The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Suspects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary--from the heiress's fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary. Making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detecti...

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Title:The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Author:Agatha Christie
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Mysterious Affair at Styles Reviews

  • Kirsty

    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.

  • Susan

    This is Agatha Christie’s debut novel, published in 1920, and the first featuring her detective, Hercule Poirot. By any standards it is an assured and well written debut novel and, considering the period it was written, it is also remarkably undated. Apparently, Agatha Christie was challenged by her sister to write a detective story, for which I am eternally grateful, as this was her offering. Like one of the characters in this novel, Agatha worked in the dispensary of a local hospital and gaine

    This is Agatha Christie’s debut novel, published in 1920, and the first featuring her detective, Hercule Poirot. By any standards it is an assured and well written debut novel and, considering the period it was written, it is also remarkably undated. Apparently, Agatha Christie was challenged by her sister to write a detective story, for which I am eternally grateful, as this was her offering. Like one of the characters in this novel, Agatha worked in the dispensary of a local hospital and gained a knowledge of poisons, which she used in her novel. She also saw the arrival of Belgian refugees during WWI, which gave her detective his background.

    Our narrator, Hastings, writes an account of the ‘Affair at Styles.’ He has been invalided home from the Front, when he is invited to stay at Styles with an old friend, John Cavendish. John lives at Styles with his wife, Mary, his brother, Laurence, his step-mother, her companion, Evie Howard and his mother’s ward, Cynthia. Recently, there has been another addition to the household too, as his step-mother has remarried the much younger Alfred Inglethorp. Alfred has caused an air of constraint to the household and, when Mrs Inglethorp is murdered, he is the natural suspect.

    Nearby, M. Poirot has been staying in a house provided by Mrs Inglethorp, along with other Belgian refugees. Hastings knew Poirot well and, when the murder occurs, he asks him to investigate. This book contains many of the characters that Poirot fans will come to know well – not only Hastings but Detective Inspector James Japp of Scotland Yard. Interestingly, this edition also includes the original, unpublished ending, in which Poirot explains the crime in the courtroom – before this was re-written at the request of the publisher to take place in the drawing room setting that lovers of Golden Age mysteries are very familiar with. A wonderful beginning to my favourite detective series of all time.

  • Brina

    February has been a tough month for me this time around. I can't pinpoint it but there have been too many gray days even without the snow on the ground. Spring is mercifully around the corner and with it sun and happier reading times ahead. I tend to read mysteries as palette cleansers in between denser reads but at count I have read four mysteries this month and perhaps I can squeeze in another. In fact, February should be mystery month. On that note, what better way to spend the lingering wint

    February has been a tough month for me this time around. I can't pinpoint it but there have been too many gray days even without the snow on the ground. Spring is mercifully around the corner and with it sun and happier reading times ahead. I tend to read mysteries as palette cleansers in between denser reads but at count I have read four mysteries this month and perhaps I can squeeze in another. In fact, February should be mystery month. On that note, what better way to spend the lingering winter days with the Queen of Crime, Dame Agatha Christie herself. The Mysterious Affair at Styles is her first case that introduced Hercule Poirot to the world, and, as usual, Dame Christie did not disappoint.

    Colonel Hastings has been called to Styles Arms at the request of his friend John Cavendish. It is the war years and Hastings is appreciative to take leave of the army. At Styles, Hastings encounters arguments between the various inhabitants of the manor. There is fighting between Mr and Mrs Alfred and Emily Inglethorpe, between Mr Inglethorpe and his cousin Evelyn Howard, between John and Mary Cavendish, and between John and his brother Lawrence. Either the Great War has made the extended Inglethorpe-Cavendish clan tense, or things are not as rosy on the inside of the manor as they appear on the outside.

    It is in this tense environment that within two nights of Hastings arrival that Mrs Emily Inglethorpe is found dying in her bed. A doctor is summoned and rules Mrs Inglethorpe's death to be murder by strychnine poisoning. Hastings is asked to lead the investigative team but with his narrow mind, he is clueless as to who would want to murder and elderly lady. By chance, a group of Belgians is staying at a cottage close to Styles Arms, and among them is Hastings old friend, the one and only Hercule Poirot. Already highly regarded as a premier detective in his home country, Poirot is summoned by Hastings to assist him in solving this dreadful case.

    Christie first published The Mysterious Affair at Styles in 1921 and the book has stood the test of time. Poirot mentions that Hastings should use his gray cells, and he seems a step ahead of both Hastings and Scotland Yard Inspector Japp. Inspector Japp almost immediately accuses John Cavendish of murdering his mother and places her on trial, yet Poirot by thoroughly examining each and every clue tells his counterparts to have patience because perhaps a key piece is missing and perhaps the wrong person has been implicated. Yes, John Cavendish can stand to gain in his mother's will from her death but does it make him a murderer. Only Poirot seems to attest to the truth and leads Hastings, the inhabitants of Styles Arms, and Christie's readers on a fact finding mission to unravel the case.

    As Styles gained in popularity, Christie found that she had a formula that worked with cases starring her famous Belgian detective. As with many of Christie's future cases featuring Poirot, he has all the principal players gather as he explains to them the crime, motive, and guilty party in an easy to follow step by step manner. And as with many cases, Poirot introduces a new piece of evidence toward the end that plays a significant role in the case. Christie's cases are always fun to read even if it is tricky to guess whodunit based on the lack of this key clue. Yet I keep reading her cases and other mysteries to sharpen my mind and keep my little gray cells in order. It is a good thing that February does not last too much longer or I would probably be reading a case featuring the famous Belgian detective before the calendar turns to spring.

    4 stars

  • James

    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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  • Tina Haigler

    Ok. Let's get down to business. This is an old fashioned British mystery novel. So much information! Trying to keep it all straight in my head was extremely difficult. My brain was all over the place but that's what makes a good mystery, in my opinion.

    This is the first book starring the world famous Hercule Poirot and his friend Hastings. Poirot is an eccentric detective from Belgium who fled to England during WWI. Hastings is a little on the dramatic side, always jumps to the wrong conclusions

    Ok. Let's get down to business. This is an old fashioned British mystery novel. So much information! Trying to keep it all straight in my head was extremely difficult. My brain was all over the place but that's what makes a good mystery, in my opinion.

    This is the first book starring the world famous Hercule Poirot and his friend Hastings. Poirot is an eccentric detective from Belgium who fled to England during WWI. Hastings is a little on the dramatic side, always jumps to the wrong conclusions, and never catches on to the hints that Poirot throws his way. It definitely helps inject some humor into what would normally be very dour subject matter.

    The first part of this book (other than the murder of course) is a little slow due to character building, so for about the first 100 pages. After that, Scotland Yard gets involved and that's when things start to get a bit more interesting. The investigation heats up. There are six suspects. People start being cleared or becoming suspicious. At this point it could be anyone. Everyone in this book seems a little shady for one reason or another. The servants seem to be the only ones you don't suspect. Also this book has a lot of dialogue. You have the suspects talking to each other, Poirot interviewing people for information, and Poirot explaining clues, and of course when he reveals everything at the end of the book.

    I might be a little biased because I love David Suchet as Poirot in the TV show but I really enjoyed this book. It kept me guessing and it was intricate and interesting enough to keep my attention. If you enjoy an old fashioned mystery but have never read Agatha Christie before, this one is a good place to start :)

  • Mohammed Arabey

    سيدة عجوز ثرية وبيت زوجها الراحل الريفي الكبير، حيث تعيش مع زوجها الجديد الذي يصغرها بكثير، وابني زوجها السابق وزوجة أحدهما وفتاة يتيمة تعطف عليها

    وعثر عليها مقتولة بالسم..سم في فنجان قهوة

    وكل أهل البيت مشتبه بهم..بل وشخصيات اخري..لتبدأ الرواية

    كما تري ياصديقي فأن اهل البيت الذين لا تربط بينهم جميعا صلة

    سيدة عجوز ثرية وبيت زوجها الراحل الريفي الكبير، حيث تعيش مع زوجها الجديد الذي يصغرها بكثير، وابني زوجها السابق وزوجة أحدهما وفتاة يتيمة تعطف عليها

    وعثر عليها مقتولة بالسم..سم في فنجان قهوة

    وكل أهل البيت مشتبه بهم..بل وشخصيات اخري..لتبدأ الرواية

    كما تري ياصديقي فأن اهل البيت الذين لا تربط بينهم جميعا صلة دم واحدة... هم مجرمون محتملون

    فكل منهم له مصالح تقضي مع موت العجوز.. لكن شكوكنا كلها غالبا ستتفق علي أحدهم بالاخص...كل الشواهد تقول ذلك

    ولكن لهذا مراجعة أخرى ، بل مراجعات

    ** الراوي هو صديق المحقق، وطلب منه المحقق ان يدون له تفاصيل القضية وحكايتها

    لكن بعكس مقدمة معرفتنا بشيرلوك ودوبين ، الراوي هو صديق قديم لذلك المحقق البلجيكي الفذ ..لكنه بالصدفة يقابله بستايلز بعد الحادث ليشركه في التحقيقات

    ** بوارو كشيرلوك ودوبين فذ جدا ، أنه يصيب دوما في توقعاته مبكرا جدا في الأحداث ويتحفظ علي توقعه ذلك حتي من شريكه الراوي لذلك دوما يأتي الحل بالنهاية مفاجئا وكأن الاخ بوارو لديه خلايا رمادية خارقة للطبيعة ليمكنه من كل هذا الحدس

    ** تنوع في الشخصيات ، زيادة في الشكوك في كل الشخصيات...هناك ما يسمي ب"الرنجة الحمراء"، أو أدلة مضللة علي كل شخصية يكشفها بوارو لنا كلها بالنهاية بمفاجآت متعددة -وإن كانت أكثر من اللزوم هنا، ولكن لاتنسى انها الرواية الاولى

    قد تربكك كثرة الشخصيات، ولكن دوما حاول عمل "توزيع أدوار" الشخصيات علي نجوم سينما في خيالك ليسهل عليك المتابعة

    ** حبكة رواية أجاثا أسرع كثيرا في الحوار والأحداث عن سابقتيها الكلاسيكية التي تتسم بطول الحوار المبالغ فيه احيانا وطول السرد الروائي ايضا بالرغم من قصر حجم روايتهما عن تلك

    وعاما، لا يهم الترتيب كثيرا في روايات وقصص بوارو عدا طبعا معرفة أن "ستار" هي روايته الاخيرة

    هذه مثلا قراءتي الثالثة لبوارو ، بعد "جريمة في قطار الشرق السريع" و "من قتل السيد روجر أركويد"، والاخيرة تلك مشابهة جدا للروايتنا هنا ؛

    من ناحية مكان وقوع الاحداث، والشخصيات المحيطة بالقتيل وخريطة حجرة القتيل والاهم ذكر بوارو للحدس النسائي المقتد

    ايا كان المشتبه به الذي في خيالك الأول سيظهر لك أنه جاني وبرئ اكثر من مرة علي مدار الأحداث..ولكنك لن يشطح خيالك أبدا لتعرف من هو الجاني الحقيقي

    من ستايلز

    محمد العربي

    في 9 يوليو 2017

  • PattyMacDotComma

    4★

    Hercule Poirot, world-renowned Belgian detective extraordinaire, first arrived on the literary scene in 1920, in this, Agatha Christie’s very first book. He seems to have arrived fully formed, with all of his eccentricities and powerful “little grey” cells ready to go.

    4★

    Hercule Poirot, world-renowned Belgian detective extraordinaire, first arrived on the literary scene in 1920, in this, Agatha Christie’s very first book. He seems to have arrived fully formed, with all of his eccentricities and powerful “little grey” cells ready to go.

    He is introduced to us by Hastings, a young man returning from the front of WW1 to relax with his old friend John Cavendish at Styles, the Cavendish family estate. John’s mother is the matriarch of the family, whom Hastings remembers from past visits as

    She’s now made her own plans to the extent that she remarried a rather strange man, twenty years younger, whom nobody seems to like. A gold-digger, perhaps? There are many other characters, all living or staying at Styles, and a few, like Poirot, from the nearby village.

    This situation became a Christie trademark – a closed group of people “It must be one of us!” living or staying together in a single dwelling (island, train).

    Someone dies in suspicious circumstances, (of course – this is Agatha Christie, after all), and Hastings asks if he might invite his old friend Poirot, a retired detective who is currently living in the village with a group of Belgians, to help investigate.

    Ah, the clues are many, the bits of thread, the grains of this or that, the odd timing of someone’s arrival or departure, the pieces of conversation overheard through closed doors – the suspicions! Little locked boxes, locked desks, bolted doors – all part of the mystery.

    Hastings greatly admires Poirot and knows how clever he is, and is delighted when Poirot compliments him on some observation Hastings offers. But when Poirot seems dismissive of his ‘insight’, Hastings thinks Poirot should count himself lucky that he has Hastings there to consult with.

    Fortunately, Poirot's twinkling eyes indicate he doesn’t take offence, and Hastings is generous enough to concede (privately, to us) from time to time, that really, the little fellow is something special and can outwit anyone.

    A delightful introduction to Christie’s enormous, influential body of work. It is a bit dated, (well, of course), and I didn’t find it quite as compelling as I might have when it was first published. But I certainly enjoyed M. Poirot’s (and Christie’s) debut!

    You can borrow a copy at the Open Library. It's free and easy to search.

  • mark monday

    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 Iraq, choose

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

  • j

    "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.

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