The Mysterious Affair at Styles | 4 star review
Series: Hercule Poirot #1
Also in this series: The Murder on the Links
Published by Deodand
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 detective Hercule Poirot is on the case. The key to the success of this style of detective novel, writes Elizabeth George in her Introduction, lies in how the author deals with both the clues and the red herrings, and it has to be said that no one bettered Agatha Christie at this game.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles was my first attempt at the Agatha Christie novels and I’m so glad I started out with Poirot. I used to watch both Poirot and Miss Marple with my mum on a weekend. I used to love it and some of my best weekend memories are sat colouring watching the ‘grown-up’ TV with my mum. Plus it wins the crime genre for me because I didn’t see the ending coming, like at all!
I was concerned that the age of the book was going to play against it. I know how times have changed and sometimes books don’t translate well into the modern and they can be a little underwhelming. I have to say this wasn’t the case and I think I have Audible to thank for that. I think the audiobook brought the characters to life in a way that reading wouldn’t have, I found it easier to keep a track of who the characters were and what part they had to play in the story. There was something about the characters and the way the story was framed that made it a great read, so I needn’t have been worried.
My favourite thing about The Mysterious Affair at Styles would have to be the dynamic between Hastings and Poirot, I loved the exchanges and the way they interacted. Especially Hastings’ point of view. There were some humorous parts, which I still haven’t worked out whether it was supposed to be as funny as it was. It’s a tough one to call, and I might have to Google and see whether it was meant to be that way.
One thing I thought about all the way through the book was how different the relationship between Hastings and Poirot was to say, Sherlock and Watson. Throughout Sherlock Watson seems to be really in awe of Sherlock’s abilities whereas with Hastings he’s constantly trying to one-up each other and get one over on one another. I loved the difference, it definitely added more to the story and the crime.
I would definitely recommend The Mysterious Affair at Styles, I think it’s a well-written book with some great characters and some great events. I will definitely be carrying on with the series, and probably on audiobook.