The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
The debut of Agatha Christie and her remarkable Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot
Invalided home from the Western Front, Arthur Hastings arrives at Styles Court anticipating a relaxing sojourn in the English countryside. It turns out to be anything but. Late one night, Hastings is summoned to the locked bedroom door of Emily Inglethorp, mistress of the manor. A terrible commotion is happening inside, and by the time her family forces the door open it is too late—Emily is in the final, violent throes of strychnine poisoning and nothing can save her.
As fate would have it, Belgium’s most celebrated detective, a refugee from the war, resides in the neighboring village. Hercule Poirot may look, in the words of Hastings, like a “quaint dandyfied little man,” but he possesses one of the finest minds in Europe and an extraordinary flair for solving the most baffling of cases. Half a dozen people—including Alfred, Emily’s much younger second husband; her slacker stepsons, John and Lawrence; and Mary, her beautiful but bored daughter-in-law—had the means and the motive to poison Emily. While Hastings and the rest of Styles Court rush to judgment, Poirot painstakingly sifts through the clues and considers each of the suspects in turn. The answer at which he arrives will shock them all.
Agatha Christie wrote The Mysterious Affair at Styles because her sister wagered that she could not plot a mystery. Not only did Christie win that bet, she created one of the greatest detectives in all of literature and established herself as the undisputed Queen of Crime.
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