Homeworks academic service


A review of agatha christies novel the mysterious affair at styles

Plot summary[ edit ] One morning at Styles Court, an Essex country manor, its household wake to the discovery that the owner, elderly Emily Inglethorp, has died. She had been poisoned with strychnine. Arthur Hastings, a soldier from the Western Front staying there as a guest on his sick leave, ventures out to the nearby village of Styles St. Mary, to enlist help from his friend staying there - Hercule Poirot. Poirot learns that Emily was a woman of wealth - upon the death of her previous husband, Mr.

Cavendish, she inherited from him both the manor and a large portion of his income. Poirot learns that per Emily's will, John is the vested remainderman of the manor - he inherits the property from her, per his father's will.

However, the money she inherited would be distributed according to her own will, which she changed at least once per year; her most recent will favours Alfred, who will inherit her fortune.

She had been quite distressed after this, and apparently made a new will - no one can find any evidence that it exists. Alfred left the manor early that evening, and stayed overnight in the village. Meanwhile, Emily ate little at dinner and retired early to her room, taking her document case with her; when her body was found, the case had been forced open and a document removed. Nobody can explain how or when the poison was administered to her. Inspector Japp, the investigating officer, considers Alfred to be the prime suspect, as he gains the most from his wife's death.

The Cavendishes suspect him to be a fortune hunter, as he was much younger than Emily.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Poirot notes his behaviour is suspicious during the investigation - he refuses to provide an alibiand openly denies purchasing the strychnine in the village, despite evidence to the contrary. Although Japp is keen to arrest him, Poirot intervenes by proving he couldn't have purchased the poison; the signature for the purchase is not in his handwriting.

Suspicion now falls on John - he is the next to gain from Emily's will, and has no alibi for the murder. Japp soon arrests him - the signature for the poison is in his handwriting; a phial that contained the poison is found in his room; a beard and a pair of pince-nez identical to Alfred's, are found within the manor. Poirot soon exonerates John of the crime.

He reveals that the murder was committed by Alfred Inglethorp, with aid from his cousin Evelyn Howard. The pair pretended to be enemies, but were romantically involved. They added bromide to Emily's regular evening medicine, obtained from her sleeping powder, which made the final dose lethal.

The pair then left false evidence that would incriminate Alfred, which they knew would be refuted at his trial; once acquitted, he could not be tried for the crime again if genuine evidence against him was found, per the law of double jeopardy. John was framed by the pair as part of their plan; his handwriting was forged by Evelyn, and the evidence against him was fabricated. Poirot reveals that when he realised that Alfred wanted to be arrested, he prevented Japp from doing so until he could discover why.

He also reveals that he found a letter in Emily's room, thanks to a chance remark by Hastings, that detailed Alfred's intentions for his wife.

Emily's distress on the afternoon of the murder, was because she had found it in his desk while searching for stamps. Her case was forced open by Alfred, as he had discovered she had taken it; he was forced to recover it from the case, and he hid it in the room, as he couldn't be found with it.

Characters[ edit ] Hercule Poirot - Renowned Belgian private detective. He lives n England after being displaced by the war in Europe. Asked to investigate the case by his old friend Hastings. Hastings - Poirot's friend, and the narrator of the case.

He is a guest at Styles Court while on sick leave from the Western Front. Inspector Japp - A Scotland Yard detective, and the investigating officer.

  1. I ought to say, however, that an expert in detective stories with whom I discussed it, said he was convinced from the beginning that the true culprit was the woman whom the victim in her lifetime believed to be her staunchest friend.
  2. For my part, I made up my mind from the beginning that the middle-aged husband of the old lady was in every way qualified to murder her, and I refused to surrender this conviction when suspicion of him is scattered for a moment. Japp soon arrests him - the signature for the poison is in his handwriting; a phial that contained the poison is found in his room; a beard and a pair of pince-nez identical to Alfred's, are found within the manor.
  3. It's simple evolution of a timeline, collections of clues, conversations with people... Bauerstein, conveniently an eminent toxicologist; and Dorcas, a longtime maid to Mrs.
  4. But here we come to a problem that Agatha Christie has not yet solved, for cleverness over the long length easily becomes exhausting, and too many clues tend to cancel each other out, as far as reader interest is concerned.

He is an acquaintance of Poirot at the time of the novel's setting. Emily Inglethorp - A wealthy old woman, and the wife of Alfred Inglethorp.

Her fortune and home of Styles Court were inherited by her following the death of her first husband, Mr Cavendish.

The victim of the case. Alfred Inglethorp - Emily's second husband and a much younger man than her. Considered by her family to be a spoiled fortune-hunter. The killer of the case. John Cavendish - Emily's elder stepson, from her first husband's previous marriage, and the brother of Lawrence. The chief suspect after suspicion on Alfred is swayed away at Poirot's insistence.

Mary Cavendish - John's wife, a friend of Dr Bauerstein. Lawrence Cavendish - Emily's younger stepson, from her first husband's previous marriage, and the brother of John. Known to have studied medicine.

Evelyn Howard - Emily's companion, who is vocal about her negative views of Alfred Inglethorp. Cynthia Murdoch - The daughter of a deceased friend of the family, an orphan. She performs war-time work at a nearby hospital's pharmacy. Dr Bauerstein - A well-known toxicologistliving not far from Styles. Dorcas - A maid at Styles.

  1. It is, too, a very clever story, with clues and red herrings falling thick and fast.
  2. Poirot goes on to appear in 33 Christie novels, and countless radio, TV, and movie portrayals.
  3. Her hand was over-liberal with clues and red herrings, but it was a highly cunning hand, even at this stage.... It's the ultimate tale - a family with secrets.

Dedication[ edit ] The book's dedication reads: Christie's mother, Clarissa "Clara" Boehmer Miller 1854—1926was a strong influence on her life and someone to whom Christie was extremely close, especially after the death of her father in 1901.

It was while Christie was ill circa 1908 that her mother suggested she write a story.

The result was The House of Beauty, now a lost work which hesitantly started her writing career. Christie also dedicated her debut novel as Mary Westmacott, Giant's Bread 1930to her mother who, by that time, had died. Literary significance and reception[ edit ] The Times Literary Supplement 3 February 1921 gave the book an enthusiastic, if short, review, which stated: Every reader must admit that the bet was won.

Though this may be the first published book of Miss Agatha Christie, she betrays the cunning of an old hand. You must wait for the last-but-one chapter in the book for the last link in the chain of evidence that enabled Mr. Poirot to unravel the whole complicated plot and lay the guilt where it really belonged.

And you may safely make a review of agatha christies novel the mysterious affair at styles wager with yourself that until you have heard M. The novel's review in The Sunday Times of 20 February 1921, quoted the publisher's promotional blurb concerning Christie writing the book as the result of a bet that she would not be able to do so without the reader being able to guess the murderer, then said, "Personally we did not find the "spotting" so very difficult, but we are free to admit that the story is, especially for a first adventure in fiction, very well contrived, and that the solution of the mystery is the result of logical deduction.

The story, moreover, has no lack of movement, and the several characters are well drawn. To wit, It will rejoice the heart of all who truly relish detective stories, from Mr. I have heard that this is Miss Christie's first book, and that she wrote it in response to a challenge.

If so, the feat was amazing, for the book is put together so deftly that I can remember no recent book of the kind, which approaches it in merit. It is well written, well proportioned, and full of surprises. When does the reader first suspect the murderer? For my part, I made up my mind from the beginning that the middle-aged husband of the old lady was in every way qualified to murder her, and I refused to surrender this conviction when suspicion of him is scattered for a moment.

But I was not in the least degree prepared to find that his accomplice was the woman who pretended to be a friend. I ought to say, however, that an expert in detective stories with whom I discussed it, said he was convinced from the beginning that the true culprit was the woman whom the victim in her lifetime believed to be her staunchest friend.

I hope I have not revealed too much of the plot.

Lovers of good detective stories will, without exception, rejoice in this book. The victim is the wealthy mistress of Styles Court, found in her locked bedroom with the name of her late husband on her dying lips. Poirot has a few questions for her fortune-hunting new spouse, her aimless stepsons, her private doctor, and her hired companion.

The answers are positively poisonous. Who's responsible, and why, can only be revealed by the master detective himself. The Big House in wartime, with privations, war work and rumours of spies. Her hand was over-liberal with clues and red herrings, but it was a highly cunning hand, even at this stage [4]: The country-house-party murder is a stereotype in the detective-story genre, which Christie makes no great use of. Not her sort of occasion, at least later in life, and perhaps not really her class.

Product Review

The family party is much more in her line, and this is what we have here. This is one of the few Christies anchored in time and space: The family is kept together under one roof by the exigencies of war and of a matriarch demanding rather than tyrannical — not one of her later splendid monsters, but a sympathetic and lightly shaded characterisation.

Christie takes advantage of this end-of-an-era feeling in several ways: The marriage of the matriarch with a mysterious nobody is the central out-of-joint event in an intricate web of subtle changes.

The family is lightly but effectively characterised, and on the outskirts of the story are the villagers, the small businessmen, and the surrounding farmers — the nucleus of Mayhem Parva.

It is, too, a very clever story, with clues and red herrings falling thick and fast. But here we come to a problem that Agatha Christie has not yet solved, for cleverness over the long length easily becomes exhausting, and too many clues tend to cancel each other out, as far as reader interest is concerned. These were problems which Conan Doyle never satisfactorily overcame, but which Christie would.

It is set in a large, isolated country manor. There are a half-dozen suspects, most of whom are hiding facts about themselves. The plot includes a number of red herrings and surprise twists. However, it omitted Dr Bauerstein and some minor characters, while it provided further elaboration on Hastings' first meeting with Poirot - the pair met during an investigation into a shooting, in which Hastings was a suspect.