Novella: The Mysterious Affair in Styles [Poirot Mysteries #1]

Author: Agatha Christie, 1920
Genre: Mystery, Crime
Format: Ebook, 153 pages

Here’s a classic example of a mystery novel from the (probably) greatest author of the genre. The wealthy lady of the house is poisoned, and immediately everyone suspects her new gold-digging husband. Then there are of course her two stepsons, who would have benefited from a great fortune left after her death. Also, a story like that would not be complete without a strange doctor, conveniently famous for his knowledge of poisons, or a cunning daughter-in-law bored to death in her marriage, or even a young girl suspiciously fast asleep and unaware of the noise and racket next door. Your clues include a piece of thread, a crushed coffee cup, a saucepan with traces of coco, a candle grease and coffee stains on the floor, and a missing will. What can you make of it?

The Affair is wonderfully fast-paced. Even though we do not get to know much of the characters involved due to fact that the story is told from Mr. Hastings’s point of view, I quite enjoyed their little intrigues and passions. I have to applaud Ms. Christie for keeping me guessing till the bitter end, as I honestly could not guess the criminal. On the contrary, I never suspected the character. When it came to the little dialogues between Poirot and Hastings, I couldn’t help but recall similar conversations between famous Holmes and Watson. The famous detective appeared always a step ahead of his trusty sidekick, who would wonder in amazement or get irritable at not being explained the situation. “Elementary, my dear Hastings”, Poirot seemed to murmur every now and then, satisfied with confusing his friend once again. Overall, beautifully executed quick read.

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