Thursday, May 3, 2012

Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie




22. Parker Pyne Investigates - short story collection
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1934
library book three
Nook book 5
finished 4/15/12


What if you were looking through the newspaper and happened upon an ad which said:
Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne.
This is the premise for Agatha Christie's collection of most delightful short stories. Delightful? Yes, really. No terrible crimes. Just a large, retired man who wants to help people. He tells a client that
Theft and crime are not in my line at all. The human heart is my province.
One of his 'greatest assets' is his 'sympathetic manner' which puts clients at ease when they come to him. There are operatives who help in the work, including Ariadne Oliver who is first introduced in this book. Miss Lemon who later works for Hercule Poirot also makes her first appearance. And then there are the 'lounge lizard' and the sultry beauty who pretend to be various persons to aid Mr. Pyne in little dramas he stages. Even though I knew he employed them, I was often surprised when their identities were revealed at the end of a story. The first few involve clients who visit Parker Pyne's office, while the second batch of stories deal with people he helps while on vacation.

In her foreword to the stories, Agatha tells us which ones are her favorites, and where she got her inspiration for one of them - The Case of the Rich Woman. Agatha was looking into a shop window some years before when a woman came up and said:
I'd like to know what to do with all the money I've got. I'm too seasick for a yacht - I've got a couple of cars and three fur coats - and too much rich food fair turns my stomach.
When a 'startled' Agatha suggests, 'hospitals,' the woman replies that she doesn't want 'charity. I want my money's worth.'

And thus a story brews in an author's mind.

It makes me smile just thinking back upon these stories. Pure pleasure. Highly recommended.

18 comments:

  1. Dear Nan,
    I love Agatha Christie. And I love your book review here.
    I really wouldn't mind someone finding this book for Mother's Day for me! HINT HINT TO MY SON.
    I just did a book review as a post on my blog yesterday. I rarely do book reviews. If you read it, you will see why that is so. They are hard to write! Too little, and it doesn't make sense...too much and your have given too much away! How do you strike the perfect balance?
    Hope you are doing well these days.
    Love,
    Kay

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    1. You did a wonderful job! There is no single way - every blogger I read writes in a different fashion. But I agree. They are hard to write, sometimes more than other times.

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  2. There's something so refreshing about Christie's writing. While she writes of crime and murder somehow it isn't sick and twisted as I've found DuMaurier's to often be. Glad to know of this collection, Nan.

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    1. Sick and twisted is not for me. If I squirm when I'm reading something, it is not for me. This book is the sweetest of AC's I've read. She was a genius, I really believe.

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  3. I have this on audio and enjoy listening to it while I'm ironing:)

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    1. Ah, ironing. I did that once or twice. Gave it up. :<)

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  4. An Agatha Christie I've never heard of! This is what I love about blogging!

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  5. Pure Pleasure?? Love that idea and so going to read these!! Fabulous review!

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    1. She is so versatile. These stories were very light-hearted.

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  6. I loved these short stories too Nan. Thanks for adding it to Blog Carnival for May.

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  7. Thanks for the -as always- wonderful post. I just ordered this for my Kindle. I love your blog!
    Mary

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  8. Amazing, I didn't even know about Parker Pyne. Off to my Kindle this minute. thank you Nan.

    I'm catching up after being away for a while -- enjoyed the links to the recipes in your cozy review above...yummy stuff there. Those are REAL recipes (even if the author makes up a bird species).

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    1. I think you'll love this one. They sure are real! They all sound so good.

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  9. I love Pyne's ad, and the way he finds intricate solutions for his clients dilemmas. The one that sticks in my head is the ordinary suburban man who wanted adventure... Oh, and the woman who thought she wanted an affair...

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  10. They really are such fun stories. That Agatha can do anything!

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