THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES by AGATHA CHRISTIE

THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES by AGATHA CHRISTIE

After reading Lucy Worsley’s super biography of Agatha Christie which I reviewed here a week or so ago, I decided that I should read every single Christie book.

In order.

As one does.

I’m not sure that it is actually necessary to read them chronologically, to be honest, as I don’t think there’s much in the way of developing plot lines or characterisation (but one never knows) but given Ms Christie’s phenomenal output, it just seems easier to read the books in order.

Let’s see how it goes.

First up, her first book. Obviously.

Now, while reading Ms Worsley’s biography, I had inadvertently read a plot-spoiler about this book, but had (thank goodness) forgotten the details by the time I read “The mysterious affair at Styles,” so the mystery was not ruined for me.

A thoroughly enjoyable read, and despite being over 100 years old, a definite page-turner.

I loved the fact that in her very first book Agatha Christie used techniques that we see in her other books over the decades – the victim’s room locked from inside, the isolated country house, the detective (introducing the wonderful Hercule Poirot) calling all the suspects together and revealing the murderer.

Despite being written in a completely different era, a world of country houses and servants, the plot carries you along, and there aren’t any really awkward moments.

It was published in 1920 to good reviews and I’m sharing with you the delightful comments of The New York Times Book Review (26 December 1920):

Though this may be the first published book of Miss Agatha Christie, she betrays the cunning of an old hand… You must wait for the last-but-one chapter in the book for the last link in the chain of evidence that enabled Mr Poirot to unravel the whole complicated plot and lay the guilt where it really belonged. And you may safely make a wager with yourself that until you have heard M. Poirot’s final word on the mysterious affair at Styles, you will be kept guessing at its solution and will most certainly never lay down this most entertaining book.

Right. Book One.

Onwards and upwards to my next Agatha Christie – this is going to be a fun task, I think!

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