Student Interest

The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Letter from Mr. Inglethorp

If you have already read the “Mysterious Affair at Styles” by Agatha Christie, you’re in the right place. If not, SPOILER ALERT. With that in mind, we know how Agatha Christie’s book ends, with a great victorious speech given by the genius detective Hercule Poirot revealing all the answers to the murder. However, we don’t hear much of the murderer himself throughout the majority of the book. Here I wrote a letter from Mr. Inglethorp where he reveals the thoughts that went through his mind in the course of the novel. Enjoy!

From: Mr. Inglethorp

To: My Schemes, to Poirot and to Me

There is only one thing. One thing that goes wrong. All different schemes, perfect timings, and shrewd acts. A theatre of deceit. A tasteful run of brisk lies that flow through crime’s deed. Unknown to all those who had witnessed such an unpredictable murder, to all but one man. The Belgian man. The unwritten foreigner of all the characters the murderer had put vividly in his mind. 

 

My last days, wandering around my home filled with clueless people, so clueless the murder could roam among them. Men of all sorts of intellect traced in the blankness of a perfect robbery. Nevertheless, the invasion of our space was not bigger than the curiosity that besieged our thoughts. This murder, I was sure of it, was written in a language that only the murderer could decipher. A scheme done so shrewdly, so admirably faultless. 

 

Every Cavendish in the house pondered in a sea of questions that covered their eyes. I found I could only stand idle with despair in my face and ponder with them. Though I did not know if our brooding sailed the same way. Such a scene was interrupted by the Belgian Man, the so-called Poirot. An interruption I have never found so despicable to my worries. 

 

He approached all of us with a smile on his face and said he calls for a reunion urgently. What an amiable and heroic man, I thought. Some days ago, he had released me from the suspicions of the jury that I was guilty of the murder of my wife, Mrs. Inglethorp. Me being a young man and her being a lady of old age had spurred the ill assumption that I intended to marry her only to inherit her wealth. 

 

We went into the room, sat down, and Poirot started his speech. All his speculations, explanations, and details seemed all to lead to something known to me. He stared at me once in a while as if he was asking me something—a sort of hesitation or awaiting of my speech. 

 

Did I know something? Did he suspect me having a glimpse of the murderer? There was a deadly silence in the room, and abruptly Poirot put a paper in front of us. And I knew I could recognize my handwriting. 

 

Oh, dear! Yes, I did know something. A secret that revolved around the hunted mysteries, and I had written it down. But it was not to be revealed. These knowings I for long had embraced to remain in eternal sleep, and in this way, would bring me infinite wealth. You see, I had written a letter to my partner who worked with me in this business, but I was not able to send it, so I hid it carefully. 

 

He read it aloud, and tiny excerpts jumped in my mind with an echoing voice. “Dearest Evelyn… the old woman.. dead… no one can bring crime to me… stroke of genius….” Perplexity filled the others in the room, but in me roused anger. 

 

And so Poroit. Oh, you stout man. Your time of silence has reached an end. You have kept me in ignorance, so I could not seek to amend your threat. Oh, you cunning man. Tell us then, who was the lad that brought us this mayhem, tell us, at last, the snake that bit my beloved?

 

And so he, Poroit, stated the words that brought with them the sounds of my name. An accusation that to me, my conscience had never pronounced to hold upon me guilty comfort. This truth until now had been so weightless in the generous silence of my thoughts, but now my deeds struck a long averted fright for those words had found me as their culprit.  

 

“Messieurs, mesdames, let me introduce you to the murderer,…..  Mr. Alfred Inglethorp”

 

Yes. Mr. Inglethorp. You had one thing wrong. One thing that went wrong just one, and all your dominoes fell. 

 

Just with that letter, all that I had buttressed had become as fragile as a feather. 

 

The strychnine was hidden in her medicine. No one could have known. I had delicately disguised the poison, dressed it in murderous invisibility. Infalliable were my steps, but so were his. The Belgian man had been the overlooked poison that had been running through the veins of my schemes with just one, just one bite, just one mistake, this unseeable snake had sprung from a ground my sight never set. 

 

Who would have known that the science of venom would desire to embrace itself in my schemes? Only one medicine there is to a true serpent’s vile teeth. Venom, venom Poirot inflicted back to me.

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