The Mysterious Affair At Styles (Hercule Poirot #1), Agatha Christie

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"Ah, I am glad she has come. There is a woman with a head and a heart too, Hastings. Though the good God gave her no beauty!"

Hastings (the narrator of this story) was on his sick leave from the First World War. His old friend John Cavendish invites him to spend the rest of his sick leave at his family home. John’s stepmother, Emily Cavendish has inherited the beautiful Styles Court after the husband’s death but her new husband, Alfred Inglethorpe is living with them as well. When Mrs. Inglethorpe is found poisoned by strychnine, Hercule Poirot is asked by Hastings to help out with the murder investigation. Who would be the real murderer when there are others living in the house and everyone has their motives to cover their hidden secrets?

"You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely."

The plot was brilliant and complicated at the same time. The entire story consists a lot of key points and important details for every piece of the evidence in this case. Every word comes from Poirot needs to be analysed and readers need to think on how to connect all the pieces to solve the case.

She is an excellent specimen of well-balanced English beef and brawn.

I’m a big fan of mystery and crime and to read all Agatha Christie’s books has been in my list for several years but there are so many other books which I couldn’t resist to read it. So, I decided to read at least five of her books within this year. I always feel that it’s incomplete for a mystery and crime reader if you never read any of Agatha Christie’s books. This is my first time reading Agatha Christie’s book and I loved it. She really deserves to be called ‘Queen of Mystery’ and ‘Queen of Crime’. This is one of the best mystery and crime novels I’ve read so far. Somehow, there is an imaginary hierarchy of mystery and crime authors appears in my mind and she is definitely at the highest position in the hierarchy. The last time I read such a great mystery and crime book was a manga called 'Death Note' by Tsugumi Ohba.

A good mystery and crime book requires you to give lots of attention to the given details. If you miss one, even just a tiny one, you will feel lost with the ending when the author connecting all the pieces together. As for me, I can forgive myself for guessing the wrong murderer but I will feel frustrated with myself that I couldn’t solve the case together with the author. I like authors that drop a lot of breadcrumbs throughout the story and it depends on the reader whether he or she is smart enough to pick it up as one of the leads. What I loved about this story is the test for your attention to details and analytical skills. I seldom tried more than once (twice is maximum) when it comes to guessing the murderer of the case and usually, I got it right. I’ve tried several times throughout this story and all my guesses were wrong. If you love a lot of plot twists and a mystery and crime fan, this book is definitely worth reading. You must read this at least once in your life!

"Every murderer is probably somebody's old friend," observed Poirot philosophically. "You cannot mix up sentinent and reason."

Rating: ★★★★
More reviews can be found on Goodreads: The Mysterious Affair At Styles (Hercule Poirot #1).

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