September 2013's Book of the Month: The Mysterious Affair at Styles

adminadmin Cuanza Norte, Angola
edited September 2013 in All Poirot novels
This is the book that started it all. Rejected by five publishers, but loved by millions, this is Poirot and Christie’s debut.

Welcome to murder, of course, and a grand country house. Meet Poirot. Meet Hastings. Meet Christie.

Post your questions for the rest of the group.


  • speedbird451speedbird451 Hackney, United Kingdom
    Love the idea of a book of the month.  I'm hunting out my copy and look forward to discussing.
  • edited September 2013
    It's a great idea to go back to this wonderful novel! Looking forward to discussing it, and reading what other people think of it.
  • JoJoJoJo Pennsylvania, United States
    My copy is right on the shelf with all my other Agatha's. Looking forward to revisiting it and seeing what others think. Great choice and I am excited to be part of this group! Thanks for the opportunity! Jana
  • LucilleLucille Ontario, Canada
    It's already September 12 and I don't see any comments on the book.  Is the discussion being held somewhere else or perhaps it's just that no one has commented on the book yet. I'm new here and I need some feedback as to how one goes about commenting on a book.  This is my first time with a book club.
  • TuppenceTuppence City of London, United Kingdom
    Hi Lucille, just post your comments and questions here for everyone to answer them. How far are you into the book? I've been thinking about the period setting and can't quite imagine it being set at any other time. What do you think?
  • LucilleLucille Ontario, Canada
    Hi Tuppence! I love your chosen name! I have not started reading the book yet. I will pick it up at the library or purchase it this weekend. I can't wait to be part of the discussion.

  • AmelieGrenierAmelieGrenier Ile-de-France, France
    I began to reread it ( I read it like 20 years ago) and I was amazed to see that AG made all the characteristics of Poirot that we know from her very first novel; she never changed him a bit, except in the Curtain in which he seems older.
  • StuartBarnettStuartBarnett Connecticut, United States
    In this novel, Poirot is not entirely solidified into the character we know. There's one odd moment where he skips away like some demented leprechaun. Something hard to imagine the mature Poirot doing. That being said, it is remarkable that this is a "beginners" novel. The characters are vivid and the daring of the double bluff--all the makings of a confident and assured novelist at the outset. 
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    I didn't notice until I read John Curran's book that Hastings isn't identified as "Captain Arthur" in this novel at all!
  • I really like this novel, especially the scientific explanation of the poisoning. Agatha came to that idea while in VAD, didn't she?
  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
    I think so.  Christie learned a lot about poisons while working in a dispensary.  At the end, Poirot quotes a real-life medical text to explain how the poisoning was committed.   In The Poisonous Pen of Agatha Christie, Michael C. Gerald writes about his discovery of the source if this citation.  The quote is from Peter MacEwan’s The Art of Dispensing: A Treatise on the Methods and Processes Involved in Compounding Medical Prescriptions, probably the 1912 ninth edition.  
  • because of this book I was fascinated by the author and the characters!   :x
  • TuppenceTuppence City of London, United Kingdom
    GKCfan said:
    I didn't notice until I read John Curran's book that Hastings isn't identified as "Captain Arthur" in this novel at all!
      Hastings was only a Lieutenant in 1920.
  • ascolenascolen New Jersey, United States
    Does anyone think Agatha Christie had the idea for a Poirot SERIES of books right from the start?  At the end he speaks of "hunting again".
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I will always read this book, It isn't my favourite with Hastings but not my least favourite either.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I should think she always thought of Poirot in a series of books, what she probably didn't anticipate is getting bored of Poirot and Hastings
  • LucilleLucille Ontario, Canada
    Regarding the first question about time and place being central to the novel, I believe they are.  I see the time as being perfect since it brings Poirot to Styles as a war refugee from Belgium  and Hastings as a recuperating soldier.  What better place than a huge country house.  Those houses did give asylum to refugees during the war. As for setting a huge country house as a backdrop to the story, this provides atmosphere! Huge country houses always do it for me when it comes to mysteries. They are atmospheric!
  • LucilleLucille Ontario, Canada
    I am no longer familiar with the novels of Sherlock Holmes.  I did read some but too long ago for me to remember, unfortunately. It was interesting for me to be informed of the fact that Christie used the same technique as Arthur Conan Doyle.  Now I want to revisit at least one of his books to familiarize myself with the relationship between Watson and Holmes.
  • LucilleLucille Ontario, Canada
    Regarding the  question about Christie copying the style of Holmes/Watson, I can't answer this as I would like to because of my unfamiliarity with Doyle's books.  However, she certainly has created in Poirot a true individual.  First of all, there is his unique and interesting appearance and then his peculiar way of expressing himself which sometimes translates from French to English.  For example when Poirot says "You shall recount to me the affairs".  He translates "raconter" as "recounts." Or "I comprehend perfectly" instead of saying "I understand perfectly."   "Do not enrage yourself" instead of saying "Don't get angry".  Or, "Would I mount" when it comes to climbing up the stairs. Poirot is so entertaining without even knowing it.
  • glalonzo0408glalonzo0408 Pennsylvania, United States
    StuartBarnett...I agree with your comments.  I believe AG was just figuring out exactly how Poirot 's personality was to be.  I am so glad she decided the way she did.  Hard to believe that this is an author's first book.  Almost done....can't wait for the ending.
  • AlexBarryAlexBarry Wisconsin, United States
    I'm a bit behind you all, but I wasn't even a member here in September, so that's my excuse.  This will be the next book I tackle, after which I'll return to this thread with my thoughts and comments.
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