih književnih likova uopšte - reč je naravno o belgijskom detektivu Herkulu Poarou. Zaleđinu za lik simpatičnog detektiva pronašla je u okolnosti da su u njen rodni grad stigle izbeglice iz Belgije koje su tražile utočište pred Prvi svetski rat.

    Agata Kristi je "Tajanstveni događaj u Stajlsu" počela da piše još 1916.godine, a roman je svetlost dana ugledao tek pet goodina kasnije - 1921.godine. Prethodno je rukopis bio odbijen od strane više izdavača.

    Dodatna zanimljivost vezana za ovaj roman je ta da je na nagovor izdavača Agata izmenila prvobitnu verziju rukopisa. Naime, u prvobitnoj verziji Herkul Poaro zločin objašnjava sa mesta za svedoke za vreme suđenja. Međutim, na nagovor Džona Lejna (suosnivača izdavačke kuće koja je roman izdala) pristaje da to promeni, i mada samo razjašnjenje ostaje isto, Poaro ga ne daje za vreme suđenja već ubicu razotkriva pred publikom okupljenom u privatnom salonu. Upravo to će biti okruženje koje će Agata često koristiti i u svojim kasnijim romanima.

    U ovo izdanje je uključen i prvobitni završetak u sudnici, pa je na čitaocima da prosude koja je verzija bolja i prihvatljivija.

  • Debbie Zapata
    Sep 20, 2015

    This was the book that started it all for Agatha Christie, according to the wiki article about her. It certainly was the book that started it all for Hercule Poirot and his friend Hastings.

    I have never read much of Christie's work, and chose this title for my Literary Birthday challenge for that very reason. I have seen episodes of both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple on television in the past so it was very easy to picture our famous detective and his partner while I was reading. Seeing these s

    This was the book that started it all for Agatha Christie, according to the wiki article about her. It certainly was the book that started it all for Hercule Poirot and his friend Hastings.

    I have never read much of Christie's work, and chose this title for my Literary Birthday challenge for that very reason. I have seen episodes of both Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple on television in the past so it was very easy to picture our famous detective and his partner while I was reading. Seeing these shows also prepared me for the relationship between Hastings and Poirot as well as the typical 'gather all the suspects into one room and confront them with the truth' style of revealing the solution.

    The story itself was interesting for me to a point. I don't read too many mysteries and I honestly could not get caught up in any of the characters other than Poirot himself. I made the usual guesses about 'whodunnit'; changed my mind several times, and never did choose the correct culprit. But the explanations at the end were clear and made sense, so I was satisfied.

    A few things did capture my attention:

    1. Hastings at one point describes an attorney's appearance and says he had

    ....now what exactly would that be?

    2. We know Poirot is a tidy man, a fussy dresser very careful of his appearance, that's fine and dandy. But there were two scenes that seemed a little odd and I wonder if in future books Christie ever explains the detective's concern about spent matches. He picks up one that John tosses into the shrubbery, then later he puts some used matches in a china pot in his room. What does he plan to do with them? Why does he care about those used matches? Why do I care that he cared?

    And here are some nifty examples of Hercule Poirot's mind at work:

    Scolding Hastings:

    Another scolding for Hastings (he certainly never seemed too bright compared to Poirot):

    And finally, Poirot simply thinking:

    I do not really see myself rushing off to read more Christie after this, but it was fun to meet Poirot on the written page at last and not just on the small screen.

  • Araz Goran
    Nov 12, 2015
  • 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.