The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) by Agatha Christie is the author’s first published novel and the first time we meet Hercule Poirot, Hastings and Japp.
Emily Inglethorp is poisoned and dies. Hastings alerts Poirot to the case and he begins investigating the murder which happened in the Essex countryside in Styles Court. It was great to see where it all really started taking off for Christie because I’m a huge fan. It was an historic moment in literature. I really enjoyed it. I liked the story and the mystery of it. It runs very smoothly and look, Christie is a great writer so the talent was there from the jump as it so often is with great writers. We get to begin to know Poirot here but Christie cleverly leaves much to learn about him in books she was hoping to write with him in future clearly. It is admirable the work she put into this book when she wasn’t sure at this stage if she was going to have the success she ended up deservedly having. She clearly loved writing and I love that in her.
There is a flaw to this book. I did read a racist slur in it and it didn’t feel like it was there to highlight racism in a bid to condemn it. It was just there and it was ugly. I know many people would say ‘time, context’ and that’s fair enough but it’s not how I see things. If I think something is wrong whenever it was written, I don’t pass it over. So yeah, for me personally that was a flaw. I do love Agatha but that was incredibly disappointing to read.
The ending of this is great. I didn’t solve the mystery. It is a brilliant whodunnit. It is not an easy mystery by any means to work out and the red herrings in it are very well put into the plot.
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