The Mysterious Affair At Styles
I had read this book long ago, when I was in the eighth standard. That was in 2000, more than a decade ago. At that time I was not much impressed by it. I found the ending to be silly and had the opinion that Christie had written better whodunits than this one.
After 12 years, I still hold on the idea that Christie had written better novels, but with certain modifications to that view.
This one may not be her finest, but certainly this one is one of the most significant of her works, aside from the fact that this was her first novel.
In this novel we find Poirot, searching for mud stains and torn dresses. A definite HOLMESIAN modus operandi, which he later came to dismiss and rely more on his little grey cells.
This was Christie’s first, and she was long way from developing Poirot’s distinct traits.
And, she pointed out in her autobiography that she did read Holmes, and maybe she did get influenced by his methods, although Poirot might not have liked it.
Another aspect present in this book, quite different from Christie’s later works was the presence of the LOCKED ROOM MSTERY approach. Although she seldom used this approach in her later novels, this was nevertheless a very popular technique of the time she wrote STYLES...
Here we find a murder taking place, in a room, the doors to which is locked, with a distinct question as to how the criminal entered the room. Though not a LOCKED ROOM in the purest sense, but it was close enough.
If the book was compared today, the solution is full of circumstantial evidence, but the sheer amount of clues and the massive no. Of twists, delete any negative feeling about the book.
In short, all I can say is that, after completing the book, it doesn’t feel like a re-read at all. The pleasure derived was as good as reading a book for the first time.