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Mysterious Affair at Stiles


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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0929071212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929071213
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Born in Torquay in 1890, Agatha Christie began writing during the First World War and wrote over 100 novels, plays and short story collections. She was still writing to great acclaim until her death, and her books have now sold over a billion copies in English and another billion in over 100 foreign languages. Yet Agatha Christie was always a very private person, and though Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple became household names, the Queen of Crime was a complete enigma to all but her closest friends.

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Review

“Almost too ingenious … very clearly and brightly told.” Times Literary Supplement

“Very well contrived.” Sunday Times

“Altogether a skilful tale and a talented first book.” Daily News

“The most ingenious and absorbingly interesting tale of sensations and mystery we have read for a long time.” Bookman

“Well written, well proportioned, and full of surprises. Lovers of good stories will, without exception, rejoice in this book.” The British Weekly

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Captain Hastings, wounded at the Front, is recuperating at Styles Court in Essex. The house belongs to the Inglethorpe family, friends from his childhood. When Emily Inglethorpe is found poisoned, it is fortunate for Hastings that he bumps into his old friend Hercule Poirot, who can help to solve this horrible murder. When the evidence seems to point to one particular family member it is up to Poirot, through his methodical investigation, to prove the real murderer is someone else entirely. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By daisyrock on 6 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
Any Poirot fan will love this if only because it's the world's first glimpse of the Belgian hero. I was quite surprised at how 'complete' he is - I expected to find him rather different from the character he grew into but, no, he's pretty much all there, right from the start. Hastings is here too and it's nice to see how their partnership came about. Poirot is a refugee from Belgium during the first world war while Hastings is the guest of an army buddy and a poisoning takes place during his stay. Bad timing bad guys!

Christie uses all her devices and tricks from the off - mistaken identity, tangled love affairs, coincidences, secret alliances and red herrings galore. It's a nostalgic, cosy read and - as with all Christie - you have to take the antiquated opinions of some of the characters with a pinch of salt as products of their era. For me, not Christie's best, but a great start to a fabulously fun series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aletheuon TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Agatha Christie's first novel, written in 1916 during World War 1, set the pattern for many of her classic books - it is told in the first person by Hastings, set in a large, isolated country manor, has half-dozen suspects, most hiding secrets from their past, and the plot teases us with surprise twists and red herrings. It met with critical acclaim for its ingenuity and plotting and for Christie's knowledge of drugs.
Hercule Poirot, Inspector Japp, and Arthur Hastings are all introduced in this book. Poirot is a Belgian refugee who, helped by Emily Cavendish, sets up home near her, in England. Hastings, an old friend, arrives as her guest. When she is murdered, Poirot demonstrates that he is a skilled detective by solving the mystery. The main suspect is her new and much-younger husband, Alfred Inglethorpe, but it emerges that the evidence against him is contrived. He is, it seems, hated by Evelyn Howard, Emily's paid companion and disliked and mistrusted by her children and the rest of the household. Who would fabricate evidence against him?
This was widely recognised as a very good first novel and, of course, Agatha Christie went on to a sixty year career as a detective story writer. She wasn't the world's greatest literary writer but her plots and her two famous detectives, Poirot and Miss Marple, kept people hungry for more. Her books translate very well to the screen, showing how strongly structured her stories are and how good her characterisation. To be absolutely honest, I prefer the television adaptations of her books to the books themselves, which may just prove that I am a Philistine. However, this is a very good detective novel for its time.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By "t_w_quartz" on 16 Dec. 2002
Format: Paperback
After reading many of Agatha's books before, i was expecting this to be just as enthralling. But as the first book she ever wrote, i found it to be the best i have ever read. Meticulous Hercule Poirot is at his finest along with sidekick Hastings and the plots and twists of the book are simply brilliant; Christie is a genius. The only downside to the book is the slightly slow beginning but after the first few chapters i guarantee you won't be able to put it down! I gave it to my mum to read and she's been hooked on Agatha Christie ever since! A good read for young and old fans alike.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Feb. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first book featuring Hercule Poirot and very good it is too. Hastings is invited to stay in the country with his friend John and is pleased to discover Poirot staying nearby. John's step-mother is murdered and Hastings suggests that Poirot should investigate. There are plenty of suspects and more than enough motives and the twists and turns in the plot will keep even the most observant reader guessing until almost the last page.

I liked the characters and the dialogue and there are plenty of clues and red herrings to divert suspicion. I'm never sure whether I like Poirot himself but I did enjoy this story which is probably one of the best examples of the classic detective novel. There is no violence or graphic descriptions of battered corpses. The victim is poisoned and the plot hinges on who could have obtained the poison and who had the opportunity and motive to administer the poison.

If you have not read any of Agatha Christie's plentiful output then this book - her first published - would be a good place to start.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Austin HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 25 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
Thirty-year old Mrs Agatha Christie turned a nice little profit with this, her first book, in 1920. It introduced Hercule Poirot. Wisely, she gave him many flamboyant, eccentric characteristics to leaven the depiction of detection work, but unwisely she created a character of advanced age that she subsequently needed to preserve for a further fifty years.
What became the regular Christie recipe for a whodunit is found here. Perhaps there is a tad more reliance on the dispensing of medicines, reflecting the author's occupation during World War One. A formula that she later discarded was the use of a narrator - Hastings - who presents one of the "cases" on his friend Poirot. 1920 and the publication of this book marked the opening of the "Golden Age of Detective Fiction". Expect that there are plenty of servants, plenty of drinks at bedtime, much making and re-making of wills, and characters - including Poirot - who walk everywhere.
This rates highly in the Christie collection for classic charm, readability and ingenuity. Few of her books from the 1920s excel it.
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