The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

The grand dame of the golden age of mysteries, Christie's characters capture the minds of young readers with each new generation.

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The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie


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Reader Reviews
Mysterious Affair requires a Scorecard, July 28, 2003 Reviewer: johneric99 from Purcellville, VA USA Dame Agatha Christie introduces Hercule Poirot to the mystery novel loving public in this thriller set in WWI. Poirot and a group of fellow Belgians have resettled in an English village, after displacement from their homeland. Poirot has already retired from Belgian police work, speaking fondly of turn-of-the-century cases with friendly Scotland Yard detectives. This is a standard issue murder case with the ancient mansion dweller as the victim. She is recently remarried and has also recently broken with a long-time friend and companion. Filling out the list of suspects are two step-sons who would benefit financially from her demise and several house guests, including a young pharmacist and a German spy. Poirot is called in the day of the murder and follows his standard practice. He sends cryptic messages to suspects to gauge their response, tracks suspects across the county, and even does primitive forensic studies. The book is written by a resident wounded veteran who was a long-time friend of both Poirot and the family at Styles. There are two features here to recommend this book. The first is the mystery within the mystery structure in which the obvious suspect ultimately turns out to be the guilty one, albeit with an unexpected accomplice. The second is the deliberately researched poisoning mechanism employed. Dame Christie received a positive review in the 1920's from a leading British pharmacology journal for her efforts. For those who enjoy the complex, this book is wracked with it. It is nearly impossible to keep track of all the characters and their myriad interactions with Poirot and each other. Reading it the second time brought out a lot of foreshadowing and important facts, dropped into the text as minor details.

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