The Mysterious Affair at Styles

When an elderly heiress, sleeping alone in her room, is poisoned, it is up to private detective extraordinaire Hercule Poirot to solve the mysterious case and bring the criminal to justice!

The small village of Styles St. Mary is shaken up when one of its most prominent, if not wealthiest, residents, namely, Mrs. Inglethorp, suddenly dies of poisoning.  The large family and household staff were at a loss as to who may have done the horrendous deed, though most of them seem to have a motive. Was Mrs. Inglethorp killed by her two stepsons, John and Lawrence Cavendish, who have money and the estate to gain with their stepmother’s death?  Or was she killed by John Cavendish’ attractive wife, Mary, who had a special interest in poisons as a woman’s murder weapon of choice?  Or perhaps it was young Cynthia Howard, who was Mrs. Inglethorp’s ward and a nurse with access to unlimited medicine and chemicals at the village hospital?  Of course, Mrs. Inglethorp’s family suspects the mysterious Mr. Inglethorp, a stranger much younger than Mrs. Inglethorp who, after a short courtship, marries the elderly woman.  Or could it have been Evie, Mrs. Inglethorp’s most trusted friend and servant, who was fiercely loyal to her but hates her new husband?  Perhaps it was Dr. Bauerstein, the strange doctor visiting Styles who struck a peculiar friendship with Mary Cavendish?  It is up to Hercule Poirot to get to the bottom of the mystery and solve the crime!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie marks the very first appearance of the famous detective Hercule Poirot.  The Belgian, visiting Styles St. Mary during the time of the crime, bumps into his friend Mr. Hastings, who is the narrator of the story and a guest of Mr. John Cavendish in their home. Fortunately for the Cavendish family, through the encouragement of Mr. Hastings, Hercule Poirot agrees to take on the case and help solve the mystery of their mother’s untimely death.

Like most of the Agatha Christie novel’s I’ve read, The Mysterious Affair at Styles is a fast-paced, straight-to-the-point, good ole’ fashioned mystery, which, though about death and treachery, is light and enjoyable to read.  Readers will enjoy the funny antics of the eccentric Hercule Poirot and his unorthodox methods of deduction to solve even the most complex of mysteries.  The Mysterious Affair at Styles is a classic whodunnit book that started it all, and it is recommended for fans of Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie!

***

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) – Agatha Christie

William Morrow; 247 pages (paperback)

Personal rating:  3/5

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