The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
(Hercule Poirot, #1)
Genre: Mystery (Classic)
Read: 8/11/2012 — 8/14/2012
In Six Words: Certainly not my last Christie book.
The famous case that launched the career of Hercule Poirot. When a wealthy heiress is murdered, Poirot steps out of retirement to find the killer. As the master detective makes his way through the list of suspects, he finds the solution in an elaborately planned scheme almost impossible to believe.
Why I Started Reading This Book and Final Verdict
I will admit: I am not on the up and up with classic mysteries. I don’t have anything against classic mysteries, mind you, I just have never sought them out. So when I saw The Mysterious Affair at Styles as a free Kindle download, I said, “Heck yes, let’s do this!” and downloaded it (on 8/6/2012). I’m relatively an easy sell on Kindle freebies. As for the book itself, while I don’t know that I will continue this series, I will definitely be seeking out another Agatha Christie mystery in the future.
I think my main issue with this book–and a big reason why it was easy to put down–was that the detective in the case, Hercule Poirot, is not the narrator. In fact, we see him through Mr. Hastings’ eyes, and it’s not always a flattering light. I never mind not knowing everything the detective knows (so that the perpetrator is a surprise at the end of the book), but something about being so “distant” from the detective left me feeling quite disconnected from the entire mystery.
The way that Agatha Christie weaves her murder mystery, though, is fabulous. With more suspects than you can shake a stick at (sorry; that was terribly cliche of me, wasn’t it?), the suspect pool is ever changing with each new piece of information. I loved this aspect of the mystery. Just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, something happens that dashes all of your original assumptions and you’re left with wondering who could possibly have committed the murder. It’s not necessarily twisty and turny, but I think it’s more that Christie plays on your assumptions and manipulates them pretty thoroughly.
Overall, while I felt a slight disconnect from the book and characters, the mystery was good enough that I will seek out more Agatha Christie books in the future.