The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Publishing Info: Audiobook by Harper Collins, narrated by Hugh Fraser
Star Rating: 5/5
Back Cover Summary:
A refugee of the Great War, Poirot is settling in England near Styles Court, the country estate of his wealthy benefactor, the elderly Emily Inglethorp. When Emily is poisoned and the authorities are baffled, Poirot puts his prodigious sleuthing skills to work. Suspects are plentiful, including the victim’s much younger husband, her resentful stepsons, her longtime hired companion, a young family friend working as a nurse, and a London specialist on poisons who just happens to be visiting the nearby village.
All of them have secrets they are desperate to keep, but none can outwit Poirot as he navigates the ingenious red herrings and plot twists that earned Agatha Christie her well-deserved reputation as the queen of mystery.
There is just something about Agatha Christie’s stories which always manage to keep me hooked from beginning to end, and The Mysterious Affair at Styles did this superbly. I have previously read four of Christie’s novels – a rather random selection. This time, I decided to go back to the very beginning and see where it all started. The Mysterious Affair at Styles is both Christie’s first published novel and the first Poirot book. This, it turns out, was an excellent choice.
Although it is possible to dip in and out of Christie’s books, I’m very glad I chose to read the first, as it provided a good introduction to the characters of Poirot and Hastings. Hastings appears in several, though not all, of the Poirot novels. The dynamic of the pair is very much reminiscent of Holmes and Watson and, much like in the Sherlock Holmes stories, we see the mystery from the perspective of Hastings, the Watson of the duo.
The mystery to be solved in this Poirot instalment is a classic Christie, with a country house, questions over inheritance and, of course, poisoning. I was engaged throughout and sped through the book as I was totally hooked and desperate to find out the solution to the mystery. There were so many twists and turns in the investigation, and the big reveal was a fantastic conclusion.
I listened to the audiobook edition narrated by Hugh Fraser, who was a very good narrator and made it an enjoyable listen.
Overall, this was a brilliant mystery and I am very glad I decided to return to the beginning of the Poirot series. I’ll definitely be reading more!