Friday, August 29, 2014

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

by Agatha Christie
August 27, 2014

Although I was a big Hercule Poirot fan when I was in 8th and 9th grade, I don't think I ever read this book - the first Poirot mystery.

I liked it, but I'm hoping that the other books are better because I didn't enjoy this as much as other mysteries I've read through the years.

It really read like a diary, which, I guess, you could say it is.  Narrated by Arthur Hastings, a friend of Poirot. Hastings is kind of a nerd and fancies himself as a bit of a detective himself. He second guesses Poirot and comes to the wrong conclusion about the crime and the suspects several times. But, that's not what bothers me. That's what makes Hastings both endearing and irritating at the same time.  The problem is that the plot is like - this happened and then that happened and then this happened and then the next day we went here and we went there.  The characters were almost caricatures, including Poirot and Hastings himself.  They were not developed in any way as to make the reader really interested in any of them.  That's the nature of some mysteries because it allows the mystery to be the focus of the novel, not the lives of the characters themselves. Law and Order started out that way, I think.  And it was always most successful when the present situation - not the detectives' family dramas - took center stage.

It sounds like I didn't like this book. Not so - I did like it.  And I look forward to reading some more Poirot novels.

We'll see.

Oh... I read this on my Nook.  It was an epub from the library.  One complaint about that format: apparently, there are a couple of illustrations that are important to the story that aren't reproduced in this ebook.  There's the floor plan of the mansion and a facsimile of a letter that the victim wrote.

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