The Mysterious Affair at Styles
This is the first novel featuring Hercule Poirot. I enjoyed it. You won’t be able to figure out everything before the end – I’d argue that there’s simply no way you can establish the true course of all events yourself, because you need to know stuff you cannot possibly be expected to know. Some crime stories are like that; I usually don’t particularly mind, but I found it just a little annoying this time because I spent more time while reading this book thinking about who might have done it, what had actually happened, who were lying about what, what had happened when, etc., than I did when I read the first couple of Christie books. But it’s not a big problem, and I should note that the added effort did mean that I got quite a few things right (or at least they were options I’d seriously considered). Some of the developments would probably have surprised me greatly if I’d read the book less carefully – I was still surprised a few times, but you’re supposed to be when reading a story like this. All the pieces of the puzzle fall into place at the end, which is more important to me than is the question of whether it’s possible to ‘crack the case’ on your own – some of the ‘suspicious behaviours’ you encounter have quite plausible explanations, and if you think about matters along the way some of these explanations will occur to you as well.
Overall an enjoyable read. I gave it 4 stars on goodreads, where the average rating is 3.94.