Title: The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Author: Agatha Christie
Series: Hercule Poirot #1
Part of my Agatha Christie Project
Hercule Poirot’s First Case
After the Great War, life can never be the same again. Wounds need healing, and the horror of violent death banished into memory.
Captain Arthur Hastings is invited to the rolling country estate of Styles to recuperate from injuries sustained at the Front. It is the last place he expects to encounter murder. Fortunately he know a former detective, a Belgian refugee, who has grown bored of retirement…
This was a re-read for me but I really enjoyed it. I had completely forgotten who had committed the murder, how and why they had. Therefore, I was pulled into this straight away eager to suss out all the clues again. What I really love about this book is the relationship that is set up between Hastings and Poirot. I love that the story is only told from the perspective of Hastings. Hastings has a loveable way of being completely and utterly dense and the best possible moments. He gets muddled and over confident and mixes up his facts and I as a reader loved screaming at him in my mind when he doesn’t see all the facts as Poirot lays them out and hints at the possible outcome. This makes the reveal all the sweeter when Hastings has lead you down Red Herrings and disagreed with Poirot. It just makes for such a fun double act that makes me smile.
I recently picked up the 100th anniversary edition and I am really glad I did. It contained an introduction to the work by both the publisher and by Agatha Christie herself. They give great insight into how the book came about and why Christie has a fondness for poisons. It also contains Christies original draft ending, which while she did repurpose a lot for the published ending was really interesting to see her process and how the reveal would have played out in a court room context instead of a parlour room context, which would have been just as dramatic a reveal I think.
One warning is if you have the text in its original format from 1921 it does contain two sentences that are of there time and the language used is no longer seen as acceptable. I think these sentences have been cut from some editions including the audiobooks.