The Mysterious Affair at Styles

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Author: Agatha Christie
Published: 1920
Language: English
Wordcount: 54,591 / 165 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 86.7
LoC Categories: PR, HQ
Downloads: 68,241 1703

Featuring the first appearance of Hercule Poirot.

In the midst of World War I, the residents of Styles wake one morning to find Emily Inglethorpe has been fatally poisoned. Captain Hastings, staying with the family, enlists the help of his old friend, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. With the evidence mounting against one member of the family, Poirot uses his unique deductive technique to prove who really killed Emily.

Show Excerpt

ohn left me, and a few minutes later I saw him from my window walking slowly across the grass arm in arm with Cynthia Murdoch. I heard Mrs. Inglethorp call "Cynthia" impatiently, and the girl started and ran back to the house. At the same moment, a man stepped out from the shadow of a tree and walked slowly in the same direction. He looked about forty, very dark with a melancholy clean-shaven face. Some violent emotion seemed to be mastering him. He looked up at my window as he passed, and I recognized him, though he had changed much in the fifteen years that had elapsed since we last met. It was John's younger brother, Lawrence Cavendish. I wondered what it was that had brought that singular expression to his face.

Then I dismissed him from my mind, and returned to the contemplation of my own affairs.

The evening passed pleasantly enough; and I dreamed that night of that enigmatical woman, Mary Cavendish.

The next morning dawned bright and sunny, and I was full of the anticipation of a d


Average Rating of 3.8 from 8 reviews: ****
L Owens

This is Dame Agatha's first book. I've read critics down grade other of her books, but, considering the number she wrote, I've never been disappointed, though some are better than others, particularly those written during a particularly painful period of her life. Enjoy all you can find (I can't even find them at the public library any more!), and allow that no one can be at the top all the time.


Good murder mystery. Many discussions between the brilliant detective and his less than brilliant assistant (similar to Holmes & Watson) are employed to guide the reader through the many twists in this plot.


Despite having enjoyed many of Agatha Christie's other stories involving Poirot, I did not like this one. The plot was rather boring and the ending was dissatisfying -- key clues were withheld from the reader until after the solution to the mystery had been presented. Moreover, Poirot seemed to magically know who was lying and about what, even though there was little evidence that strongly pointed to any particular statement being a lie.

daniel c.

When I first became interested in the books of Agatha Christie this was the first novel I read. It's a very good one. Here is introduced the the fun but witty Hercule Poroit and as far as the story, it kept me guessing back and forth a few times.

If you have never read an Agatha Christie book before or have, you can't go wrong with this one.

On a side note, I am a little disappointed about the cover...It is a little racy, and looks more like one of those slutty mystery stories rather than a clean one like Christies'. There are plenty of good covers that anyone can choose so know the cover has nothing to do with the story and enjoy the book!

The characters of Poirot and Hastings are finely drawn. Some humorous aspects when Hastings has his own unreflective self-confidence put to the test by the often enigmatic Poirot. A good character study as well as a fine, although complex, mystery.


Title is ok.

Sadly, illustrations are missing in this edition, making it a little less worthwhile.

I would have thought that the original illustrations would also fall in the public domain as of today, hopefully they'll find a way to add them in the future.


R Stephan

This must be one of the most complicated mysteries constructed, and, as one of Christie's early works, thus shows how fine the author's abilities were. The iridescent picture of Poirot completes the impression of a mastermind at work on a masterpiece. Don't try to guess the murderer, you won't succeed with this one.


this work is great, aa wonderful starting for mossieur poarout
but i'm more interested in the murder at the vincrage, a great introduction for ms marplle, could'nt find it on web,though.

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