The Mysterious Affair At Style– Book Review

Just when you think Agatha Christie’s books got old… she surprises you–practically arches one of her perfect eyebrows up–and, with a slightly devilish grin, triumphantly yells, ‘Ha! As if!’

 

..Leaving you staring after her awesomeness with your jaw practically passing out on the floor…

 

Hullo wonderful people!

Alright, dramatic reactions aside, let’s get on with the review and see what the back of the book has to say.

Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was the result of a dare from her sister Madge who challenged her to write a story.

The story begins when Captain Hastings is sent back to England from the First World War due to injury and is invited to spend his sick leave at the beautiful Styles Court by his old friend John Cavendish. Here, Hastings meets John’s step-mother, Mrs Inglethorpe, and her new husband, Alfred. Despite the tranquil surroundings Hastings begins to realise that all is not right. When Mrs Inglethorpe is found poisoned, suspicion falls on the family, and another old friend, Hercule Poirot, is invited to investigate.

Now I know what you’re probably thinking right now is something along the lines of, ‘Hey mate, that sounds like a perfectly ordinary novel; what’re the theatrics up there for then?’

If you haven’t read anything by Agatha Christie before, I ought to tell you here and now that her books (or the few that I’ve read by her, at least) have this completely mystic aura about them, and maybe it’s the writing style, or perhaps it’s the tone, voice, soul or even spirit in between the pages; but there’s something that just gets you glued to the pages right away.

“You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.”

So I get that the plot sounds completely ordinary and perhaps even a little mundane for a lot of you, but to a mystery-loving ranter like yours truly here, this was everything. It was my first-ever Hercule Poirot novel, and I have to say, I was certainly not disappointed.

I guess a part of me was comparing Sherlock Holmes with Hercule Poirot in some subconscious way or another. (In case you don’t know– Sherlock Holmes is a fictional famous detective starring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels (also Benedict Cumberbatch on BBC’s Sherlock, if you want a modern introduction); he also happens to be one of the greater loves of my life). So with two great detectives right there, I apparently had to compare them and see who does what better where.

Nope, don’t compare them, please.

“Sometimes I feel sure he is as mad as a hatter and then, just as he is at his maddest, I find there is a method in his madness.”

Poirot is a great little thing. And I don’t mean great in the Sherlock-Holmes-is-great sense; I mean he’s a wonderfully funny, comical and real character who’s surprisingly bubbly for someone so shrouded in mystery. I have noticed that throughout the entire novel, he spoke only with ambiguous wordings, literally making even the simplest facts seem doubtful. Because for some reason or the other, you think that maybe he’s lost a bit of his marbles with all the crazy cases he had to deal with, but oh boy is that man a genius. A genius so very mundane that it’s a tad intimidating how he doesn’t look or even appear it.

“Every murderer is probably somebody’s old friend,” observed Poirot philosophically. “You cannot mix up sentiment and reason.”

Christie’s novel, despite being a crime classic, was surprisingly breezy, humorous, and such an easy read. I guess what’s so impressive about her novels is that the amount of simplicity in them make them so amazingly crafted and complex that it kind of knocks you out and takes your breath away by the end. Her mystery was intriguing, definitely maddening and utterly amazing.

I know I have basically showered the book with compliments that seem out of place with a plot so simple, but this lady was not entitled the Queen of Crime for nothing, you guys. True, the way I felt kind of dumbfounded by the end wasn’t very flattering for neither me or poor Hastings (it’s written from his POV), but what can I say, I just love a challenging mystery. And this one?  This one was definitely one.


What about you? Read any mysteries lately? Will you give this one a go? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear all about it! 

Loads of love, 

Midnight Ranter (aka Ayaka) 

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Mystery (Rhythmical Rant)

Life is a mystery;

One that I’ll never really fathom.

Yet I still study its history,

Forming thoughts to help me imagine.

 

Rules change,

And concepts never apply.

Try as you might– you’ll still be strange,

Try some more, but by a corner you’ll still cry.

 

Should we care—

About the things people say?

Fight it fair and square?

Or let their knives deform you like clay?

 

And who you are–

Upon what is that based?

On what they saw described in your star?

Or everything else you once faced?

 

But then,

Hasn’t the past already departed?

Why look into it again,

When it’s the thing I’ve long since parted?

 

Why judge me on the first glance,

When it’s only what you just saw?

I’ve still so much to enhance,

And it’s my life— it’s what I’ll draw.

 

And yet,

We care about reputation.

When it’s a sad, sad threat,

Looming over every single nation.

Well yes,

It’s their word against yours—

Indeed, a fine game of chess,

But who is it to settle the scores?

 

Now I think I’ve strayed a bit far,

So let’s get back to the subject.

I’ll talk about the scar,

And in that, I’ll be direct.

 

People judge,

People hurt.

They’ll walk round and trudge,

Not caring about what they blurt.

 

So now it’s only up to you,

To give them what they need.

Hand over the glue,

And tell them we’re all a broken breed.

 

No one’s perfect,

But that’s the way it should be.

In everyone lies a bit of a wreck,

Mostly hidden under the sea.

 

And yes: life’s still to me unknown,

But that’s one down and a million more to go.

With that one issue finally blown,

I guess I’ll just have to take it slow,

And believe that truths will one day rise and glow.

 

 

Hullo!

What did you think of my rather rhythmical rant? Enjoyed it? Should I make rhyming rants a thing or just get back to bulky paragraphs? Which part did you relate to the most? The bit about the glue and the one about the sea are my personal favourites, to be honest. 

Everything aside, I hope you all have a lovely day and I look forward to your feedbacks~

–Midnight Ranter (aka Ayaka)

3 Days, 3 Quotes– Book Tag

Howdy!

How’s everyone? Enjoying the last bits of November? I surely hope so!

So I was tagged by my very lovely friend Dez from @Dez| The Fun In Reading Books. I’m telling you, ladies and gentlemen, this human has one of the best blogs and personalities I’ve had the pleasure of coming across; so do yourself a favour and check her blog out!

So what’s the tag? The rules go as follows:

1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
3. Nominate three new bloggers each day

 

So today’s quote is *drumroll* ….

FullSizeRender 2.jpg

 

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned these two facts but:

a. I take such a pleasure in reading quotes; and I love quotes so much that writing one from my ‘favourites’ list everyday may last a decade and more– it’s that bad, yes.

b. SHERLOCK HOLMES! Oh goodness… if I could just begin to describe my admiration to that classical book series, we’d never see the end of it. And I don’t love it so much just because Benedict Cumberbatch made an epic TV series of it. No sir, it goes way beyond that too.

And that sadly concludes the fangirl session on quotes and being a major Sherlockian. I have a passion for the truth and unmasking lies, so this quote takes the top of my list.

Oh yes, the nominees!

I tag:

  1. TrainOfThoughts 
  2. Birdie BookWorm
  3. ForensicMom 

I wish I could tag everyone all at once, but I guess that’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s post.

 

Know the quote, though? A fellow Sherlockian yourself? Let me know!

Loads of love,

Midnight Ranter (aka Ayaka)

PS. I changed up the blog’s theme– I felt like I needed something more to the immaculate side. What do you think of the new one? 

And Then There Were None– Book Review

Morning readers!

Here’s a little review of something that was quite the challenge for me; hope you like it!

Ten little soldier boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were Nine.

Nine little soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were Eight.

Eight little soldier boys travelling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were Seven.

Seven little soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were Six.

Six little soldier boys playing with a hive;
A bumble bee stung one and then there were Five.

Five little soldier boys going in for law;
One got into chancery and then there were Four.

Four little soldier boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were Three.

Three little soldier boys walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were Two.

Two little soldier boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was One.

One little soldier boy left all alone;
He went and hanged himself

And then there were None.

—Frank Green, 1869

“Books” in general, brim me up with all sort of conflicting emotions. I cry, I laugh, I get angry etc.

But to be honest, not a single book has driven me MAD before. “Mad” as in insane and utterly speechless.

But when you read a novel written by the Queen Of Crime herself, Agatha Christie, you are bound to lose your mind. Especially, if it’s this book.

Ten unrelated people are brought—rather lured— to an island with their host not present; with an excuse of the host being busy whatsoever.

The factor is, they are murdered, one by one, all in an equivalent method mentioned in a nursery poem; and the murderer is not found. They are the only people there and the culprit HAS to be one of them.

What do you say when all 10 pass away then?

Who. Killed. Them?

How?

Why?

All those questions drove me to quite the corner really, but it was intriguing, interesting, wonderfully engaging, and I enjoyed every bit of it. (I even solved the mystery before it was revealed; quite proud! )

The author’s style is not in the least bit shy of wonder. However, you get to fully get to know each and every character, hear their voices and tones clearly and the setting has been described in a way that evidentially projected a very clear image of the place in my head. Honestly, in my opinion, only a few authors can build up a fortress surrounding a case but describing it well enough to give you a chance to hack your way through it; and Agatha Christie has, most definitely, done us, readers, justice in that case.

One of the novels that take the top of my long list of favs.~

Signed,

Midnight Ranter