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Thursday, March 10, 2022

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Book Review

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While it seemed like a bit of a mix between the Great Gastby and a Sherlock Holmes novel, I wouldn't say that's a bad thing. Just as I felt the book was becoming a bit dry the murder happened, and no that's not a spoiler if you know this genre. I must say I actually don't know the mystery genre well but have always wanted to get into it, thus my reading of this book. I have read one other of her books a few years ago, "And Then There Were None," which I quite enjoyed and rated four out of five stars. It was an interesting thing to find that the narrator in this story was interested in becoming a detective, yet it was another character, Poirot, who does the investigation. I was expecting it to be the narrator character, but then it was like duh the series is named after Poirot. I’m just saying that’s the way the story led me at first. I suppose it shouldn't surprise me, as it's a lot like Sherlock Holmes, and even the Great Gatsby, where the protagonist is not really the narrator or main character. I'm sure varying definitions of those terms would lead to disagreements with how I worded that, but I'd wager you understand what I mean. I quite enjoyed Poirot's interviews with people. I liked how he differed a bit as a detective from Sherlock Holmes, he has perhaps less powers of deduction and more a talent for thourough investigation where he follows his process and finds things out in that manner. I never disliked Homles's amazing deductions, but it was cool to see Poirot go to work in action rather than puffing on a pipe to solve the case almost exclusively with his mind. EDIT upon futher reading I saw Poirot use great powers of deduction to help him solve the case, and much like Sherlock Holmes he definitely reveals all in a huge avalanche of information at the end. Here's maybe the difference though, while Poirot is sharp, he is also surprised by things and must work them out as he finds new evidence. We get the sense that Poirot is making some amazing deductions as the story progresses, and while he may have solid conclusions, he continues to work on the case. I liked that sense of movement. It is very similar to Sherlock Holmes, but also he does it in his own way with his method. It is heavily inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writings but has a different flavor. I really like the character of Poirot too, as he is described as a small man. He seems not to be physically imposing, but his demeaner still is one of confidence and assuredness. He's a cool character. I look forward to more books with him in them. I enjoyed the narrator, Mr. Hastings's, observations about how the characters handled the death. Richard Armitage did a great job narrating this book. His variation for the different characters brought a lot of life to the dialogue, and there was a lot of dialogue so he was a great choice for this book. It cracked me up how Mr. Hastings would get annoyed with Poirot and his elusive knowledge of the crime that Mr. Hastings couldn't guess at. Overall I enjoyed it.

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