Excerpt for The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Illustrated) - Adapted for Kids by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

­ The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Illustrated)

Agatha Christie

Adapted for kids aged 9-11 Grades 4-7, Key Stages 2 and 3

by Lazlo Ferran

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

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First Edition

Copyright © 2018 by Lazlo Ferran

Find out more about Lazlo Ferran at:

Other books written by Agatha Christie and adapted by Lazlo Ferran:

The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Adapted For Kids – Large Print

The Mysterious Affair at Styles – For EFL/ESL Level B2 Students

The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Vocabulary Stretcher

The Secret Adversary – Adapted For Kids (UK Edition)

The Secret Adversary – Adapted For Kids (UK Edition)

The Secret Adversary – For Kids (USA Edition) – Large Print

The Secret Adversary – For Kids (UK Edition) – Large Print

The Secret Adversary – Vocabulary Stretcher

(UK Edition)

The Secret Adversary – Vocabulary Stretcher

(USA Edition)

The Secret Adversary – For EFL/ESL Level B2 Students (UK Edition)

The Secret Adversary – for EFL/ESL Level B2 Students (USA Edition)

Chapter 1—I go to Styles

Detective Poirot was an amazing looking, little man. He wasn’t more than five feet, four inches tall, but walked with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always held it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military, and his clothes were always neat. I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound.

“We will arrange the facts,” Poirot would say. “Those of no importance, pouf!”—he screwed up his baby face and puffed out his cheeks in a funny way—“blow them away!”

“That’s good,” I replied, “but how are you going to decide what is important and what isn’t?”

“One fact leads to another. This fact fits with that. Another fact doesn’t fit. We examine. We search. And that little curious fact, that little detail that will not fit, we put it here! No detail is too small.”

As a Belgian detective, he had solved some of the most difficult cases of the day. When he spoke I listened, because I wanted to be a detective too!

So how did I come to work with Poirot on one of the most famous murder cases in England?

I was a soldier and had been wounded in the First World War. After spending a few months recovering in a gloomy hospital, I bumped into my childhood friend, John Cavendish. We had a good chat, and he invited me to spend my rest at his home, Styles Court.

“Mother will be happy to see you again—after all those years,” he added.

“Your mother keeps well?” I asked.

“Oh, yes. I suppose you know that she married again after dad died? Now she is Mrs Emily Inglethorp.”

I was surprised. John’s mother would be seventy by now. I remembered her as a rich and generous woman.

Lawrence, John’s younger brother, had often been sick as a child. He qualified as a doctor but gave it up to become writer, without success. John had become a lawyer but gave it up to live in luxury at the family’s big house in the country. He married two years before and took his wife to live with him at Styles.

John noticed my surprise at the news of his mother’s remarriage and added:

“Her husband is a nasty man too! He’s Eve’s … . Do you remember Eve?”

“Well, she is mother’s assistant now!”

“You were going to say—?”

“Yes. My new stepfather is a cousin of Eve’s. He’s got a big, black beard and wears shiny leather boots all the time! Nobody likes him, except mum. I think he just wants her money!”

It was a still, warm day in early July when I arrived at Styles. As we turned in at the lodge gates, John said:

“I wonder if we’ve time to pick up Cynthia. No, she’ll have started from the hospital by now.”

“Your wife?”

“No, Cynthia is an orphan and poor. My mother came to the rescue, and Cynthia has been with us nearly two years now. She works in the Hospital at Tadminster, seven miles away.”

As he spoke the last words, we stopped in front of the fine old house. A lady in a checked skirt, who was bending over a flower bed, stood up at our approach.

“Hello Eve, here’s our wounded hero! Mr. Hastings. John this is Miss. Eve Howard.”

Eve shook hands with a strong, grip. She had very blue eyes in a sunburnt face. She was a pleasant-looking woman of about forty, with a deep voice and had a large, sensible, square body, with feet in good, thick boots to match. She spoke in short phrases.

“Weeds grow like house fires. Better be careful.”

“Where’s tea to-day—inside or out?” John asked Eve.


Eve led the way round the house to where tea was spread under the shade of a large sycamore.

A figure rose from one of the cane chairs.

“My wife,” said John.

I shall never forget my first sight of Mary Cavendish. She had beautiful, brown eyes that seemed to show a deep calmness. I shall never forget them. She said hello in a clear voice, and we sat down to drink some tea.

A familiar voice floated came from the open glass door nearby. The door swung open and a white-haired, old lady stepped out of it onto the lawn. A man with a big, black beard followed her. The old lady recognised me and said:

“Hello Mr Hastings. This is Alfred, my husband.”

I looked with curiosity at Alfred. His beard was one of the longest and blackest I have ever seen. He wore gold-rimmed glasses, and reminded me of an actor, because his face hid all emotions. His voice was deep but sounded bored:

“This is a pleasure, Mr. Hastings,” he said. Then, turning to the old lady: “Emily dearest, I think that cushion is a bit damp. Have you always been a soldier Mr. Hastings?”

“No, before the war I worked for a bank.”

A young girl in volunteer nursing uniform ran lightly across the lawn.

“Why, Cynthia, you are late to-day. This is Mr. Hastings—Miss Murdoch. She works in a hospital pharmacy, providing medicine.”

Cynthia Murdoch was young and full of life. She had red hair and small, white hands. She sat on the grass and asked me to sit beside her.

I sat down and asked her:

“You work at Tadminster, don’t you, Miss Murdoch?”

She nodded.

“How many people do you poison?” I asked, smiling.

Cynthia smiled too.

“Oh, hundreds!” she said, laughing.

My hostess turned to me and said.

“John will show you your room. Supper is at half-past seven. We are at war, so nothing is wasted here—every scrap of waste paper is saved and sent away in sacks.”

John took me up the broad staircase, which forked right and left half-way to different wings of the building. My room was in the left wing.

John left me, and a few minutes later I was looking out of the window when a very dark man stepped out from the shadow of a tree and walked across the lawn. It was John’s younger brother, Lawrence Cavendish. He looked angry, and I wondered why.

The evening passed pleasantly enough and I dreamed that night of that interesting woman, Mary Cavendish.

The next morning dawned bright and sunny. Mary took me for a charming afternoon walk in the woods. We returned about five. As we entered the large hall, John called us both into the lounge. He looked upset and told us:

“Look here, Mary, Eve’s had a row with Alfred Inglethorp, and she’s leaving.”

“Eve? Leaving?”

John nodded sadly.

“Yes; you see she went to mother, and—Oh,—here’s Eve herself.”

Eve Howard entered. Her lips were set grimly together, and she carried a small suitcase. She looked excited, determined and slightly defensive.

She burst out, “I’ve spoken my mind!”

“My dear Eve,” cried Mary Cavendish, “this can’t be true!”

Miss Howard nodded grimly.

“True enough! I told Mrs. Inglethorp, ‘Emily, you’re an old fool. Alfred’s twenty years younger than you. He married you for money! Well, don’t let him have too much of it. Farmer Raikes has got a very pretty young wife. Just ask Alfred how much time he spends over there.’ Mrs. Inglethorp was very angry. I told her, ‘That man will murder you in your bed one day. He’s bad!’”

“What did she say?”

“She said the sooner I left her house the better, so I’m going.”

“But not now?”

“This minute!”

We were shocked, but we couldn’t change her mind. John went to look up the trains times. His wife, Mary, followed him, saying she would try to persuade Mrs. Inglethorp to apologize.

As she left the room, Miss Howard’s face changed. She leant towards me.

“Mr. Hastings, can I trust you?”

I was a little startled. She laid her hand on my arm and sank her voice to a whisper.

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