The Mysterious Affair at Styles

March 24, 2017 - Comment

It was written in the middle of the First World War, in 1916, and first published by John Lane in the United States in October 1920 and in the United Kingdom by The Bodley Head (John Lane’s UK company) on 21 January 1921. Styles was Christie’s first published novel. It introduced Hercule Poirot, Inspector (later,

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It was written in the middle of the First World War, in 1916, and first published by John Lane in the United States in October 1920 and in the United Kingdom by The Bodley Head (John Lane’s UK company) on 21 January 1921. Styles was Christie’s first published novel. It introduced Hercule Poirot, Inspector (later, Chief Inspector) Japp, and Arthur Hastings. Poirot, a Belgian refugee of the Great War, is settling in England near the home of Emily Inglethorp, who helped him to his new life. His friend Hastings arrives as a guest at her home. When the woman is killed, Poirot uses his detective skills to solve the mystery. This is also the setting of Curtain, Poirot’s last case. This first mystery novel by Agatha Christie was well received by reviewers. An analysis in 1990 was positive about the plot, considered the novel one of the few by Christie that is well-anchored in time and place, a story that knows it describes the end of an era, and mentions that the plot is clever. Christie had not mastered cleverness in her first novel, as “too many clues tend to cancel each other out”; this was judged a difficulty “which Conan Doyle never satisfactorily overcame, but which Christie would.”

Comments

J. Sexton says:

Buy the Fully Restored Edition for the illustrations! I actually had to buy this book twice. The Kindle Chios/Perennial Press edition was missing the illustrations. The Kindle “Fully Restored Edition” included them and helped the mystery make sense. 

M. J. Mann says:

Intelligent and full of common sense. This is the second Hercule Poirot book that I have read, and-actually-the first that Agatha Christie wrote. I love Hercule Poirot’s thoughtful way of approaching “suspects” and the simple way that he seems to make hypothesis and prove and disprove his “little ideas” through questioning and common sense. In both stories I have read so far, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and The Halloween Party, there is another character trying to piece together the evidence and come up with a…

C. M Mills says:

Curtain is Hercule Poirot s final case and is Christie s most astounding suprise ending of all her countless novels! The circle is completed as Hastings and Poirot return to Styles in Essex for their final case. Poirot s first case was located in this evil locale in The Mysterious Affair at Styles published in 1920. While it is the last Poirot case it was not the last Poirot novel written by Christie. Dame Agatha wrote it during the London Blitz of 1940. She made sure Curtain and Sleeping Murder the last case of Miss Marple were placed in a London vault for safekeeping should she run short on ideas for…

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