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About this book:

The Mysterious Affair at Styles is a detective novel by Agatha Christie. It was written in the middle of World War I, in 1916, and first published by John Lane in the United States in October 1920.

Styles was Christie's first published novel, introducing Hercule Poirot, InspectorJapp, and Arthur Hastings. Poirot is described as "a dear little man", "an extraordinary looking little man" and a "quaint dandyfied little man".

The novel is set in England at Styles Court, an Essex country manor (also the setting of Curtain, Poirot's last case). Upon her husband's death, the wealthy widow, Emily Cavendish, inherited a life estate in Styles as well as the outright inheritance of the larger part of the late Mr Cavendish's income. Mrs Cavendish became Mrs Inglethorp upon her recent remarriage to a much younger man, Alfred Inglethorp. Emily's two stepsons, John and Lawrence Cavendish, as well as John's wife Mary and several other people, also live at Styles. John Cavendish is the vested remainderman of Styles; that is, the property will pass to him automatically upon his stepmother's decease, as per his late father's will. Lawrence Cavendish would also come into a considerable sum of money. The income left to Mrs Inglethorp by her late husband would be distributed according to Mrs Inglethorp's own will, which she changed at least once per year. If she had not changed her will since her marriage this would go to her husband.

Late one night, the residents of Styles wake to find Emily Inglethorp dying of what proves to be strychnine poisoning. Hastings, a houseguest, enlists the help of his friend Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the nearby village, Styles St Mary. Poirot pieces together events surrounding the murder. On the day she was killed, Mrs Inglethorp was overheard arguing with someone, most likely either her husband, Alfred, or her stepson, John. Afterwards, she seemed quite distressed and, apparently, made a new will — which no one can find. She ate little at dinner and retired early to her room with her document case. The case was later forced open by someone and a document removed. Alfred Inglethorp left Styles earlier in the evening and stayed overnight in the nearby village, so was not present when the poisoning occurred. No one knows exactly when or how the strychnine was administered to Mrs Inglethorp... (source: Wikipedia)

About the author:

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE (born Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote six romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for the 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections she wrote under her own name, most of which revolve around the investigations of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and Tommy and Tuppence. She also wrote the world's longest-running play, The Mousetrap. (source: Wikipedia)

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    Mysterious affairs at styles

    A real page turner. Agatha Christie has a way of twisting a simple tale into an intriguing mystery. Truly a must read.


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