Book Review: The Mysterious Affair at Styles

04.30.2019 (First published 10.1920) | Vintage
Rating: 4/5 stars


Meet Hercule Poirot: A detective and Belgian refugee of the Great War who has settled in England near Styles Court, the sprawling estate of his wealthy, elderly benefactress, Emily Inglethorp. When Emily’s body is found the authorities believe her to be poisoned, but seem at a loss for who committed the crime. Poirot must put his detective skills to work. Suspects are bountiful, including the victim’s much younger husband, her restful stepsons, a young family friend working as a nurse, and her longtime hired companion. All of them have secrets, but do they have a motive? 


THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES was Agatha Christie’s debut novel and the literary world’s first introduction to the famous Hercule Poirot. Knowing this information going into the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I found was a work of pure genius which feels anything but like a debut novel. All of the things that readers have come to love about Christie’s writing and Poirot are contained within this first story.

I have read Agatha Christie’s books since I was a young girl and one of the things that I consistently find within them and subsequently love are the amount of red herrings that she leaves for the reader. No one is safe from being a suspect in a Christie novel and this time around there was quite the group of suspicious characters! I think I was certain each one was guilty at one time or another as Poirot kept us guessing with his deductions. 


In addition to Poirot, the reader is guided through the case with Hastings, who was actually present the night of Emily’s death. Hastings is a great character who feels equally confused with each new revelation from Poirot. I think he’s the perfect companion as the reader can sympathize with his feelings of frustration when Poirot makes him feel like the answer of who the murder is should be obvious.

It’s always hard for me to rate and review a classic work because clearly these books have reached this status for a reason. Whether you’ve read this one or not, you likely know the name Agatha Christie. I think it’s always fun to read a well-loved author’s debut book and I was very happy with what I found within the pages of THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Mysterious Affair at Styles

  1. I want to get back into her books, I grew up with her books, but haven’t read any in years, besides, Murder on the Orient Express. I want to collect some of her books, there are so many gorgeous copies available.

    Liked by 1 person

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