Book Concierge's Reviews > The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
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Feb 14, 16

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bookshelves: audio, concierge, library, debut, mystery, series
Read in November, 2010

Audio book narrated by Penelope Delaporta
3*** / 1.5* narration

This is Agatha Christie’s debut mystery, in which she introduces the famous Hercule Poirot. It’s a traditional “locked room” mystery.

Mrs. Inglethorpe is stricken in the early morning hours with horrific convulsions, clearly the result of strychnine poisoning. But who poisoned her and how was it done. She was alone in her room with all three doors leading into the room bolted from the inside.

There is no shortage of suspects: her second husband (a much younger man everyone seems to dislike), her two step sons (who stand to inherit upon her death), her step-daughter-in-law, her young ward (a nurse in the local hospital, specializing in pharmaceutical compounds), even the mysterious doctor who just happens to be passing by, full dressed, at 4:30 a.m. on the morning she is stricken (and who pronounces her dead).

And there are plenty of clues – including no less than 3 different supplies of strychnine, a fake beard, a fragment of a will found in the fireplace ashes, a crushed coffee cup, and mysterious crystals left on the tray holding the cocoa.

The time frame is during WW I … so there are issues of rationing and espionage to contend with, which makes the story a bit dated. And, it’s also more slowly paced than contemporary mysteries, but you cannot fault Christie’s skill at plotting the set-up.

Delaporta’s narration is not very good. Her voice is high (though the narrator of the story is a man), and her efforts at Poirot’s Belgian accent became annoying pretty quickly. But the story itself kept me listening.
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