Original Publication Date: 1920
Topics: detective, marriage,
Lt. Hastings is mooching on his friend John Cavendish by staying in his mother-in-law's house, Styles, for a reeeeally long time. Naturally something horrible happens. John's mother-in-law is poisoned! But who did it? Her new husband, whom everyone hates? One of her stepsons? Or one of her desperate dependents? Fortunately, Hastings' friend, Monsieur Hercule Poirot, just happens to be staying in the nearby village and just happens to be the world's greatest detective. So that was poor planning on the killer's part.
I had no idea that Agatha Christie's first novel also introduced Hercule Poirot to the world until I read Memory's review of The Mysterious Affair at Styles at Stella Matutina. I happen to love the TV show with David Suchet, and it's impossible not to picture him as Poirot while reading. But the book version of Poirot is even more awesome than the screen version! He's more bouncy and quirky and snarky.
As for Hastings, he's worse on the page than he is on screen. He's petty, jealous, myopic, and he has the hots for his bestie's wife. That's just rude. Of course The Mysterious Affair at Styles is told from his perspective, so the reader never knows what's going on.
The only other Christie book I've read (so far) is Murder on the Orient Express; The Mysterious Affair at Styles is not as good as that book. There were some boring parts that seriously put me to sleep. But there were also really good parts, and the mystery was delightfully twisty. Poirot gathers everyone together in the drawing room at the end to reveal the killer, and I LOVE THAT.
Overall I think The Mysterious Affair at Styles evens out to an okay novel, especially if you like intellectual puzzle type-mysteries. Worth checking out for a mystery fan.
Download The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie from Project Gutenberg