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The Mysterious Affair at Styles

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The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Hercule Poirot Series, Book 1
Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Sus-pects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary--from the heiress's fawning...
Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Sus-pects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary--from the heiress's fawning...
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Description-
  • Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Sus-pects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary--from the heiress's fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary. Making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case.
    "The key to the success of this style of detective novel," writes Elizabeth George in her Introduction, "lies in how the author deals with both the clues and the red herrings, and it has to be said that no one bettered Agatha Christie at this game."

    From the Trade Paperback edition.
 
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter I I Go to Styles

    The intense interest aroused in the public by what was known at the time as "The Styles Case" has now somewhat subsided. Nevertheless, in view of the world-wide notoriety which attended it, I have been asked, both by my friend Poirot and the family themselves, to write an account of the whole story. This, we trust, will eVectually silence the sensational rumours which still persist.

    I will therefore brieXy set down the circumstances which led to my being connected with the aVair.

    I had been invalided home from the Front; and, after spending some months in a rather depressing Convalescent Home, was given a month's sick leave. Having no near relations or friends, I was trying to make up my mind what to do, when I ran across John Cavendish. I had seen very little of him for some years. Indeed, I had never known him particularly well. He was a good Wfteen years my senior, for one thing, though he hardly looked his forty-Wve years. As a boy, though, I had often stayed at Styles, his mother's place in Essex.

    We had a good yarn about old times, and it ended in his inviting me down to Styles to spend my leave there.

    "The mater will be delighted to see you again?after all those years," he added.

    "Your mother keeps well?" I asked.

    "Oh, yes. I suppose you know that she has married again?"

    I am afraid I showed my surprise rather plainly. Mrs. Cavendish, who had married John's father when he was a widower with two sons, had been a handsome woman of middle-age as I remembered her. She certainly could not be a day less than seventy now. I recalled her as an energetic, autocratic personality, somewhat inclined to charitable and social notoriety, with a fondness for opening bazaars and playing the Lady Bountiful. She was a most generous woman, and possessed a considerable fortune of her own.

    Their country-place, Styles Court, had been purchased by Mr. Cavendish early in their married life. He had been completely under his wife's ascendancy, so much so that, on dying, he left the place to her for her lifetime, as well as the larger part of his income; an arrangement that was distinctly unfair to his two sons. Their stepmother, however, had always been most generous to them; indeed, they were so young at the time of their father's remarriage that they always thought of her as their own mother.

    Lawrence, the younger, had been a delicate youth. He had qualiWed as a doctor but early relinquished the profession of medicine, and lived at home while pursuing literary ambitions; though his verses never had any marked success.

    John practised for some time as a barrister, but had Wnally settled down to the more congenial life of a country squire. He had married two years ago, and had taken his wife to live at Styles, though I entertained a shrewd suspicion that he would have preferred his mother to increase his allowance, which would have enabled him to have a home of his own. Mrs. Cavendish, however, was a lady who liked to make her own plans, and expected other people to fall in with them, and in this case she certainly had the whip hand, namely: the purse strings.

    John noticed my surprise at the news of his mother's remarriage and smiled rather ruefully.

    "Rotten little bounder too!" he said savagely. "I can tell you, Hastings, it's making life jolly diYcult for us. As for Evie?you remember Evie?"

    "No."

    "Oh, I suppose she was after your time. She's the mater's factotum, companion, Jack of all trades! A great sport?old Evie! Not precisely young and beautiful, but as game as they make them."

    "You were going to say???"

    "Oh, this fellow! He turned up from nowhere, on the...
About the Author-
  • Agatha Christie is the world's best-known mystery writer. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language, and another billion in 44 foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her writing career spanned more than half a century, during which she wrote 79 novels and a short story collection, as well as 14 plays, one of which, The Mousetrap, is the longest running play in history. Two of the characters she created, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and the irrepressible and relentless Miss Marple, went on to become world famous detectives. Both have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies. Agatha Christie died in 1976.

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  • The New York Times Book Review "Future scholars of the simon-pure detective novel will holdthat its greatest practitioner . . . has been Agatha Christie."
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    Random House Publishing Group
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