Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Problem at Pollensa Bay by Agatha Christie

49. Problem at Pollensa Bay
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1991
library book twelve
Nook book 18
finished 9/11/12

This is a perfect book for someone who hasn't read Agatha Christie, and only knows of her as the creator of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. It contains eight short stories which show the range of this great writer. There isn't a Jane Marple story, but Hercule Poirot makes two appearances. We also meet those fellows I've only recently become acquainted with: Mr. Satterthwaite, and Parker Pyne; and the mysterious Harley Quin. There are a couple without any specific detective. Some stories are dark, while others are light. I didn't even know it existed until I saw it available as a downloadable book for my Nook from the state library. I had read a couple of these stories before but most of them were brand new to me.

One of the stories quite surprised me because it had a supernatural feeling to it. This was The Harlequin Tea Set. I had to look up the word 'harlequin.' The only usage I knew it from was the Peter Wimsey mystery Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers.
a mute character in traditional pantomime, typically masked and dressed in a diamond-patterned costume
But in the case of this Agatha Christie story it means
in varied colors
A bit like my Fiestaware dishes, perhaps.

A sharp eye will see that one of Agatha's characters is Mr. Harley Quin, and he is indeed a mysterious character, not mute but nearly so sometimes. His presence alone seems to move a case along. According to the Agatha Christie site:
Harley Quin is a mystery. He appears and disappears unexpectedly and by strange tricks of light and reflections; making his clothes seem brightly multicoloured like the theatrical Harlequin.
The stories in Problem at Pollensa Bay are, in addition to the title one, The Second Gong, Yellow Iris, The Harlequin Tea Set, The Regatta Mystery, The Love Detectives, Next to a Dog, and Magnolia Blossom. Each one has a different feel to it. And because some of you may wonder, the dog does die in the dog story, but he is old, and his death allows a woman to live a better life. This one and Magnolia Blossom were the least appealing to me, but they are still worth reading. A most enjoyable collection.

If you don't know about the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge, please visit Kerrie here. It is a fun way to connect with other fans, and see monthly blog postings about Agatha's books and stories.


  1. Honestly, Nan, I don't remember this collection at all. I do remember Harley Quinn and the others you mentione but not the title of this book AT ALL. And I thought I'd read every Agatha Christie book over the years.

    I have more trouble remembering short stories than I do novels. It's possible I read these and they've just disappeared from my old lady memory.

    At any rate, thanks for the reminder.

    1. I read it wasn't published in the US. More info here:


      I don't think it is just 'old lady' memory. I've heard several people say it is hard to remember her plots. That's one of the reasons I like to keep the blog - I can go back and read just what a book was about.

  2. I have a short sory collection of hers too, but haven't heard of this one. Loved your thoughts as always!

  3. I'm not familiar with this collection, so I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I recently purchased Fiestaware in the new color Flamingo - love it. Your rainbow assortment of mugs are great.

    1. I just went to look at the color! I have something similar, but don't know what it is called. I love these dishes. They cheer me just sitting on the shelf. :<)

  4. I enjoy Agatha Christie's books so much and I am happy to say I have frequently met up with those lesser known characters of hers. Right now I am reading D.E. Stevenson and Angela Thirkell. Restorative in this political campaign season.

    1. Just yesterday I just brought home The Baker's Daughter by DES from the library. :<)

  5. Will need to check out this book- thanks, Nan! I have read a lot of Agatha Christie, but not this one, I think. On the harlequin theme, I was thinking of the Crosby,Stills,Nash and Young song "Helplessly Hoping ...her harlequin hovers nearby awaiting a word..." the mystery of the harlequin. And yes, I can see the harlequin colors in your beautiful Fiesta ware. Connections.
    Thanks for an interesting post,

    1. Thank you for reminding me of the song. I have it on right now!! What harmony. So beautiful.

  6. Ooh! Thanks for the additional definition of "harlequin!"


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