Review: The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first Agatha Christie novel and what a wonderful read it was. Ms Christie’s firm command of her characters was clear even in this early work. Their hopes, fears and secrets were all plotted carefully and executed magnificently. While the ancillary actors may have not displayed much growth in this novel, it was clear that type of writing was firmly in her skill-set by the subtle method used on her narrator. Enough can’t be said about the life she breathes into her characters–no small achievement with them being so damned British.

If her characters popped, then her twisted plots soared. Every twist aimed toward another possible suspect, sometimes two. She had no fear at insinuating guilt in the most innocent of characters, either. I’ll admit freely that she tricked me thoroughly, and by the end I was as surprised as the narrator to learn the truth. What a marvelous thing to find in a work from 1920 that a modern reader can still find himself lost in her world and unable to deduce the secrets before they are finally revealed. It was no matter of author trickery, either. I will say this, the facts were all present. If I were capable of the feats of logic and patience of Hercule Poirot, I too would have solved the crime.

I will certainly be continuing on with these books!

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