Download The Mysterious Affair at Styles Audiobook

The Mysterious Affair at Styles Audiobook, by Agatha Christie Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Agatha Christie Narrator: Penelope Dellaporta Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Hercule Poirot Mysteries Release Date: February 2009 ISBN: 9781400179190
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (50,078 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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"The Mysterious Affair at Styles" is a magnificent literary feat, being Agatha Christie's first published book and also the one in which she introduces Hercule Poirot, the detective whose name has become synonymous with psychological reasoning rather than merely following physical clues in order to reach a conclusion. Even though this is Christie's first book, it contains all of the elements that draw us to her mature work. Hercule Poirot is wonderfully comic, standing out as a Belgian amidst Englishmen. He speaks with an accent and wears dandified clothing which makes people regard him with suspicion. At the same time, he is, like Christie, something of a romantic; not only does he solve a mystery, he also likes to bring people in love together.

The way in which Poirot irritates his sidekick, Lieutenant Hastings, in whose voice the book is written, is also quite amusing. Hastings keeps wondering if Poirot is off his rocker and can't help getting annoyed at him for his mysterious comments that are later explained. For example, how could a fire in the dead woman's room be significant? And what is Poirot's fascination with the missing coffee cup?

The mystery arises when Hastings is visiting his friend John Cavendish who lives with his mother, his brother, his wife and a distant cousin in a large house. His mother is murdered by strychnine poisoning and suspicion immediately falls on her husband who, like Poirot, is a foreigner and subject to local prejudices against him. But there are also several other possibilities because anyone who lived in the house could have done it and many of them had access to strychnine. At different points, we are led to suspect Hastings' friend John, his brother Lawrence, as well as a doctor who works in the vicinity. And matters are complicated when gossip about affairs that people might be having runs rampant. After the police go through a couple of suspects and Hastings' friend John is tried for the murder, Poirot finally reveals who did it in a grand finale worthy of Christie's best-known detective.

Agatha Christie was the daughter of an English mother and an American father. She was initially home schooled and later sent to finishing schools in France. Her first marriage was to Archibald Christie with whom she had a daughter. However, after a decade together, he declared that he wanted a divorce because he was in love with another woman. Her second marriage, to archaeologist Max Mallowan, was a happy one and lasted until her death. Both Christie and Mallowan were knighted for the work they did in their respective fields. At this point, Christie's estate has sold 4 billion copies and her works rank third in the world, after the writings of William Shakespeare and the Bible.

Agatha Christie's first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, introduces the characters of Hercule Poirot, Chief Inspector Japp, and Captain Arthur Hastings.

In the midst of World War I, the residents of Styles wake one morning to find Emily Inglethorpe has been fatally poisoned. Captain Hastings, staying with the family, enlists the help of his old friend, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. With the evidence mounting against one member of the family, Poirot uses his technique to prove who really killed Emily.

The novel is told in first person by Hastings and features many of the elements that, thanks to Christie, would become icons of the Golden age of detective fiction: it is set in a large, isolated country manor and features half a dozen suspects, most of whom are hiding facts about themselves; the book includes maps of the house and the murder scene and a drawing of a fragment of a will; and there are a number of red herrings and surprise plot twists.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Agatha Christie’s tale presents master detective Hercule Poirot, who faces a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery complete with numerous suspects, a myriad of seemingly different clues, and real intrigue.”

    Midwest Book Review

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 2/11/2014

    " It was fine, until the end, which was very, very good. As her first novel, I'm willing to give AC a bit of wiggle room on this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 1/15/2014

    " Good start to the Poirot series. I found myself wondering "Who would I cast in this role?" a lot. Of course it's impossible to think of anyone but David Suchet as Poirot. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ophelia | 4/10/2013

    " The trolling is worse than MOFFAT's ! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harmo75 | 12/13/2012

    " Siempre grande Agatha Christie. Voy a releerme poco a poco todas sus novelas. Esta es la primera protagonizada por el gran Poirot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 6/12/2011

    " Agatha Christie introduces one of her most famous detectives with this fine example of the English mystery genre. "

About the Author

Dame Agatha Christie (1890–1976) was a British crime writer best known for her detective novels and short stories. According to Guinness World Records, she is the best-selling novelist of all time, her novels having sold over four billion copies and having been translated into more than one hundred languages. The Agatha Award for best mystery and crime writers was named in her honor.

About the Narrator

Penelope Dellaporta is a published narrator. Some of her published credits include Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary and Edith Wharton’s The House Of Mirth.