The Mysterious Affair at Styles (First Edition) by Agatha Christie
The Mysterious Affair at Styles is a book by Agatha Christie (1890-1976). The first edition of this work was published in 1920 by John Lane, America. The first British edition was published by The Bodley Head in 1921. Background
Written in 1916, this was Christie’s first published novel, and apparently the result of a bet that she could not write a detective novel in which the identity of the murderer could not be guessed. It introduced the character of moustached Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, who went on to star in 32 further novels and 51 short stories.
Plot, characters, themes
Set in a vast and isolated stately home, Styles Court, during World War I, the characters include half a dozen suspects who all have something to hide. The plot contains numerous red herrings and plot twists. Hercule Poirot and his friend Lieutenant Hastings investigate and solve a murder committed here.
Agatha Christie is one of the best known and admired crime writers. She is credited with creating definitive characteristics in the style of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.
Notable auction sales and collecting tips
The first edition of Agatha Christie’s first published novel, the book that paved the way for some of the greatest detective fiction ever written, is extremely collectible. It must be noted that the American first edition preceded the British, and is therefore the true first edition. Copies are must more valuable if they retain their original dust-jacket, the better the condition the more valuable, and preferably not price-clipped.
Copies of the first edition (1920 – John Lane) were sold by Christie’s New York for $5,378 and $9,202 in September 2002.
The first British edition (1921 – The Bodley Head) was sold by PBA Galleries for $4,000 in December 2007, and a signed family presentation copy of the same was sold for £10,000 at Sothebys in July 2009.
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