Hastings visits an old friend at the Styles, an old house for the family Cavendish. Whilst there he meets his friend John Cavendish, his wife, and a multitude of characters trying to make peace in each other's company. Ultimately, as with every Christie novel, someone dies. Conveniently Poirot is located in the village and owes a debt of gratitude to the departed. The most he can do is solve their murder, right?
I can never tell if I prefer a Poirot book from his perspective or Hastings'. In Poirot's perspective we are able to really see the inner cogs work out whilst he thinks, but with Hastings we are able to see social interactions that Poirot misses by being so engrossed in his own grey cells. This first book of the series comes from Hastings and it is a comfort seeing the established Poirot and Hastings relationship. With friendships in novels I find it usually boring to see them grow so jumping straight in to see an established relationship was refreshing.
Murder mysteries were set in motion by Christie's stories, the group of suspects, our dutiful detective and sidekick. My experience with her other books has been an easily identifiable group of suspects but this one didn't meet that target. As the suspect pool was introduced so quickly in succession with each other I found it difficult to keep track of who was involved in a conversation or even in the room with each scene. This usually meant I was a little bit behind with the developments and was flicking back and forth between pages.
Although there were several characters involved in the murder, which was confusing at first but once I had caught up it was so, clever! Having solved the mystery of the intruder would surely lead to solving the murder, but no! There are multiple devious characters in this story and intertwining their stories is what Christie does best.
Not my favourite Poirot, but definitely not the worst - although, is there a 'worst'?