Do you think you are smart enough to create the perfect crime?
Commit murder and get away with it? Well, this may be the case if you are starring in a movie or series. But what happens if you are part of a book? If you have Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and his little gray cells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole or Camilla Lackberg’s Erica and Patrick after you, then you simply don’t stand a chance! In crime fiction books, there is no such thing as the perfect crime.
Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles
My second review is going to be about Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles. I am going to review a bunch of her books not only because I like them but also because she is the queen of crime. Don’t worry though, I am not going to review them one after another! The Mysterious Affair at Styles is Agatha Christie’s first book and that is the reason why I decided to review it. She wrote it after her sister challenged her that she could not write a crime novel.
The book takes place during the First World War in a village in England. Arthur Hastings, who will become in the books a companion and good friend of Poirot, is invited at Styles Court. Emily Cavendish has inherited Styles after her husband’s death. She has recently remarried a younger man named Alfred Inglethorp. Her two stepsons, John and Lawrence Cavendish, also live at Styles along with Mary (John’s wife), Cynthia Murdoch and Evelyn Howard.
During the night, Emily Inglethorp has died from strychnine poisoning. Everybody suspects Alfred, who will inherit his wife’s fortune. But is he the one who murdered her? Or is somebody else? Hastings decides to ask the help of Poirot, who stays at the village as a Belgian refugee. Poirot is a rather short, round guy, with an egg-shaped head and a mustache. Due to his appearance, people cannot see him as the great detective he actually is. Poirot will, of course, find the murderer with the help of Scotland Yard’s Inspector Japp.
I don’t consider The Mysterious Affair at Styles one of Agatha’s best ones and to be honest, I found it a bit tiring. Having read other books by her, I can understand that this is one of her first’s books. I would advise you to read it though because you get introduced to characters who will be part of her books, like Poirot, Hastings and Japp. Moreover, the murder is committed by using poison, one of Christie’s favorite way of murder as it has been part of 14 of her novels! Christie had an extensive chemical knowledge (much of it gained by working in a pharmacy during both World Wars) and in 2015, Kathryn Harkup decided to write the book “A is for Arsenic” about the poisons used by the murderers in Christie’s novels.
P.S. After writing my first review about the Murder on the Orient Express, I read that there is a movie coming out and watched the trailer. Famous actors are part of the cast, like Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer and Willem Dafoe. Hercule Poirot is played by Kenneth Branagh, which I find a rather strange choice considering his appearance and how Poirot is described in Agatha Christie’s books. I will probably go and watch as I am really curious about it but I am quite skeptical already.
Written by Nefeli Mintilogliti