I’ve probably read nearly all the AC’s novels a long time ago, but don’t remember much of many of them and decided to reread them in English. I love the author, for the mysteries but also for her characters’ subtlety.
But for this one I was surprised to find the story not much enjoyable.
My main complain was with the relation between Poirot and Hastings. Poirot likes to tease his friend and use his average skilled mind to access to an other point of view, a mundane one. That I knew, it’s part of the game. But in « The Mysterious Affair at Styles » it goes too far. Poirot humiliates Hastings, who doesn’t even realise it, which is improbable in many occasions. For him not to understand Poirot’s intentions he should have been very stupid. For instance he should guess that when Poirot makes a scene it’s quite intentional, to obtain some result. Those interactions, quite repetitive, show a cruel Poirot and a naive Hastling, thinking himself intelligent but acting with painfully stupidity.
I was enlightened reading the book’s presentation: it was AC’s first Poison novel, and AC must have understood that it was necessary to rebalance the relation between Poirot and Hastings in the next stories.
And other point didn’t enthusiasmed me: the denouement comes a few months after the murder, which is quite unusual for the author, and dilutes the reader’ immersion.
Note that she wrote a different revelations scene first (in Court, not in private, as we can find in many if not all Poirot’s novels) and that my edition published it in the end, which was interesting, not in itself (the same things are said and development) but writing wise.
So, not a very good AC, but still a good read, and a must read one for Poirot’s aficionados!