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The Mysterious Affair at Styles Hardcover – Aug 1975

4.5 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Aug 1975
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Dodd Mead; 5th Printing edition (August 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0396071910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0396071914
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 18.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews
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Product Description


'First rate Christie: fast, complicated, wryly funny' Time 'Superb, vintage Christie' Sunday Express --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

The crime-fighting careers of Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings have come full circle—they are back once again in the rambling country house in which they solved their first murder together.

Both Poirot and Great Styles have seen better days—but, despite being crippled with arthritis, there is nothing wrong with the great detective and his “little gray cells.” However, when Poirot brands one of the seemingly harmless guests a five-time murderer, some people have their doubts. But Poirot alone knows he must prevent a sixth murder beforethe curtain falls. . . .

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Debra Purdy Kong TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 19 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Lieutenant Arthur Hastings is delighted at the opportunity to stay at Styles, the home of his old school friend John Cavendish. Things have changed since Hastings’s last visit. John is now married and his mother Emily has remarried Alfred Inglethorp, a man her sons despise. When Emily is poisoned, the sons believe that Inglethorp did it, but all is not what it seems, as secrets and hidden agendas abound at the country estate.

This was Agatha Christie’s first published Hercule Poirot novel and it’s a great story. As a master plotter, Christie once again had me guessing the killer’s identity to the end. The trademark plot twists, family dysfunction, and prejudice against the Belgian Poirot, are all there in this classic tale of betrayal and greed.

Agatha Christie was one of my writing heroes, and it’s a tribute to her skill that her books are still widely enjoyed today. They might hold even greater appeal for some readers, as there’s no hi-tech gadgetry used to help solve crimes. Some of the racist remarks made me cringe, but it was a reflection of the values and attitudes in the 1920’s. One of the many great things I like about Christie’s books is that they don’t need to be read consecutively. You can jump in any time, but if you must read a series from the beginning, then The Mysterious Affair at Styles is a terrific place to start. It’s classic Christie.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Thoughts:

1. What stands out most to me about this book was Poirot's character. I love how much comic relief and humour he brings to the plot. Without his quirky and unique personality, I probably wouldn't have continued reading the book.

2. For a murder mystery novel, I thought it lacked the suspense and anticipation that's characteristic of most books in this genre. The plot was very fast-paced which hardly gave me any time to figure out what was going on before conclusions were already drawn and people were suspected.

3. To be honest, I was very unsure of how I would like this book because it started off very rocky. The storyline is mostly plot driven; Christie doesn't spend much time on character development which explains why the book is fairly short.

4. Halfway through the book, the whole mystery surrounding the murder got way too confusing; it felt like everyone was a suspect at one point and kind of ruined the thrill of searching for the killer.

5. You might be wondering why I gave it 4 stars if there were so many things I didn't like, what I LOVED about this book was all the twists and surprising discoveries that were written in the plot. Even though there wasn't much suspense as I thought there was, I was motivated enough to keep reading because it will haunt me forever if I never found out who did it.

6. I'm really happy that in the end everything was explained for and all loose ends were neatly tied up. (It always gets on my nerves when an author never explains for the smallest detail)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've loved mystery all my life and experience at last, the great Agatha Christie! No repertoire is complete without the genre's queen, who earns her title unequivocally. I'm breathless! I record three-stars to allow for more extraordinary settings, surely contained in other titles. I've begun with Agatha's inaugural release "The Mysterious Affair At Styles", in 1920! Told by 'Mr. Hastings', he visits a friend's mansion. Residing with 'John Cavendish' are his wife, brother, stepmother 'Emily', her new husband, and the adult daughter of her friend.

There was no attachment to the cast, likely because it's large and we don't know them until the end. By the time we feel their kind personalities and an urge to acquaint them further; the tale concludes. There's much to rave about: the timelessness of a group reacting to tragedy, bewildered about its cause. The distinct dialogue and customs, such as tea time, could be attributed to England or their social class.

The author's eloquence is second to none, downgrading words for no one and explaining whatever is required, with a literary precision worthy of framing on a wall. The plotting astounds me. That it is humanly possible to contrive the scope of clues found in these pages, match them with such an array of scenarios, and transfer suspicion seamlessly to each member of the household; I can only attribute to a genius mind. I'm convinced the adjective is not reserved for scientists in the least. Upon reading the conclusion alone, with every detail revealed; I truly felt my brain cells buzzing as if from rigorous exercise!

I've heard of `Hercule Poirot' for years but had an image similar to `Sherlock Holmes': prim and businesslike. I like him more than I expected! A keen professional truly can go hand in hand with humour and warmth.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've always preferred Agatha Christie's early mysteries to those published late in her life. Somehow the most recent works feel cranked out rather than thought out.
"Styles" reeks with atmosphere, and the characters, stock though they may be, are quite good. The English country house, locked room murder tale has been overdone a bit (I eschew hyperbole), but it seems fresh-born here. Perhaps it is because this is the author's first-born mystery novel and she cared about what she was doing.
Other reviewers have described the actual plot, so I will not repeat that. Suffice it to say that the plot works, and the surprises are indeed unexpected. The logic and denouement are fair to the reader. The plot doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to..."work," for lack of a better verb. Mystery readers, often without knowing it, read this genre not for the ingenious plot but for the feel of place and for the characters. If feel and characters are your thing, you can't go wrong with this one.
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