The Mysterious Affair at Styles

May 24, 2017 - Comment

The story opens in England during the First World War at Styles Court, an Essex country manor. Upon her husband’s death, the wealthy widow Emily Cavendish inherited a life estate in Styles as well as the outright inheritance of the larger part of the late Mr. Cavendish’s income. Mrs. Cavendish became Mrs. Inglethorp upon her

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The story opens in England during the First World War at Styles Court, an Essex country manor. Upon her husband’s death, the wealthy widow Emily Cavendish inherited a life estate in Styles as well as the outright inheritance of the larger part of the late Mr. Cavendish’s income. Mrs. Cavendish became Mrs. Inglethorp upon her recent marriage to a younger man, Alfred Inglethorp. Emily’s two stepsons, John and Lawrence Cavendish, John’s wife Mary and Cynthia Murdoch, also live at Styles. John Cavendish is the vested remainderman of Styles; that is, the property will pass to him upon his stepmother’s death, per his late father’s will. Lawrence Cavendish would also come into a considerable sum of money. The income left to Mrs Inglethorp by her late husband would be distributed according to her will, which she changes at least once per year. If she has not changed her will since her marriage, her husband will inherit that income.[5] Cynthia does war-time work at the pharmacy in the nearby hospital. The residents of Styles wake to find Emily Inglethorp dying of strychnine poisoning. Hastings, a house guest, enlists the help of his friend Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the nearby village, Styles St. Mary. Poirot pieces together events surrounding the murder. On the day she was killed, Emily Inglethorp was overheard arguing with someone, either her husband Alfred or her stepson John. Afterwards, she seemed quite distressed and, apparently, made a new will — which no one can find. She ate little at dinner and retired early to her room with her document case. The case was later forced open by someone and a document removed. Alfred Inglethorp left Styles earlier in the evening and stayed overnight in the nearby village, so was not present when the poisoning occurred. Nobody can explain how or when the strychnine was administered to Mrs. Inglethorp.

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…

Noonski says:

A Classic! If youâ??re an avid reader youâ??ll probably relate to this: that empty feeling you get after reading a really excellent book. You wander around, wondering if it will ever be possible to find another excellent book. You know that it might take you some time to find another really excellent book because there are lots of not-so-good books out there. 

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