The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie is the first book in Hercule Poirot series, which according to the official suggested reading order list, has forty three books in it. And that is not the end of Mrs Christie’s work, not at all. This book was first published in 1920 and series have gained incredible fame since then – there have been movie and theater adaptions and many have assured that Agatha Christie is the queen of crime. This year the world celebrates 125 years since this brilliant writer first saw the daylight and that was just one more reason for me to pick up a book of hers and meet my childhood hero – Mr Poirot.
This book is narrated by Mr Hastings who is visiting his acquaintances at Styles and meets his old friend Hercule Poirot there as well. You know what they say – where’s Hercule, there’s a murder! That’s correct and with help of Scotland Yard and Mr Hastings, Poirot is trying to unravel the mystery behind the murder, which he is sure has happened and as suggested by the book cover – the victim has been poisoned. Poirot discovers more and more clues which might lead to the murderer, but might be just false leads set by the perpetrator. Has the murderer fooled everyone else? Will Poirot get it right?
This book gives you countless clues and Poirot is kind enough to explain them to you, if he thinks it is harmless enough for you to know it. And there’s really no boundaries for you to not see many of the things that are uncovered once the story is told fully at the end of the book. It is a great way to pick your logic and see how much attention you have actually paid while reading.
I picked up this book for many reasons, but the main was the fact that I loved the films (TV series?) about Poirot when I was a kid. And now I was slightly skeptical – was it really that brilliant? Or was I just a stupid kid who didn’t see the obvious and couldn’t catch the murderer?
I didn’t catch the murderer in this one. I will not tell my guess either as it might spoil it to you, because you would expect it to not the be the murderer. But I thought that I had really solid points and was a bit disappointed that my chosen character wasn’t the murderer, only comfort was that Poirot admitted at the end that the person I suspected actually had the most evidence against him/her. So yeah, I am at least half great.
There were some problems with this book – one was the narrator, I hated Mr Hastings, which made me not like the book as much as I would have. I didn’t like that he missed so many obvious details that he himself explained before and it got on my nerves so much when he involved feelings (gosh, he just met most of those people for the first time!), so yes… I guess the author might have done a better job showing the actual time that passes while we experience the story the fact that he wasn’t as spry as me got on my nerves. I guess it is hard to balance it out because, if he would have been quicker than me, I would have hated that even more.
Didn’t enjoy the trial which was really long (introduced with some laws of the time – that was nice) and basically showed lawyers as assholes and recounted everything that had happened so far in the book, so basically it retold us the story again. I guess it is good for those that have forgotten, but I was in a pretty good shape, so that part was a bit boring and the lawyers – annoying.
And honestly – the characters weren’t that well developed and I didn’t find out much about them, I guess there wasn’t enough space in the book as all was taken by the mystery. But I would have liked to learn more about Poirot and do hope that it will happen in future.
The writing impressed me, I was expecting something worse because usually old books (and come on, almost 100 years is an old book) don’t really shine and sometimes have some weird words or dialects in them and just makes the book not enjoyable, but this wasn’t like that at all, so yes, Agatha Christie outlived her time for a reason.
This book made me feel a lot like I would be playing Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective the Board Game which me and Tom have and it is a great game and exercise for your deduction skills. Highly recommend!
I don’t really think that this book would be very interesting for kids as I was a bit bored in the passages that were repeating and I don’t think you should read this one, if you plan to read just few, because I am sure that this is not the best one. Some teens might really love it because of the guessing game. It is more of a new adult and adult series with a thing for classics and crime, and I guess some Poirot or Miss Marple in their childhood. This book received three stars from me on goodreads and I expect that the series will just go upwards and get better and better. Needless to say that I am going to read more, not sure, if all of them, but some for sure.
I have been sick for a while, so yeah, reading has been a hard thing for me, but I hope to get back on the track soon and get that Scarlet review to you next week!
Have you watched Poirot films when you were little? Have you read the books? Are you a fan? Which one is your favourite, let me know in the comment section bellow! Owl out!