We’re all familiar with Agatha Christie’s little Belgian detective. His facial hair is recognisable to most, either from watching the many films or television adaptations, listening to radio plays or even reading the novels. The Mysterious Affair at Styles was Christie’s first published novel and where we meet Hercule Poirot.
I’m not new to the adventures of M. Poirot. My favourite adventures of his are Murder on the Orient Express and The ABC Murders. My mum is an avid Christie fan and I have been surrounded by such literature most of my life. How I had neglected to read this novel is puzzling. Nevertheless, I’m glad to have read this adventure.
The main focus of every story in the series is a murder. In this case it is Emily Inglethorp who is poisoned by someone at the estate of Styles. Is it her oddball husband who is disliked by the rest of the household, the doctor-turned poet stepson who stands to inherit a substantial amount of money, a toxicologist who is a friend of a lady of the house? The book is very good at keeping you guessing, throwing in a twist or new piece of information every few pages.
Captain Hastings narrates the story well, adding to the confusion by putting forward his own interpretations of situations. The characters are well described and developed and Christie has a knack for persuading you to feel certain ways about certain people, adding to the twists and turns of the plot.
I enjoyed this novel, not only as an instalment of one of my favourite crime franchises but as wonderful story in its own right. Anyone into crime and mystery needs to indulge in Poirot’s first adventure and relish the challenge and plot this novel presents.