The Secret Adversary Tommy and Tuppence, two young people short of money
and restless for excitement, embark on a daring business scheme - Young Adventurers Ltd.
Their advertisement says they are willing to
do anything, go anywhere. But their first assignment, for the sinister Mr
Whittington, plunges them into more danger than they ever imagined...
An appealing cocktail of comedy and adventure
featuring the world's most unlikely detectives.
Paperback - Pan (1954)
The Mysterious Affair at Styles See Review by
- creator of the highly acclaimed, Liverpool based Harry Devlin Mysteries THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES was Agatha
Christie's first detective-story-and it introduced Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie's vast
public will understand after reading this tale why the charming, courteous little Belgian
with his egg-shaped head and impressive moustache has become the best-known detective of
fiction since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes.
Poirot is with several Belgian refugees who are in
an Essex village as guests of Mrs Inglethorp, owner of Styles Court. This old lady has
recently - and rather surprisingly - married for the second time, and her
black-bearded husband (many years younger than she is) is heartily disliked by her two
stepsons, John and Laurence Cavendish. John's wife, Mary, is friendly with Dr Bauerstein,
a sinister-looking London
specialist who is an expert on poisons and who is recuperating from a nervous breakdown. A
strange atmosphere of tension pervades Styles Court. Mrs lnglethorp is agitated. She
retires to her room one evening, and her husband takes a cup of coffee to her. During the
night she becomes ill and dies from strychnine poisoning. Poirot is summoned. He finds
curious clues - crushed fragments of a coffee-cup, a stain on the floor, a few threads of
a dark green fabric, a small piece of half-charred paper which appears to be part of a
will, and an old envelope with the word 'possessed' written on it several times-spelt
first incorrectly and then correctly. As Poirot pursues his inquiries, the case grows more
and more complicated; but finally an innocent person is saved from the gallows and the
murderer is revealed by a brilliant piece of guesswork on Poirot's part.
Agatha Christie's technique is superb. she never
cheats, though she admits that she sometimes says "things that can be taken two ways."