This was fun! I was in the perfect mood when I checked this out of the library, and my library participates with one of those digital audiobook lenders, so I was able to carry it everywhere with me. I listened to it in the car, while I was cooking, doing chores, checking my emails, cleaning my fish tank, getting ready in the morning, etc. The library is enabling me. I’m not sure I’ve ever read an audiobook so fast before (of course, I usually only listen to them in my car, so it’s really not that surprising. Side note to my sidenote: I love my iPhone 6).
The Mysterious Affair at Styles is the first Hercule Poirot mystery, and was Agatha Christie’s first book. After I finished, I mosied over to Wikipedia, which also informed that she wrote it on a bet*. I think that’s funny. I really do. The woman had probably one of the most successful literary careers of all time, and it was started by a bet with a friend.
*The bet, if you’re curious, was whether she could write a book where the reader wouldn’t be able to guess the murderer. She proved that guy wrong. Like, hundreds of times probably.
The actual plot of a Poirot novel isn’t that important (and you don’t want to go in knowing too much anyway). There is a murder. Poirot is called in (or butts himself in) to solve it. He does so in a way that baffles or infuriates or straight up deceives those around him. At the end, he reveals all. If you’re not down with that type of thing, Agatha Christie probably isn’t for you. If you do like it, this book is a pretty great example, and I thought the mystery (concerning a poisoned old woman) was extra twisty and clever. The narrator in this one was also very amusing for me. Hastings is recovering from a war wound (this takes place near the end or just after the end of WWI) at the home of a friend, when his friend’s stepmother is murdered. Hastings knows Poirot from their days in the war (Poirot is a Belgian refugee) and calls him in to the case. Hastings fancies himself a bit of a detective now, so half the fun in this is watching as Poirot frustrates the hell out of him, or how Hastings constantly misreads or totally ignores clues, all the while thinking he’s the cat’s pajamas.
My enjoyment was perhaps enhanced by the way I immmersed myself in the story, but I think this was a great way to start out the year. I plan on reading at least three more Christie books this year, but judging from how much fun I had with this one, it’ll probably be more than three. Anyway, she wrote a million books, so I don’t think I will ever run out.