The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Agatha Christie

Poirot’s First Case

How I have managed to live so long and never read an Agatha Christie novel is beyond me, especially considering I have watched at lot of the Poirot TV episodes with David Suchet and loved them. However, I did not personally set out to read this book. My mum is also an avid reader (it’s almost somewhat of a family trait, in my immediate family at least) and picked it up from the Library to read over Easter. She got through it in a day if I recall correctly – she works at a local secondary school so was enjoying two weeks of uninterrupted leisurely bliss at the time – and gave it to me to read as she enjoyed it so much.

I will admit it took me a bit longer to read than it did her, I obviously still had work over this period and recently I am finding myself so exhausted at the end of the day that I can only manage a few pages in bed before I fall asleep, book in hand. I do get time to read while I’m waiting for or on trains (I guess that’s the one plus of South Eastern trains being so unreliable) but with so many characters introduced at the very beginning I decided to start again and write a character map to help keep them all straight in my fatigued mind…which I have evidently left in the book that is now back the library – hopefully it will help the next reader.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles was every thing I expected from a Poirot story, having only the TV show as a point of reference. Full of intrigue and twists, I could not keep my mind on who I thought the culprit was for very long, what with all of those red herrings swimming Styles manor. The story itself is narrated by Poirot’s friend Hastings which works well as we the reader don’t get an inside view into Poirot’s head so can draw up our own conclusions until the very end. I am assuming the other Poirot novels are written in this manner as Hastings was in the majority of the episodes of the TV show I have watched (I have not seen all of the episodes though) – if so, I do hope that over time Hastings becomes less of an arse. He seemed to be constantly doubting Poirot, thinking he was too old and that his mind was not up to the task of solving this murder. This started to annoy me after a while, I felt that it just stemmed from Hastings’ petty jealousy of the fact that Poirot was much more intelligent, Hastings would have no hope in solving the murder himself, regardless of how observant and astute he thinks he is. You were the one who suggested Poirot get involved Hastings! Talking and thinking smack about him behind is back is a little beneath you – is it not?

I digress, even though the story is only short all the characters are well fleshed out and plot moves at a good pace that keeps you guessing with every page. I won’t give any hints as to who the murderer is, all I will say is the plot has twists and turns than a twisty turny thing.

I will definitely be adding more Agatha Chrisite to my ever growing “to read” list, hopefully I can get rid of this permanent feeling of exhaustion so I can get some proper reading done again.

Has anyone here read The Mysterious Affair at Styles – if so what did you think? Did Hastings annoy you, or am I being too hard him?

Favourite Quotes:

 
Poirot is discretions itself.

Poirot stopped for a moment, and gazed sorrowfully over the beautiful expanse of park, still glittering with morning dew.

Poor Emily was never murdered until he came along.

“…a very dark shadow is resting on this house – the shadow of murder.”

There are times when it is ones duty to assert oneself.

The sunlight, piercing through the branches, turned the auburn of her hair to quivering gold.

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