The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie – A Book Review

The Mysterious Affair

Blurb:

Agatha Christie’s first ever murder mystery.

With impeccable timing Hercule Poirot, the renowned Belgian detective, makes his dramatic entrance on to the English crime stage.

Recently, there had been some strange goings on at Styles St Mary. Evelyn, constant companion to old Mrs Inglethorp, had stormed out of the house muttering something about ‘a lot of sharks’. And with her, something indefinable had gone from the atmosphere. Her presence had spelt security; now the air seemed rife with suspicion and impending evil.

A shattered coffee cup, a splash of candle grease, a bed of begonias… all Poirot required to display his now legendary powers of detection.

Author: Agatha Christie
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date (this kindle edition): 14/10/2010
Pages: 298
Genre: Murder Mystery
My Chosen Format: Kindle
My Rating of ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’: 4 out of 5
Purchase: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Audible UK, Audible US

Review:

This is the start of my Poirot series re-read. I own the first 15 and thought this would be an excellent way of getting back into the swing of it.

The Mysterious Affair At The Styles was the first Poirot novel published by Christie and, for fans of Sherlock Holmes, the characters of Hercule Poirot and his friend Captain Hastings will seem somewhat familiar. An excellent detective, leagues ahead of anyone else in the field, partnered with an ex-servicemen.

Christie even name drops Sherlock Holmes very early on in the book, so it’s easy to see where the inspiration comes from.

With that being said, this series is not a cheap Holmes knock-off. This book is a wonderfully addictive, if a little slow to start, murder mystery novel that keeps you guessing throughout.

When I say addictive, it’s not only page-turning stuff, it’s easy reading and genuinely intriguing.

Obviously, as any level-headed reader will appreciate, it was written during a time of different social norms. So if you plan on looking at historical fiction through a 2020 lens, do yourself a favour and read something else. If you want to be genuinely sucked into the time period then pick up this book. As far as historical novels go, you can’t beat ones written by authors living in the time period as it gives a genuine snapshot of how life was at the time, how potential crimes were committed, how the law acts towards it etc …

My only negatives would be that, as mentioned earlier, it was a tad slow to start. That and Poirot’s habit of keeping everything to himself whilst behaving in outlandish ways do seem a bit forced. But, he is one of the more eccentric/quirky characters in literature so I suppose such things are to be expected. Annoying, but expected.

This series, if the first 15 or so are anything to go by, will give you countless hours of reading pleasure.

26 thoughts on “The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie – A Book Review

  1. I really appreciate your stance on social and historic details of an age past. I recently read a retelling of Sherlock Holmes that thoroughly infuriated me due to its total denial of the realities of the age the original was written in and instead went for blanket gender reversal and political correctness. I need to read some Poirot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea … I can’t stand authors that effectively change history to suit our current social norms.

      Have you never read any of the Poirot novels? Good thing about them is that they are all fairly quick and easy (and addictive) reads

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol, gods no! 😂 I like Branagh since his Hamlet ages ago – I think his version is he best; and young Kate Winslet as Ophelia is an added bonus 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Not going to lie, every time I see you review a book I really enjoy I always worry you’re not going to like it. I love Poirot and the only thing I don’t like about these books is the companion telling the story because he’s just so frustrating with how cocky he ends up being thinking he understands everything.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Orange Tree has given me somewhat of a lasting legacy. You’ll not have to worry when it comes to Poirot 🙂 there’s only one I really remember not enjoying as much as the others out of the ones I own. Can’t wait to get back into them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Poirot’s habit of keeping everything to himself whilst behaving in outlandish ways do seem a bit forced.

    THAT is what eventually forced me off the Poirot train. I didn’t mind the murder mystery, but eventually I couldn’t stand Christie writing him that way and it so infuriated me that I gave up. Hopefully, with 15 books, that won’t be such a big issue for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Poirot! He is one of those fussy, annoying characters that you can’t help but become a little obsessed with – even if his mannerisms irritate you no end! I’ve read eight of them but will definitely read more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read the ones I own so long ago that I’ve forgotten what happens. So it feels like reading anew. There’s only two I can remember well. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express. Those ones are so unique in their endings that they were impossible to forget.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was! I’m so glad someone else thought this too 😊 me too I really enjoy them but I’ve still got so many to read! I’ve read this one, Murder on the Orient Express, Hickory Dickory Dock, ABC Murders and Death on the Nile but there’s so many I still want to read! I quite like listening to them as audio dramas though 😊 yes me too, I’ve got so many on my TBR list!

        Liked by 1 person

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