The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
The blurb: Invalided home from the First World War, Lieutenant Hastings finds himself in a convalescent home very much to his disliking. Thankfully his old friend John Cavendish invites him to spend the rest of his sick leave at his family home. The beautiful Styles Court is home to John’s step mother Mrs Inglethorpe, and her new husband Alfred. Despite the tranquil surroundings Hastings begins to realise that all is not right. When Mrs Inglethorpe is found poisoned a murder investigation begins, and who better to investigate than war refugee Hercule Poirot, a retired Belgian detective.
My review: Lovely to meet you finally Monsieur Poirot! As I have previously mentioned I love Marple on the tele so Poirot for me was a reluctant pick-up having never really warmed to the adaptation (I have since resolved to give it another go)
The Mysterious Affair at Styles is a wonderful, classic whodunit that will keep you guessing until the end, Poirot is infuriatingly brilliant at ‘umming’ and ahhing’ in all the right places and you feel the frustration of Hasings the narrator, to be left out of Poirot’s thought processes. But the motley crew of suspects is brilliantly thought out and you’d need to get up very early to outsmart Christie! I did think I had it in the bag but was outmanoeuvred, had a slight Jonathan Creek feel to it. (Can you tell I watch too many detective dramas on TV)
Written in 1916, the book ages beautifully, painting a picture of the times and morals in post war/pre war Britain. The wonderful Agatha Christie website mentions that Christie’s favourite review of this book was in the Pharmaceutical Journal, which praised, “this detective story for dealing with poisons in a knowledgeable way, and not with the nonsense about untraceable substances that so often happens. Miss Agatha Christie knows her job.” Amen! I read this in one go, brilliant. (Murder at the Vicarage is my next Christie instalment!)
7.5 out of 10 stars! *******.5