Just ahead of our ongoing Tale for Our Time, if you're one of that brave band who prefer me in visual formats, do check out this weekend's Mark Steyn Show from GB News.
Meanwhile, David Wilson, a First Weekend Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from California, writes:
My local newspaper, The Los Angeles Daily News, reports today (Sunday) that The Mysterious Affair at Styles is #8 on the SoCal Indie Bestseller List for Mass Market Paperbacks. The Steyn Club is HUGE!
Well, we do have a lot of members in Southern California, David, so I'm happy to be the Hitmaker of San Bernardino. Eat your heart out, Oprah.
And, on that note, welcome to Part Fifteen of Agatha Christie's first completed novel. I said when we started that what I particularly liked about The Mysterious Affair at Styles is its unusually strong sense of time and place: Dame Agatha is so endlessly adapted that everything seems to take place in an increasingly unspecific village England somewhere in the foggy blur of the 'tween-wars era. But that was not the case when she started out. In tonight's episode we confront what was, in 1916, a topic of the moment. Captain Hastings is surprised that Hercule Poirot is not aware of Scotland Yard's latest arrest:
"Did you not know it?"
"Not the least in the world." But, pausing a moment, he added: "Still, it does not surprise me. After all, we are only four miles from the coast."
"The coast?" I asked, puzzled. "What has that got to do with it?"
Poirot shrugged his shoulders.
"Surely, it is obvious!"
"Not to me. No doubt I am very dense, but I cannot see what the proximity of the coast has got to do with the murder of Mrs. Inglethorp."
"Nothing at all, of course," replied Poirot, smiling...
"But he is arrested."
"Oh, yes, very likely. But for espionage, mon ami."
"Espionage?" I gasped.
They took spies more seriously than we do in an age when Congressman Eric Shagdwell can be penetrated by Fang Fang and still hold onto his seat. In the Great War, German espionage agents were taken to the Tower of London and shot by firing squad.
If you've a friend who's a fan of classic literature and you want to give him or her a present with a difference, we hope you'll consider a one-year gift membership in The Mark Steyn Club. The lucky recipient will enjoy full access to our back catalogue of audio adventures and video poems - Conrad and Conan Doyle, Orwell and Orczy, Kipling and Kafka, and all the rest - which should keep you going until the next variant arrives, or at least until the Year Zero crowd has had all the books banned. For more details, see here.
Through the hell of 2021, our nightly audio adventure goes on, so do join me right back here tomorrow for The Mysterious Affair at Styles Part Sixteen.