#665: Spoiler Warning – Coming in July: The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) by Agatha Christie + Agatha Cryptic: Poirot Edition

Mysterious Affairs at Styles

We’ve discussed The Eye of Osiris (1911) by R. Austin Freeman in spoiler-rich detail, so it’s time to make new plans.

Well, it’s been 100 years since the publication of Agatha Christie’s debut, and since there’s no Bodies from the Library this year, where else are we gonna get a chance to discuss it?  So, yes, in July there will be posted on here a spoiler-rich deconstruction of The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920).  If you haven’t read it, what more motivation do you need?

Oh, you do need more motivation?  Well, how about the fact that I’m going to be joined in this by Moira of Clothes in Books and — since we couldn’t very well do it without him — Brad of AhSweetMysteryBlogNow you’re interested, eh?  So get reading, and we’ll see you in July for the nerding out.

But wait, there’s more!

With so many GAD bloggers doing their bit to provide distraction in these unsettling times — Puzzle Doctor has lived up to his name, Kate wrote a quiz, John has been foxing us with anagrams, Brad’s writing a novel — I thought it was about time I pulled my weight, and so I’ve written an Agatha Christie-themed crossword. I would have gotten it to you sooner, but I didn’t like the layouts proposed by the various online makers, so had to construct the grid myself.  Here it is:

Agatha Cryptic grid

Pictured: 463 hours’ work

The words are taken from the titles of the 38 novels and short story collections that Dame Agatha wrote featuring M. Hercule Poirot, and the clues are moderately cryptic so as to distract you for hopefully a little bit longer.  It’s not a full-scale cryptic crossword, because I’m not intelligent enough to write one of those, but it is mildly cryptic (I hope…) in the manner that I’ve learned from The Times and its quick cryptic crosswords which have provided me with much distraction and education in recent times.

As it is slightly cryptic, there’s an element of wordplay and trying to look at things in the way that I do in the clues, but I’ve also tried to vary them in difficulty (and have inevitably varied them in quality…), and please don’t get too offended if I’ve contravened any of the rules of crossword clewing: I’d say I’m a rank amateur at this, but I doubt I’m good enough to secure any sort of ranking just yet.

Times QC 1

Taught me everything I think I know…

There are 38 clues, because each book appears once, and just to mix things up I’ve excluded one Poirot book and replaced it with a non-Poirot book.  Can you identify which is missing and which has been substituted in its place?  Click here to download it without the answers included, and here for a version with the answers included on a separate page — good luck!

12 thoughts on “#665: Spoiler Warning – Coming in July: The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) by Agatha Christie + Agatha Cryptic: Poirot Edition

  1. You’re the first to make their quiz downloadable . . . AND it’s Poirot-centric. So while I truly suck at these, I printed it out (twice – I had to tape it together and add the final two lines with pen) and will give it a go. I’m also excited to engage with you and Moira in July, and I’m REALLY excited about your next review of one of my favorite thrillers of all time. I meant to comment on it when you and Aidan spoke about it. It’s just . . . exceptional.

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    • I’ve tried to cater to everyone — some of it is almost whimsically obscure in its thinking, and some will hopefully be pretty obvious if given even a moment’s thought. Hopefully you’ll not hate me too much after doing it and we’ll still be on speaking terms for Styles…

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  2. Many thanks JJ for this enjoyable mental work-out. I managed to recall 36 Poirot titles (and found what had been missed and what had been added) before checking my bookcase, only to find that I’d overlooked one of the most famous GAD books of all time. 7, 15, 21, 22, 30 (especially),and 33 across and 1, 5, and 20 down really good clues.

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    • Good — and quick — work, John, really pleased you enjoyed it. I have a couple of favourite clues includig 9A, 21A, 3D, 4D, and 6D. Was surprisingly enjoyable to make, even wrangling the grid into shape was more enjoyable than frustrating. A Marple/Battle/T&T one may be in the works, and may follow in due course if anyone expresses an interest.

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  3. Styles is a great choice for one of these. I was so surprised by how good it was when I read it, having expected a more amateur first work. I still remember how clever it seemed that Poirot’s quirks actually served purpose in solving the crime.

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    • I remember very little about it, so I’m really looking forward to this second go. Especially as the plan is to have Christie completely read in time for this reread. Knowing where she ends up from this starting point is going to be fascinating, I feel.

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  4. Pingback: Archons of Athens! It’s the Gideon Fell Cryptic Crossword! – Countdown John's Christie Journal

    • Pleased to hear it; I really enjoyed making it, and hope to have the intelligence to come up with a Marple + Beresford (+ maybe Battle) one at some point. Don’t hold your breath for that, though 🙂

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      • Yes please! I forgot to say The Most Important Thing, which was that my name was in the clues!! And, embarrassingly enough, I didn’t solve it via my name but by working out what that answer must be, so I have no idea how the clue worked…. Please enlighten me.

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        • The clue in question is “Moira quietly establishes new location [11]”

          So across “Moira quietly” we have IRAQ, and Iraq is the new name for what place…?

          Ta-daaaa…!!

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  5. Pingback: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1920) – Bedford Bookshelf

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