The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie: A review

Fortieth book reviewed as part of the 130 Challenge.

I like mysteries and thrillers, but this one didn’t impress me much. It might be because Agatha was such a pioneer in this genre that a lot of other writers must have borrowed from her and so, this particular story (the first perhaps, in her famous Hercule Poirot series) appears to be far too familiar.

Mysterious affair at styles coverThe plot was quite simple. I was even able to guess the most likely culprits. However, as soon as Hercule starts to unravel the mysteries one by one, it becomes hard to follow how he comes up with his conclusions. The revelations were few and tantalizingly far in between and sometimes I honestly lost my patience in certain places.

Unlike Sherlock, I felt that Poirot was far too patronizing and his sidekick Hastings, unlike Watson was too dumb. But that might just be me, having read a mystery novel of this kind after a long time.

I did like the twists and all that, but there was very little to hold me back to the story. The story was quite linear and descriptions quite drab. The beautiful English countryside was not even mentioned! I hope I pick a better story by Agatha next time so that I realize her true genius. I’m open to suggestions in the comments.

Meanwhile, check out some quotes from the book.

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4 comments

  1. You’ve probably read Murder on the Orient Express which is excellent. I read many stories by Agatha Christie when I was a kid but don’t remember most of them. I did recently read And Then There Were None – which was pretty good and kept me on suspense till the end.

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    1. You’re quite right. I haven’t read ‘And there were none’ but I’ve seen movie adaptations and they were all really good. I think that’s what was lacking here. There was not much of a scandal.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would suggest that you now read the last in the series: “Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case”, it brings Hastings and Poirot back to Styles. Plus, you’re at the perfect stage to compare the two.

    I think one reason you haven’t liked her writing, as you mentioned, is that a lot of writers use her devices and plot points. Another one worth considering, is that you’re at the wrong age. If you build from children’s poetry to Shakespeare, you appreciate both. If you master Shakespeare and then read ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ for the first time at the age of 56, the charm is lost! :)

    Never too late though! Personally, I find Orient Express far too silly. It’s something that could happen only in her novels. However, I would strongly recommend a play by her called the Mousetrap (non-Poirot series). Far more intriguing and right up your alley, if I may say so. ;)

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  3. I won’t even suggest Orient Express. My feelings are similar to Utkarsha. It was strictly okay. You want fantastic?

    Read They Came to Baghdad! Awesome book, I tell you!

    Liked by 1 person

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