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The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot Series #1)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  89,134 ratings  ·  2,071 reviews
Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Suspects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary—from the heiress’s fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary. Making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detectiv ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 9th 2003 by Modern Library Inc (first published 1920)
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mark monday
Choose Your Own Adventure!

You are Captain Arthur Hastings, and you are slowly falling in love with a Belgian. The feelings are embarrassing at first; you find the Belgian himself to be quite an embarrassment. But there is just something about him. Could it be his suave, continental sense of humor... his keen sense of justice... his shapely, rubenesque figure? Or is it simply his hypnotic mustache, perhaps? The passion develops in fits and starts. You don’t want to love him, you really don’t. You
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Joel
"Dear me, Poirot," I said with a sigh, "I think you have explained everything! And how wonderful of you to wait until page 230 to finally shed light on all your absurd behavior throughout the book, and to justify and the red herrings and narrative padding! But of course, it could only be so in the classic style of a fiendish murder mystery! Why, in fact, though this is but the first case we have solved together, I have no doubt we could do the exact same thing as many as 86 more times, depending ...more
Kirsty
How did I go for so long without reading an Agatha Christie?! I wish I'd picked one up sooner! I figured my first read should be the first book published (I have an OCDish need to read books in order) and I have to say that this is a fantastic debut novel. Most authors' work gets better with time - if Christie gets better than this then I have some treats in store!

Long story cut short:- Mrs Inglethorp, the old lady owner of Styles Court, suffers a violent fit early one morning and dies. It appea
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Sean
The Mysterious Affair at Styles was a fun quick read. This book is Agatha Christie’s first published novel and the first to feature the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Beloved by many for being a completely pompous prig, this character launched Christie’s career and ultimately resulted in her books being the most widely read in history selling millions of copies. This author, perhaps being outsold only by Shakespeare or the Bible, has to have been doing something right.

In this debut no
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Dina
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
I had never read the introduction of the character of Hercule Poirot before. I was actually quite engrossed for a very brief period, as the book was short enough, but my love of Inspector Poirot shall continue to the day I die....and hopefully, if I am murdered, someone equally as interesting will solve it!
Kasia S.
I have read many Agatha Christie novels since I was a teenager, there is something charming and intelligent and witty about them, with this novel I finally got to read the one that started it all. Book one was actually quite good, I was entranced the whole time I was reading it, the story appears to be quite simple and the obvious is suddenly questioned, the suspect count rises and the real murderer slithers unnoticed, that is until the little Belgian super hero, Hercule Poirot gets involved. In ...more
Carmen
Nov 17, 2013 Carmen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
Shelves: fiction, mystery
The first Hercule Poirot mystery. Agatha Christie is stunning, as usual. This time, the Belgian detective must solve the murder of an elderly matriarch.

The story is narrated by Hastings, a good friend of Poirot. I found myself a bit frustrated with him – he comes off as rather dense. He and Poirot have the same clues, but his misses obvious meanings and insinuations given by the clues. Now, don't get me wrong, I (as the reader) had all the clues and couldn't solve the mystery either, but at lea
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Denae
Given how many of Agatha Christie's works I read as an adolescent, I was somewhat astounded to realize as I read that I had not read The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Written in 1916 and set during the first World War, it introduces us to both Hastings and Hercule Poirot. Like the first Miss Marple book, it is primarily fascinating because of the "origin story" aspect. Both characters became more fascinating over time as Christie developed them. That being said, this was a delightful read filled ...more
jzhunagev
My First Affair with Hercule Poirot
(A Book Review of Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affairs at Styles)


Written as an outcome of a bet in which “the reader would not be able to spot the criminal”, Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair of Styles, published in 1921, is the first published work by the author that not only introduces what will become her trademark for ingenious plotting as well as the egg-shaped head, quirky and well-groomed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, one of the beloved sle
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Stela
To say that Doyle and Christie are mystery masters is almost a truism, since you find in their novels all ingredients to sustain this affirmation: perfect plot, charming weird detective, exquisite writing, interesting characters.
So it's no wonder that for me, a successful detective story has somehow to fall into a pattern they established a long time ago: clues gathered by a sharp mind, apparent contradictions and /or mistakes, dramatic turn of events and of course the big finale: the last reun
...more
Tatiana
Jan 11, 2010 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who just have to read EVERYTHING written by Agatha Christie
"The Mysterious Affair at Styles" is the first published book of Agatha Christie's and the first book where she introduces her well-known private detective Hercule Poirot.

The fact that the book is Christie's first effort is apparent. It definitely lacks the finesse of her later works. The main thing that drags down this otherwise standard Christie story is the trial proceedings. It would have been wiser to edit out that part of the book altogether as it added very little to the investigation.

How
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Laurel Young
Thus begins My Year of Agatha! Over the course of 2010, I'll be reading all of Dame Agatha Christie's canon, more or less in order of publication. I've read most if not all of them before, but in some cases it has been many years. I'm most familiar with her Golden Age work (1920-1939), because the study of it formed the second chapter of my doctoral dissertation. The chapter has already been published, and so my Year of Agatha is purely for personal pleasure. She is my favorite of all mystery au ...more
Carol
When I picked up this book, I was pleased to find out it was Agatha Christie's very first novel written in 1920. I had always wanted to read one of her Detective Hercule Poirot murder mysteries, and this one did not disappoint (once I got into it). Poirot, with his diminutive stance, egg shaped head and mustache is quite a peculiar and entertaining character and his young friend Captain Arthur Hasting's (who narrates the story) is honest to a fault with his naïveté. While Ten Little Indians or b ...more
Arun Divakar
3/16/2013

After a long long period of deliberation and procrastination, I did manage to chance upon Mr. Poirot. It must be said that I found in him a remarkable gentleman of impeccable intellect. He charms with his old-school chivalry and his peculiar if not instinctive behavior while pursuing his intellectual pastime. It is also worth mentioning how this little Belgian man never trades rational thought for prejudice or hearsay. In this very first occurence of being acquainted with him, he has de
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Stephen
When a war wearied Captain Hastings is furloughed for a rest cure he accepts an invitation from an old friend to spend some time convalescing at Styles. He's all too happy to accept and is surprised to learn that an old acquaintance, a retired Belgian police inspector is a war refugee staying nearby. But when Hastings finds that his hostess has been murdered he enlists the aid of his old acquaintance Hurcule Poirot to investigate.

Just finished this and I have to say that I enjoyed it more than
...more
Emjay
ZEH PLOT TWISTS. ZHEY ARE EVERYWHERE. WHAT EVEN. I THOUGHT I HAD PREPARED MYSELF.

Apparemment pas! Yes, I have used Google Translate in the past 120 seconds.

Poirot is a dear, and cleverer than I took him for at first! I think I shall like him very much. Can't wait to read more and check out the show too :D
Marts  (Thinker)
Hastings was enjoying quite a lovely stay at Styles Court until Lady Emily mysteriously dies. She went up to her room and was assumed to be alone so no one has the slightest clue as to what could have happened. Fortunately Hercule Poirot steps in to assist...
Steven
Christie's first, and also the first of Poirot. A classic for sure, but not my favorite of her works.

Can't wait to reread more of these... It's been a decade!!!
Mark
Jan 24, 2014 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical detectives
Recommended to Mark by: The reading group of Agatha Christie
This is Agatha Christie her first novel in which we do get introduced to the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot who would become one of her most well known characters, even if she seemed to dislike him in her later writings were he was made to look ridicolous and annoying. In this book that was written and situated in the middle of WO1, which is kind of current of great newsvalue with the centenary remembrance of the great war this year.
The book is written from the viewpoint of one of Poirots com
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Nancy Oakes
First introduced in this novel in 1920, Hercule Poirot (who I can never picture as anyone but David Suchet anymore!!) is a retired Belgian detective who has settled in the English village of Styles St. Mary. Poirot is brought into the case because a woman who had done a great favor to a few of his fellow countrymen after WWI is killed. It is here that he rekindles his friendship with one Arthur Hastings, who will go on to become Poirot's number one sidekick friend as the later books appear.

The d
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James
I hadn't read any Agatha Christie before, which seems odd as my parents were fans and I remember the books being around the house. However I've been a huge fan of the TV adaptations with David Suchet. The beginning seemed like the best place to start (it normally is with books). Both the first Christie novel and Hercule Poirot's first investigation, at least the first documented by Christie through the pen of the charming, if dim, Lieutenant Hastings. With the arrival of Inspector Japp as well, ...more
El
It was about time I finally got around to reading Hercule Poirot's first public appearance. I've always enjoyed (or "crushed on" would be more appropriate) the Sherlock Holmes stories and figured I should someday branch out and see what other "classic" mystery writers do. I've seen a few movies based on Agatha Christie's books and have thoroughly enjoyed them, so it's about time I picked up an actual book.

Since I have no other Agatha Christie book to compare this to, I can say that while the sto
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Meave
Clever! I'm reading a collection of all of Agatha Christie's mysteries, but this was the first one, so I thought I'd just set it down separately.

Hastings: that guy is a dick. I've heard his character compared favorably to Watson, but I never remember Watson doubting Holmes, or really ever behaving so insufferably. Hastings can shut it, permanently.

Poirot: an absolute delight. Of course I adored him; he is brilliant, manipulative, terribly dry-witted, and gentlemanly. The story was quite smart, w
...more
Yas
After deciding to finally see what all the fuss was about..I was left to pleasantly agree with the hype. Agatha Christie is fantastic..I absolutely loved this book!

Although the characterisation is lacking in this book as opposed to some of the character developments you get in other books, its fine in this novel as their really isn't any room for character development. This is clearly a plot driven book..and isnt worse off for it!

Throughout the whole book, I contemplated various scenarios, vario
...more
Harish Kumar Sarma Challapalli
It is Christie's first published novel, and
introduces Hercule Poirot, Inspector (later,
Chief Inspector) Japp and Lieutenant Hastings.

Even after these many decades also, this one is a page turner!! A wonderful book!! Earlier, I read Agatha Christie's "Evil Under the Sun" and was impressed by her writing skills. So again started reading all her novels in order.

Hercule Poirot is really more like sherlock holmes!! His approach of investigating a case is really mindblowing!! It will drive people cra
...more
Tom
I'm really starting to like Agatha Christie. I'm pretty sure that if I were at a karaoke bar and spotted her there I would impale myself on some Boyz 2 Men songs in order to try and get her attention. Sure she's have no idea what the heck I was singing to her and it'd be Carrie levels of embarrassment in the long run, but at least she'd know that I care. This book was phenomenal. The narrator being used as a device to entangle the culprit (spoilerish? Sorry...) was ingenious. Granted I'm new to ...more
Barry Pierce
Another great Poirot novel. This is my third foray into the world of Hercule Poirot and it of course did not disappoint. Poirot is by far my favourite fictional detective just because of his sheer brilliance and his acid tongue. The plot of this one follows the classic "locked door" mystery trope but is fresh and exciting, like most Christie novels. It is written in incredibly simple and easy prose that really won't challenge anyone mentally. I never guessed the solution to this mystery (as alwa ...more
Ash
I would say I liked her other books more. This one was good but somewhat convoluted and I was not very much impressed with this. I have read a story of Holmes on a murder due to poisoning and I would say that was much better. I love Holmes and he is my most fav detective ever! She even mentions Sherlock Holmes in this book.

Updated:

The TV series episode was much better. I actually liked the story and the plot after watching it :P
Jim
Agatha Christie is very good at what she does. My only problem is that I do not value a tale of ratiocination -- to use Poe's term -- carried to the nth degree. The Mysterious Affair at Styles was not so much written as diagrammed like a complex sentence a hundred thousand words long. I do not think, for instance, that the board game of Clue could have come into existence without Christie whose extreme permutations of places, weapons, times, and so on made her stories the ultimate in the whoduni ...more
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123715
Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, U.K., as the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha's senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880
...more
More about Agatha Christie...
And Then There Were None Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10) Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple, #1) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4) Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot, #17)

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“You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.” 323 likes
“Instinct is a marvelous thing. It can neither be explained nor ignored.” 315 likes
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