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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY THE BEST
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...
Published on 16 Dec 2002 by t_w_quartz

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Poirot
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...
Published on 6 Jun 2012 by daisyrock


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Poirot, 6 Jun 2012
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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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY THE BEST, 16 Dec 2002
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant debut, 1 April 2014
By 
Aletheuon (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Mysterious Affair at Styles (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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Opens the Golden Age of Detective Fiction., 25 Sep 2003
By 
John Austin "austinjr@bigpond.net.au" (Kangaroo Ground, Australia) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hercule Poirot's first appearance, 17 Feb 2011
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Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Left me wanting more!, 10 Aug 2010
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I chose this book as it was the first in the series and an introduction to Hercule Poirot. I was not disappointed. The plot kept me guessing, the characters were interesting and well portrayed - particularly Hastings - and it left me wanting to read more of Poirot. I've since read two more books in this series and recommend this as a starting point. You will want more!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I had a premonition of approaching evil", 22 Jun 2005
By 
Sebastian Fernandez (Tampa, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
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Readers everywhere are grateful to the sister of Agatha Christie for placing a bet with her, claiming that the woman that nowadays is known as the Queen of Mystery would not be able to write a good detective story. That is actually how this novel and the character of Hercule Poirot came into existence. In this first effort we can see the basic traits that later established Christie as one of the best mystery writers ever, though some of her technique is not yet completely polished. For example we get only a brief description of each of the characters, except for Poirot, so it is hard to picture some of them clearly. Nevertheless, the story deserves high praise, and I am pretty sure Agatha won the bet!
The story is narrated by Hasting, who gets an invitation to spend some time in the country place of John Cavendish at Styles Court. Upon his arrival, Hasting notices that there is a certain level of tension in the family, since John's mother, Emily, has recently married a younger man, who the family considers to be a fortune hunter. Meanwhile, John and his brother Lawrance are having financial trouble, and a set of interesting characters surround Emily and have all kinds of suggesting exchanges with her. When the lady of the house is murdered it comes as no surprise. There is a main suspect, but also a myriad of possible candidates for the role of the killer.
Luckily, Hasting runs into Poirot at the time of these events, and the small man with the peculiar moustache, who has retired from the Belgian police, is more than happy to help solve the baffling case. Those that have read other novels by Christie know that the author has an outstanding ability to mislead us into believing we have discovered the culprit, only to turn the tables on us and leave us dumbstruck. This case is no different...Ahhh, those little grey cells!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of Christie (but not ideal), 10 May 2004
By 
P. Zielinski - See all my reviews
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First of all, this is a good murder mystery, which definitely deserves a strong 4 out of 5, and I recommend it to anyone interested in this genre. I'll try to present what, in my opinion, are good and bad points of the plot. I've made every effort not to include significant spoilers, but if you're paranoid, don't read it.
Let's begin with the good points. There are surprisingly many facts that can be deduced or strongly suspected by the reader, probably more than in any other Christie's book I've read. There's also one beautiful contradiction, which you don't realize until you read about it, and then you ask yourself "how stupid I was not to notice this". The story itself is gripping and entertaining, so you'll have problems with putting the book away.
The book has also some minor flaws, which absolutely shouldn't deter you from reading it. First, there's one particular piece of Poirot's deduction which relies on the fact not presented to the reader and requires rather good knowledge of medicine to come up with. Second, there are quite long bits of the explanation which even Poirot admits are only speculation and cannot be reliably deduced. Third, there a few of red herrings which are never explained or that could easily be explained differently (mainly related to the love affair). Finally, the motive for the murder is not entirely clear to me.
But as I said before: the book is definitely worth reading. If you can stand Poirot's supernatural instict for deducing the right thing from information that permits many other deductions, this is a book for you. A couple of times, you'll also be told off by him for your stupidity, but at the end, you'll see that he was right.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best and my favourite, 27 Nov 2007
Collins have done a good job of sourcing the original jacket for this, only the family could supply a photo of the first British edition of this book design, as well as my own research from my own book the Companion. It is the first and I think the best novel Christie wrote introducing her detective Hercule Poirot and Hastings in their first mystery together in 1920, the death of wealthy new ly married Mrs Inglethorpe at Styles Court. A classic case of poisoning but can you guess who did it? This is the nearest that anyone will get to owning an edition the is the first edition of the first book ever published, and beautiful it is too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mysterious Affair at Styles, 25 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Kindle Edition)
This is the first book Agatha Christie wrote and which we see Poirot. Set during the first world war, Hastings is inujured and ordered to recuperate. At the hospital where he is recovering, he meets John Cavendish a friend of his and is asked to stay with him at his home. During his stay there, Emily Inglethorpe is murdered and Hastings asks John if he can involve his friend Poirot who is staying in the village as a refugee.

Between Hastings and Poirot they set to business investigating "The Mysterious Affair at Styles".

A very good book and easy to read. Would recommend.
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