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The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha…
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The Mysterious Affair at Styles (original 1920; edition 2007)

by Agatha Christie

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English (131)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (139)
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Review Originally Posted At: FictionForesight

While Mister Hastings is visiting his old friend, John Cavendish, things go horribly wrong. The reigning matron, Mrs. Cavendish, dies violently in the early morning hours. With everyone so set against Alfred Inglethrop, the newly married husband turned widow, will Hercule Poirot be able to prove who did it?

As anyone who is a fan of mysteries knows, Agatha Christie is the queen of the cozy mystery. Her characters have spawned television series, movies, and countless homages in novels and media. Honestly, I want to be a big fan of her. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of her style of story telling.

Her writing is great. She masters the first person narrative in this book, and I have rarely seen that pulled off successfully in modern novels. Somehow she manages to make Poirot a main character without actually using his viewpoint to tell the story. As great as that is in style, it does make it a pain to read. The problem is that, in order to tell the reader what is happening, Poirot has to talk. A lot. I would say the majority of the book is dialogue and the last bit is pulling the rug out under the reader to give us information that was, without giving anything away, mainly kept secret from the reader. Maybe I just didn’t see it, but it seems like she didn’t want us to know until the very end.

The mystery itself was interesting. There are red herrings, and some are easy to spot, while others are harder. I personally had a red herring in the end, but I don’t want to give too much away by discussing it. My biggest gripe would be with the number and similarity of characters. I felt like there were too many and not all of them had enough of a role in my mind to necessitate their presence.

My personal issues with that style of mystery aside, it was a good book. I would still recommend it to readers who have a few Agatha Christie novels under their belt already, or someone who insists on going in order. Most of the novels I have read by Agatha Christie appear to be completely standalone, as even in this first novel in the series, Poirot refers to prior events that are nonessential to the plot.

(www.FictionForesight.com) ( )
  FictionForesight | Apr 26, 2016 |
While I am not a huge fan of the character Poirot this is still an excellent little crime caper and more impressive that it was Christie's First published book. While I did think the plot was overly clever / complicated that is what you want in a who-dun-it, isn't it? ( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
This was only the second Agatha Christie book I’ve read and while it was fun and definitely got me out of my reading slump slump, it didn’t entirely convince me of the hype.

Full review → Joie des Livres ( )
  joiedeslivres | Apr 12, 2016 |
This is the first Hercule Poirot mystery. I finished listening to it a few weeks ago and should have reviewed it sooner. I'll do the best I can.

This is set during World War I. Hastings is a wounded soldier visiting a friend in Styles. He thinks he'd make a good detective, and he gets an opportunity to prove that (or not) when Mrs. Inglethorp is found dead, apparently due to strychnine poisoning. Hasting enlists the help of Hercule Poirot, a Belgian refugee who was a famous detective in his home country, and in the end it's mostly Poirot figuring things out while Hastings occasionally assists and desperately tries to figure out what Poirot has deduced but won't tell him.

This was a complicated story made extra confusing by the fact that I couldn't keep any of the characters and their relationships straight. In that respect, this didn't really make for a good work-time audiobook – it needed a little more attention than I could give it. However, the narration was so good that I didn't mind.

I bought this during an Audible sale, not knowing that the narrator, Hugh Fraser, was the same person who played Hastings in the TV series. I remember thinking that the narrator seemed to be channeling TV series Hasting and was doing an excellent job of it, so it was a little embarrassing when I realized who he was.

At any rate, if you liked the TV series, Hugh Fraser's narration will probably appeal to you. Not only will his Hastings sound familiar (ha!), he does a wonderful job of imitating David Suchet's Poirot speech patterns. I need to remember to keep an eye out for Fraser's Poirot narrations in future Audible sales, or maybe even spend one of my precious credits on one.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Apr 3, 2016 |
David Suchet
  jmail | Mar 21, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (115 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curran, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fonticoli, DianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
George, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keilhau, WollertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, WillCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suchet, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symons, JulianForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

References to this work on external resources.

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Book description
This book is in public domain in the USA and the e-book is available free online ...

 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0646418432, Paperback)

The heiress of Styles has been murdered, dying in agony from strychnine slipped into her coffee. And there are plenty who would gain from her death: the financially strapped stepson, the gold digging younger husband, and an embittered daughter-in-law.

Agatha Christie's eccentric and hugely popular detective, Hercule Poirot, was introduced to the world in this book, which launched her career as the most famous and best loved of all mystery writers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:05 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Recently, there had been some strange goings on at Styles St Mary. Evelyn, constant companion to old Mrs. Inglethorp, had stormed out of the house muttering something about 'a lot of sharks'. And with her, something indefinable had gone from the atmosphere. Her presence had spelt security; now the air seemed rife with suspicion and impending evil.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Audible.com

12 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102715, 1400109191

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