Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Mysterious Affair at Styles... Agatha Christie Challenge.

For as long as I can remember I've love a good murder mystery.  I decided to join the Agatha Christie Challenge, so I could start from the beginning and really get a good idea of the growth of this wonderful author.  I was lucky enough to also find The Agatha Christie Companion, The Complete Guide to Agatha Christie's Life and Work. 

The first book on my list is The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Poirot's first case.  I enjoyed this book as you must know I'd say.  The scene is set in a small village outside of London.  Britain is at war with the Germans.  Hastings had been injured and is in need of a place to recuperate, when he meets an old friend, who invites him to stay with him at the house at Styles.  The house is run by the matriarch of the Cavendish Family, Emily.  Emily is the stepmother of John and Lawrence.  John is married to Mary,  Cynthia is an orphaned young woman who has been taken in my the Cavendish family.  Miss Howard is the personal assistant to Emily.  Emily is the money bags.  Emily re marries Alfred.  Mr. & Mrs. Raikes are minor characters, although Mrs. Raikes is the reason at least one of the suspects has an alibi, as there is some infidelity happening.  Emily is poisoned.   Poirot is grateful to Mrs. Emily Inglethorp for her charitable assistance to the Belgian's who are war refugees, one of which he is.   After a number of twists and turns as is Ms. Christies' style Poirot assists Inspector Japp of Scotland Yard to solve the case.   

I think my favorite parts would include Hasting, who is portrayed as a somewhat boob, he is easily enchanted by a pretty girl.  Cannot imagine any pretty being guilty of anything, not murder, not lying.  He's forever trying to rescue them.  In this particular case, he offers to marry young Cynthia, to secure her future.  Of coarse she is bold enough to laugh at him.  I think his response is hilarious "right, well that's that then".  So British!  

I also love Poirot characteristic,  the neatness freak, (boy would he have a good time at my house, or a nervous breakdown).   If you had read other books where Poirot was featured you'll notice the slow evolution of this character.  During the early stage of Agatha's career it was speculated that Hercules was a copy of another character in Mrs. Lowndes, Hercules Popeau.  And yet, Christie makes incredible character differences, and he continues to develop throughout his career.

I'm reading the Christie Books as part of the Agatha Christie on going challenge.  Thanks to our hostess at Mysteries in Paradise


Nise' said...

I have got to get back to Poirot! I miss him. Great review.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I'm an Agatha Christie addict - are you going to read all her books in the order she wrote them - like Kerrie? I couldn't wait to do that and I'm reading them as I come across them. I've read this one and some of her other earlier books. Even reading them out of order I think it's very interesting to see how she evolved as a writer and how the characters developed.

She explains how she invented Poirot in her Autobiography - she wanted to invent a detective who hadn't been used before and thought of the Belgian refugees who were living nearby. She decided to make her detective a retired police officer with a grand name - Hercules, the name Poirot just popped into her head and the character became Hercule Poirot because Hercule went better with Poirot than Hercules!

ros@dimaggio63 said...

Buona Pasqua Irene !!!!!!!
Baci Myriam :)

bermudaonion said...

I've only read one Christie book and it didn't feature Poirot. I need to explore more of her work.

Jenners said...

I read Agatha Christie books so long ago (when I was in my teens). I should probably revist them. I'd probably appreciate them more.

National Pet Day...

This is our pet cat, he lived with us for 18 years, adopted from a shelter, best cat ever. RIP Keahan