The Mysterious Affairs At Styles – A Book Review


By  SV Shravan Kumar (RBG)

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“The Mysterious Affairs At Styles” is  the first of all the great  novels published by the Queen of Crime – “Agatha Christie”. It is in this novel that we acquaint with the brilliance and wit of ‘Hercule Poirot’ as  can be seen from  quote,

“An extraordinary-looking little man. He was hardly more than five feet, four inches, but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg. His moustache was very still and military. The neatness of his attire was almost incredible. I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound”.

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The plot is set in England near the home of Emily Inglethorp,  who helped Poirot to his new life in England. Poirot’s friend , Hastings (Inspector) , arrives as a guest at Emily’s home.

The residents of Styles wake-up to find Emily Inglethorp dying of strychnine poisoning. Hastings, a house guest, suggests to take 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, suspected to be either her husband Alfred or her stepson John. Later , she is made to seem quite distressed and made to make a new will — which no one can find.

While reading the book, I was trying to make my own deductions to catch the murderer before it was revealed in the book. I tried to build my suspicions by the clues and details revealed eventually in the book and after a few chapters I was almost certain who the murderer was. But Christie’s endings always shock you .

Christie’s vital concern is with the creation of plot, and anything which might tend to block the blunt linear sequence of events is treated ruthlessly . Her novels progress toward the public revelation of factual truth (the big reveal) towards the end. I have become such a huge fan of her work, that over the past year, I have been  unable to read any other work than that of hers and I believe you will be glued  to it soon too.