Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CBR II: Book 18 - The mysterious affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Yes, back to Christie. I'm going to stop denying the truth: I'm getting a huge girl-crush.  I've decided she's my literary palate cleanser. When I've blown my brain on too much fangy chick lit, I can turn to the wonderful Ms Christie.  

Still, 'her little grey cells' must be like those angels in 'Blink' from Doctor Who.  All calm and devoted, but don't blink or BANG! They'll be in your face with those twenty-inch canines, and you'll scream and climb the back of the couch and your fiance will laugh at you because he'd already watched the episode and he knew that was coming, the bastard.

Or maybe that's just my interpretation.  You know, I can blame Doctor Who, in part, for getting me onto Christie.  I'd always planned to read one of her books, but it was that episode with her in it (being Awesome, I might add), that punted her up the list.  

Ahem.  I appear to have caught Digression Disease.  

The Mysterious Affair at Styles is, according to the cover, Poirot's first case.  A wealthy woman is poisoned.  She's well-loved (although, as in all the Christie books I've read, not as much as first thought), with a gold-digging husband and a pair of step-sons.  

Hastings is a very different man in this book, compared to the later ones I've read.  He's full of himself.  I guess repeated bouts with Poirot knocks the majority of that out of him by the later books.  He's also almost creepily obsessed with finding a wife.  I don't know if this is normal or not, given that 'a wife' was the about the only way a man who considered himself respectable could regularly have sex in that time (score one for modern acceptance of masturbation and internet porn!).  But although I can understand Hastings falling at first sight for another man's wife, it lost the impact when he also turned his attention to Cynthia Murdock.  Given that neither of them returned that attention, I'm going to assume Christie shared my opinion.  (Girl crush increasing!)

I didn't guess the killer.  Actually, about a third of the way through, when I realised that there were an absolute abundance of legitimate suspects, I made the conscious decision to not even bother.  Just enjoy the ride.  Then I went back and reread all the clues I missed.  Especially all the ones I missed when I was still consciously trying to guess the killer.   

She really is a genius.

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