Customer Reviews for

Mysterious Affair at Styles: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Average Rating 4
( 26 )
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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining and full of surprises

    I'm embarrassed to admit that, prior to reading this book, I had never read anything by Agatha Christie. Last week, PBS featured one of her books on their Masterpiece Mystery show, and I thought it was very well done. My interest was piqued as to whether the books were as good as the show. I decided to start with her very first book published, rather than start with a later book and run the risk of encountering spoilers. So, I requested The Mysterious Affair at Styles from my library, and hoped for the best.

    I was not disappointed! One big plus to The Mysterious Affair at Styles is that the culprit is not obvious. At the end of the book, I was just as surprised as the characters to learn who the murderer was, and what had happened. It was refreshing not to have it be predictable. I also like that the reader is given lots of clues along the way, to try and piece things together. The book moves quick enough that you don't get bored, yet provides plenty of details and complex characters. I definitely plan on reading more by Christie, if this book is any indication to what the rest of her mysteries are like.

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    A Must for Christie/Mystery Fans

    This is where it started. Originally published in 1920, this is Christie's first novel and featured the debut of Hercule Poirot and friend Hastings. A harbinger of things to come, this is an intiguing blend of characters and plot that keep you guessing and reading. Any fan of the genre and author will love it. Sure this will lead the reader to Christie's other novels, many of which I have now read. Highly recommended reading.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is how the great mystery writer started

    The first time I read The Mysterious Affair At Styles... Well, I can't even remember the first time I read it so recently decided to re-read the book that was the beginning of Agatha Christie's wonderful career. It has a great reputation and it was probably completely amazing for its time (otherwise it wouldn't have been as successful as it was) but to me it was little more than Agatha Christie starting out, testing her pen, coming into her own. The writing isn't as precise and engaging and Poirot is more exuberance than method but this mystery already has the elements I've come to expect from her work: the detective's presence is more serendipity than anything else, there's a rather large cast of characters and if you dig deep enough every one of them has a motive but none of them actually had the opportunity to commit the crime (not at first glance anyway), and the culprit is not at all the person you've suspected.
    As different as Poirot may have been in this book from his later appearances he was ultimately my favorite part of this story. Because of his lack of reserve in his interactions with the English, his status of a refugee, even how stumped he was as for the identity of the murderer made him much more endearing than when he gradually transformed into an infallible force of intellect who always keeps his cards to his chest in the later books. I also liked his role in the human element of this story when he attended to the personal lives of some of the characters as a side project during his investigation. What can I say, the man cared and I like seeing that in fiction!
    All in all this is a good debut novel and although because of the writing I can't give it more than 3 stars I believe that if one decides to read all of Christie's novels the way I have one might as well start at the beginning and watch the master perfect her craft.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Introdcution to Hercule Poirot

    When I had decided to read every Agatha Christie mystery I was just going to go about it willy-nilly, read them as I got them with no regard for publishing order. However, when I posted I was doing this on the Mystery board at the Barnes & Noble book club site it was suggested I go about it a little differently. Becke and Dulcinea both convinced me the only way to do this right was to read them in order because several of the reoccurring characters age throughout the books. I wisely bowed to their wisdom and changed up my game plane a bit.


    Now I had a slow start to my self challenge but I finally finished the first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Now this was a book I had read several times but this time I tried to read the book as if it was my first time through. This was a lot harder than I originally thought it would be. I believe I managed to do a OK job at it though and here are a few of my thoughts.


    This is not only the first mystery novel Agatha Christie published, it is also the first appearance of the famous Hercule Poirot. Monsieur Poirot and his "little gray cells" went on to star in over 30 novels and over 50 short stories. Leaving out everything else I have read with him in it I came away still liking this strange overly pompous, egotistical man. The man is cunning and so sure of himself he is willing to take risks with other peoples lives in order to produce the outcome he desires.


    I have always found myself fascinated by a man who is described in this book as "hardly more than five feet, four inches, but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff 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." This description was given by Arthur Hastings who is narrating the book. Colonel Hastings would appear regularly throughout Hercule Poirot's career as a Watson like character. Poirot's reasoning and skills of observation are wonderful to watch play out as he solves the case.


    This is also the first appearance of Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard. Not much is revealed about him in this book other than he had previously worked with Poirot and has full trust in him.


    I loved the book and recommend if to anyone who has never read a Agatha Christie book. This is a good taste of what she has to offer as a story teller. In this book as in her others, the clues are always there for you to spot and there are never any surprises. One of the characters from this book, Evelyn Howard, describes the way bad writing in mystery novels so often goes "Lots of nonsense written....criminal discovered in last chapter. Every one dumbfounded." This is not the case for Agatha Christie books, the killer is always there to spot if you are as clever as Hercule Poirot.


    This is the plot synopsis from the publisher of the edition I read (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers)


    Set in Essex in the English countryside. The Mysterious Affair at Styles is one of the great classic murder mysteries. The victim, Mrs. Emily Inglethorp, is the wealthy mistress of Styles Court. After an evening of entertaining family and guest, she is found poisoned in her locked bedroom. The long list of suspects includes her gold-digging new husband, her stepsons, her best female friend, and a visiting doctor. As

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2010

    Poirot is one of the best detectives in literature.

    The first of Agatha Christie's books and the first of the Hercule Poirot mysteries it is a beautifully written book that proves why she is the best selling author in history only next to the bible and Shakespeare. If you have read any of her books you know that they all have very similar story lines. A bunch of people come together there is a murder and then someone tries to solve it who knows much more about what's going on then anyone else in the story or the reader except of course the murderer. The characters are all incredibly well written and have a realness rarely seen in murder mysteries. The main character here is Hastings who is incredibly likable, We want him to prevail and to solve the murder before any one else does, including Poirot. When we meet Poirot we find him to be an old man past his prime who must be listened to but not necessarily believed. But as the story goes on we of course find that we should have believed him at every turn and that he was only trying to lead us in the right direction without tipping off the killer. Always a fun quick read I would recommend any of Dame Christie's books without any hesitation.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    The first of many to come

    This is Agatha Christie's first ever published novel. This is where all the magic started! I am a huge Agatha fan and will reccomend her to anyone. If you are interested in reading a book by Agatha Christie but don't know where to start -she has so many! - I suggest starting from the beginning with this book.
    It is captivating, intriguing and certainly keeps you guessing. It's got drama, thrill and excitement. Great characters, wonderful plot - this book has it all. Once of my all time favorite books.
    I espcially like this new hardback cover. They took a bunch of her books and re-did the covers in these brilliant bright colors that really catch your eye. I have collected all of them =)
    Wonderful book that I think anyone could enjoy.
    Agatha is a literary genius that doesn't disappoint. Enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    An Agatha Christie great read!

    This is Agatha Christie's first published mystery. Here she introduces us to Inspector Hercule Poirot, who's very methodical in putting together all the pieces of evidence of the crime; that of the poisoning of the wealthy Mrs. Emily Inglethorp in her locked bedroom. This book is the start of many great murder mysteries with the eccentric Hercule Poirot. Very much worth reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2015

    I love Poirot and Hastings

    The first major publication of Agatha Christie. This particular edition of the first Poirot mystery includes a bit about how the book came about along with some original work that was changed prior to publication.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    It was great!!!

    I loved the book, but there wasn't chapter 13 to completely finish the story

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    stil great

    Very clever makes you think

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    Stinks

    Stinks

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2014

    Possible to get three or four books in one book

    I have all in s c and h c but mostly used due to number of books she wrote!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 25, 2009

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    Posted October 30, 2008

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    Posted April 3, 2015

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    Posted August 26, 2009

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    Posted March 1, 2014

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    Posted July 4, 2011

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