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Agatha Christie's Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) Paperback – October 21, 2002
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"Almost too ingenious ... very clearly and brightly told." Times Literary Supplement "Very well contrived." Sunday Times "Altogether a skilful tale and a talented first book." Daily News "The most ingenious and absorbingly interesting tale of sensations and mystery we have read for a long time." Bookman "Well written, well proportioned, and full of surprises. Lovers of good stories will, without exception, rejoice in this book." The British Weekly --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Inside Flap
Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Sus-pects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary--from the heiress's fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary. Making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case.
"The key to the success of this style of detective novel," writes Elizabeth George in her Introduction, "lies in how the author deals with both the clues and the red herrings, and it has to be said that no one bettered Agatha Christie at this game." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
From the village nearby appears the Belgian wonder, Poirot, and what happens next is what you might expect. Hastings seems sure he can solve this case easily, and it's great fun to see the little man with the "gray cells" show him that there is more than meets the eye. It's no wonder that Agatha came back so many times to use Poirot is so many stories.
The narrator absolutely cracked me up! He is so dismissive of that 'funny little' Poirot, sure that the man is either crazy or absurd and equally sure that he himself will solve the crime.
The mystery takes place at a country manor home that is complete with servants and where no one seems to have to work for a living--so very British! The murder suspect seems to be ironclad guilty but leave it to Poirot to find that sliver of doubt. There were so many red herrings in the book that I totally gave up on trying to solve the mystery. Poirot certainly does nothing to help, agreeing with every ridiculous notion that the narrator has and leaving the readers to wonder what solution is untangling in his genius brain or if he is indeed the nitwit the narrator makes him out to be.
Still, I was shocked by the ending. Truly never even saw it coming and that is what makes Christie, still, the Grandest Dame of them all! Jolly good show.
the second promised annotations for the princely sum of two dollars and thirty nine cents. I opened it on my kindle and was instantly greeted with an unreadable jumble: a badly OCRed clone with line breaks placed at random, and the page numbers tastefully left in the middle of sentences.
I have returned both editions, and whoever put them out should be thrown in prison.
Lawrence is the younger son, is somewhat taciturn, remains single, and once was a student of medicine ...
John seems unimaginative, is unhappy about the size of his allowance, and is married to Mary. Unfortunately, their marriage is showing signs of fracture - Mary has been spending a lot of time with that mysterious doctor Bauerstein who specializes in poisons ...
Emily is quiet fond of Cynthia: her protegee. Cynthia was a poor orphan, but now she is all grown up and works as a nurse in a dispensary which is well stocked with poisons ...
And then there is Evelyn - Emily took her on to do odd jobs. Much to Emily's annoyance, Evelyn begins filling her ear with poisonous talk about her husband's trysts ...
And lastly, there is Mr. Hastings. He is taking advantage of his convalesce from the war to visit his old friend John. Luckily, he had arrived just in time for Emily's big charity event for the war. For the affair, Emily had invited a group of Belgian refugees to attend. As it often happens in life, one of Hastings' dear old friends - whom he hadn't seen in years - M. Poirot, the famous private detective, is among them.
The planned charity affair will go off without a hitch, unfortunately, there is a second planned event about to befall someone in a most convulsive way ...
Overall, this is a wonderfully complex story. There are clues and red herrings galore.
Agatha Christie wrote so many books that some are much better than others and I only want to keep those of hers that I really enjoy and want to reread mainly because of space and I love a variety of authors' works.
This book is NOT one of her better books, which is understandable because this was her first published book. Most if not all authors improve their writing styles when writing books over time; Christie was one of these. Her Poirot was more interesting in her later books. Also using Hastings as the primary isn't so good; he is too obtuse and seems to complain about it, which is irritating. He is smarter in the books than the person presented in the BBC productions, but still he is one reason I prefer non-Poirot books.