Hercule Poirot was both annoyed and bored. Death was not amusing, and here, by way of a joke, they had arranged for him a set piece in extremely bad taste. By the side of the crowded pool a body had been artistically arranged with an out-flung arm; even some ghoulishly red paint dripped. The ‘body’ was spectacularly handsome, and several people stood round in unlikely poses. It was all really very amateurish.
But as he looked Poirot suddenly realised that this scene had a point of reality, a reality that hit him between the eyes like a hammer blow. For it was not red paint that dripped. It was blood.
He was looking at a dying man…
This book was first published in the UK in 1946. My Fontana Books copy was published in the UK in 1968. Although it is a Poirot book he really doesn’t seem to be front and center in this story. This book is really more a story about love and relationships than the murder.
Dr. John Christow is an excellent doctor and everyone loves him. Outwardly he seems quite selfless and caring and kind, but in reality he is basically a very selfish, self-centered man. His wife Gerda worships him, waits on him hand and foot, frets over pleasing him. Yet when Poirot arrives for a luncheon date at the country home of the Angkatell’s he finds Gerda standing over the body of her dying husband holding a gun. Henrietta, a family friend (maybe John’s lover?) takes the gun from Gerda and ‘accidentally’ drops it in the pool when Poirot startles her by speaking and stepping toward her. Was she protecting Gerda or someone else? Who’s fingerprints would have been on the gun besides Gerda’s? Everyone in this story has a motive for wanting John dead and an opportunity to have done it, including Actress Veronica Cray his old love. She showed up after 15 years just the night before. But the whole thing looks staged to Poirot. Who was it staged for and why?
I enjoyed this Christie very much! I was convinced of the guilt of just about every character in it at some point or another and was fairly sure it was not who it was.
After reading a review for this on Pretty Sinister Books, I just had to have it. Read John’s review too if you haven’t already! He also has several of the covers this book was printed with through the years.
I read this book for Crime Fiction of the Year over at Past Offences. This month’s year was 1946. A very good year I would say looking at all the other books reviewed for this!
Look what I just pre-ordered!
Released on October 28th. Digitally re-mastered with brighter color!
‘Gather your wits and join Miss Jane Marple in four delightfully baffling and opulently filmed mysteries starring Joan Hickson – the actress Agatha Christie herself wanted for the role – now lovingly restored from the original film for the first time. In Murder At The Vicarage, the death of a widely despised Colonel in the local vicar’s study is made surprisingly more difficult when two different people confess to the crime. In Body In The Library, Miss Marple’s neighbors wonder how to explain the young blond woman found strangled on their library floor. A series of anonymously written slanderous letters lead to several mysterious deaths in A Moving Finger, and then in A Murder is Announced, an upcoming murder advertised in a newspaper materializes at a dramatic house party where the only death is the suspect’s. Includes special feature A Very Special Murder: Detection Ingenious.’
Hoping they do the full 3 volumes of all 12 Joan Hickson films!
Pre-order your own copy…
Remember awhile back I told you about a gentlemen on Paperbackswap that sent me extra Agatha Christie books with the one I ordered from him? Well he messaged me with a list of the rest of the AC books he had and said he wanted to send me more because my love of old books pleased him. I picked only four, no need to be greedy:). All Hercule Poirot books. They came recently. Thinking frigid January and February might be Agatha Christie month at my house!
With mom gone I have a lot of extra time on my hands. Might take awhile to get into a new groove and re-vamp my life now. It’s harder to get going again than I thought. She pretty much consumed my life these last 2 years. One day at a time. I am off to the courthouse to get my passport today though! Scotland in May! It’s early yet, but it gets me motivated and looking forward.
Published in 1936
from the book cover:
‘The first letter warned Hercule Poirot where the killer would strike. Andover, it said, on the 21st. But Poirot was too late to save old Mrs. Ascher from death.
When the second letter came, Poirot moved fast. but again, he was too late. This time the victim was a good-looking waitress named Betty Barnard, and she was found dead on the beach, strangled with her own belt.
Each letter was signed A.B.C. Each victim was found with an A.B.C. railroad timetable under her body. There was little else for Poirot to go on. For the first time in his career the master sleuth was powerless against a maniacal killer who was running circles around the police of an entire nation!’
It’s Agatha Christie, it was excellent. What more can I say! I am never disappointed with Christie.
Check out two excellent reviews HERE and HERE
If you want to watch the full episode of The ABC Murders from ITV’s Poirot series you can catch it on Youtube! I will be watching it tonight!
Have you heard there is to be a new Poirot novel out in Sept. 2014! Yes by Sophie Hannah and approved by the Christie family. Read about it HERE
What are your feelings on this? Will you read it?
Title: The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre:Murder Mystery, Detective
Amazon US Amazon UK
Manybooks – ebook format free
Synopsis from author’s website:
Invalided home from the First World War, Lieutenant Hastings finds himself in a convalescent home very much to his disliking. Thankfully his old friend John Cavendish invites him to spend the rest of his sick leave at his family home. The beautiful Styles Court is home to John’s step mother Mrs Inglethorpe, and her new husband Alfred. Despite the tranquil surroundings Hastings begins to realise that all is not right. When Mrs Inglethorpe is found poisoned a murder investigation begins, and who better to investigate than war refugee Hercule Poirot, a retired Belgian detective.
Christie’s favourite review of this, her first book, was from the Pharmaceutical Journal, which praised, “this detective story for dealing with poisons in a knowledgeable way, and not with the nonsense about untraceable substances that so often happens. Miss Agatha Christie knows her job.” It was adapted for television with David Suchet as Poirot in 1990.
I just read this as an audio book on my recent road trip to my son’s house. It was perfectly timed for a 4 hr. drive over and 4 hr. drive back. This was the first Hercule Poirot mystery and we find out how he met Hastings and Inspector Japp. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A wonderful cast of characters, as always in a Christie book. A lot of info on poisons and a really good who dunnit. I really couldn’t make up my mind who it was, but in the end it was not the one that I was leaning towards. A special treat about the copy I ‘read’ was David Suchet was the reader! If your not a Christie fan you will be after you read this!
MURDER MEETS HERE…
on howling winter nights in a great paneled mansion when the Tuesday Club plays for blood.
The rules are ghoulishly simple – each elegant member deals a sudden death card, and the others must match a killer’s face to it.
The most ferocious winner is Miss Jane Marple, that sweet old tabbycat with dangerous claws, that silver-haired lady whose knitting needles rise and fall to the shivery cadence of a sentence of death…
A chilling collection of trials by terror, with the marvelous Miss Marple as hanging judge.
This is a collection of 13 short-stories featuring Miss Marple. Her nephew, Raymond West, his girlfriend Joyce, and several other guest ranging from actress, lawyer, vicar to doctor decide to meet each Tuesday forming the ‘Tuesday Club’. Each week they will take turns presenting some mystery of which they have a personal knowledge, and to which, of course, they know the answer. The group then gives their hand at coming to the solution.
I enjoyed these stories even though they were short and the plot not so detailed as a full novel, but it was nice to pick it up and get a quick Miss Marple fix in! One of the mysteries presented was ‘The Blue Geranium’ and that one has been done for Masterpiece Mystery featuring Julia MaKenzie as the latest Miss Marple. Check it out here…
If you love Miss Marple you’ll enjoy this quick convenient read.