Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Mysterious Affair at Styles - by Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie  (US Edition) (£0.70 UK Edition) [The book of this title is almost £5 in the UK, but the book is also part of an inexpensive collection called The Women's Literature Collection -Thirteen Books, and that is what I am linking to.  The books are very random, except as to the sex of the author!]

This is Christie's first novel and introduces Hercule Poirot.  The book was written in 1916, but published post-war.  Because it is pre-1923, it is one of the few Christies out of copyright. (I blogged on another last year.)

The intense interest aroused in the public by what was known at the time as "The Styles Case" has now somewhat subsided. Nevertheless, in view of the world-wide notoriety which attended it, I have been asked, both by my friend Poirot and the family themselves, to write an account of the whole story. This, we trust, will effectually silence the sensational rumours which still persist.

Ahhh, a very satisfying classic beginning.  I won’t spoil the moment you meet the detective.  Here is a snippet from later on:

"Oh, my friend, have I not said to you all along that I have no proofs. It is one thing to know that a man is guilty, it is quite another matter to prove him so. And, in this case, there is terribly little evidence. That is the whole trouble. I, Hercule Poirot, know, but I lack the last link in my chain. And unless I can find that missing link—" He shook his head gravely.

Some people have the ability to guess who-done-it before the end of the book.  I don’t enjoy being able to guess.  I want the book to be smarter than I am.  What I do have is the ability to forget who did it, which allows me to re-read a book and be just as clueless to the killer the second time through.  So, here is hoping you either guess the killer, or don't, depending on your preference!

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