At long last, I was able to begin and finish reading Agatha Christie’s first published novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. This title also introduces Hercule Poirot, Christie’s detective hero, for the first time.
Speaking of “first times”, this is the first detective/mystery novel that I read on my smartphone. Yup, I’m warming up to the idea of e-books and e-book readers. It’s so convenient and not-so-tacky-looking. Thanks to the PDF format of my copy of The Mysterious Affair at Styles and the document reader feature of my smartphone, I was able to finish the novel by reading it everywhere I went. It’s a totally time-efficient option, considering that I’ve had this novel since September 2010! O.o
Since I’m a sucker for 1920s and 30s detective fiction, I went out in search for a good mystery novel, preferably by Agatha Christie. Fortunately, my frequented bookstore had all the latest publications of Christie novels involving Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. I rummaged through the bookshelves with a particular title in mind and fortunately, got hold of the only remaining copy of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
I was very specific of the title in my search because, though I haven’t read it before, I was immediately drawn into it after reading its synopsis on Wikipedia. It’s very unfortunate (and outright shameful that I consulted Wikipedia) that I read the novel’s summary first, before getting to read the full text. The only reason why I did so was because this particular novel was labeled as Christie’s most controversial novel. As I couldn’t wait to get a copy, and because I thought I wouldn’t be able to secure one in my lifetime, I got ahead and went through the summary. After reading it, I felt rotten. I wasted a good surprise and significantly reduced my excitement level for the story. Another lesson learned the hard way.
Among my collection of mystery novels by my most venerated mystery novel writers (Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Marsh’s titles are the ones that I am able to find every so often. I guess it’s because among the three, she is the most unheard of.
So once again, I’ve come over another Marsh novel: Hand in Glove. The story tells of a murder that happened while a social party was ongoing. The victim, Mr. Harold Cartell, a well-known barrister, fell into an excavation hole filled with muddy water; then, somebody let loose an 850-pound drainage pipe over his head. Of course, instant death was inevitable. But who wanted to kill him so badly …and brutally?