I read this for "Country House Mystery" square. "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" by Agatha Christie deals with the murder of the wealthy Mrs. Emily Inglethorp at her country home, Styles. This book brings together for the first time, Hercule Poirot, Arthur Hastings, and Inspector Japp.
This was a cleverly done plot though I'm not going to lie, I really didn't understand a thing til the ending. I'm still maybe a bit confused about things since I think the final solution was a bit convoluted. I mean I don't care, I liked the story a lot, but Poirot connecting things at the end I did go wait a second, what.
I will always love Poirot treating Hastings like an imbecile though. And we get to see Hastings at 30 and acting a fool over women per usual. I did crack up at one scene where he makes his intentions clear, the woman laughed at him. Twice.
Poirot was great, though I see signs of the later Poirot that started to bug me with his keeping everyone in the dark and revealing all later. I do wonder why no criminals would not start refusing gatherings held by Poirot in the later books. I would have declined and fled.
We do get some key players in this one that I liked though. We follow two brothers, stepsons to Mrs. Inglethorp. However, it is really the women that shone more for me in this book. Mary Cavendish, John's wife, and the friend of the family, Cynthia were great.
The book takes place during World War I so we get to see an England at war, though it doesn't read that way except for a few small details here and there.
I would still rate "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" higher than this one, though this is a favorite too.