I’m now coming to the end of my re-read of Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles and there are a few things I’d forgotten since first reading it.

For one, it’s told from the point of view of Captain Hastings, which I absolutely love. He brings a fabulous touch of humour to proceedings and we really start getting to know him in this book, especially some of those things that make him so endearing. Not the least of these are his mistaken belief in his own investigative skills and his tendency to fall for practically every pretty woman he encounters, both of which are in full view in this novel.

It’s also noticeable how relatively little we see of Poirot in this, his first appearance in a Christie novel. Although he’s hardly a minor character, he’s definitely not as central to things as he tends to be in later novels. In part, of course, it’s like this because we see things from Hasting’s perspective and it’s not as if he walks around permanently glued to the little Belgium detective (even if at times he might like to be).

My biggest takeaway from this re-visit? It goes back to my comment about the nature of Hasting’s character and that is the significant part that humour plays in many of Christie’s books. It’s something that can sometimes be overlooked, and especially so in film and TV adaptations, but it adds a whole extra layer to her writing. It’s also a very effective foil to the darker moments in her stories.

Now then, I need to start thinking about what I’m going to read next…

 

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