Welcome to the latest in our series of audio adventures, Tales for Our Time. This month's pick is Agatha Christie's first published novel, and the debut of Hercule Poirot, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. I thank you for your kind words about our opening episodes, and our Tales in general. Maggie, a Pennsylvania member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes:
Nancy Hawkes rightly praises Mark's acting skills as heard in Northanger Abbey. Let me add that there was one episode in particular (I don't know which) where I thought his representation of a teenaged girl in emotional distress was truly uncanny. One could almost see the tear-streaked face and feel the suppressed sobs. Bravo particularly for that scene, Mark.
Many were introduced to Austen through Northanger Abbey. I am eager for my introduction to Dame Agatha starting right now.
Too kind, Maggie - although I'd have to say, emotional distress-wise, the torture scenes in Nineteen Eighty-Four came out pretty well.
In tonight's episode of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, we have reached the moment when Hastings' "premonition of evil" is fulfilled. You might find the plan of the first floor of Styles at top right a helpful guide (the inclusion of such was a feature of the Golden Age of country-house murder):
The servants' rooms are reached through at the top of the stairs to the left wing. They have no communication with the right wing, where the Inglethorps' rooms were situated.
It seemed to be the middle of the night when I was awakened by Lawrence Cavendish. He had a candle in his hand, and the agitation of his face told me at once that something was seriously wrong.
"What's the matter?" I asked, sitting up in bed, and trying to collect my scattered thoughts.
"We are afraid my mother is very ill. She seems to be having some kind of fit. Unfortunately she has locked herself in..."
And so it begins.
If you have friends who might appreciate The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Northanger Abbey, Nineteen Eighty-Four or our other tales, we have a special Steyn Club Gift Membership that lets them in on that and on all the other fun in The Mark Steyn Club.
If you've only joined the Steyn Club in recent days and missed our earlier serials (Conan Doyle's The Tragedy of the Korosko, Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel, Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda, plus Kipling, Kafka, Dickens, Gogol, Louisa May Alcott, P G Wodehouse, H G Wells, Scott Fitzgerald and more), you can find them all on our easy-to-access Netflix-style Tales for Our Time home page. Indeed, it's so easy to access that we've introduced a similar format for the audio editions of The Mark Steyn Show.
The Mark Steyn Club is now in its fifth year, and helps keep all our regular content - whether in print, audio or video - out there in the world for everyone. In return, membership confers, aside from Tales for Our Time, a few other benefits:
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly, such as next week's;
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Mark's Mailbox, and our other video content;
~My video series of classic poetry;
~Booking for special members-only events such as The Mark Steyn Christmas Show (if live stage shows are ever decriminalized);
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world, assuming any such things ever take place again;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the opportunity to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and please join me tomorrow for Part Four of The Mysterious Affair at Styles.