today I’m reviewing three collections of short stories written by the greatest crime fiction writer ever, Agatha Christie. Let’s get started:
Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie
This is a collection of short stories featuring Parker Pyne, a retired government employee who put an advert in a paper that says: “Are you happy? If not, consult Mr Parker Pyne”. His clients have very different problems – there’s the wife whose unhappy because her husband has fallen for another woman, a man who finds his life too boring and predictable and the lady who has stolen a diamond and doesn’t know how to return it for instance – and very different, and suitable to each person’s needs, are the solutions he proposes. However, I’m not a big fan of Parker Pyne as he often resorts to lies, subterfuges and tricks to make people happy. He succeeds indeed but would these people still be happy if they knew how they have been tricked? Most people probably would I guess, but I’m not among them. In the second part of the books, Mr Pyne travels abroad and will encounter murders and crimes he’ll have to solve. Needless to say, I’ve found these stories much more interesting and more to my taste. The writing style is very enjoyable too and the stories well-plotted and full of twists and turns. Overall, it’s a nice read I’d recommend to those interested in a “different” Christie book.
Available at: amazon.com
The Mysterious Mr Quin by Agatha Christie
This is a collection of 12 short stories featuring Mr. Satterthwaite and Mr. Harley Quin. Mr Satterthwait, a keen observer of life and people, is the one who solves the mysteries, but he manages to do so thanks to the guidance and hints given him by Mr Quin, who always manages to mysteirusly turn up at the scene of a crime. No one really knows who Mr Quin is but, by the end of the book, it’s pretty clear that he’s not human. Personally speaking, I’m not a big fan of detective stories with a strong supernatural element in them, which means that Mr Quin’s stories aren’t my favourites. I much prefer those who solve crimes thanks to their little grey cells like Poirot. Personal tastes aside though, the stories are enjoyable, captivating and well-crafted. I’d recommend it to those who like supernatural mysteries.
Available at: Amazon.com
The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie
This is one of my favourite collections of short stories from Agatha Christie. A group of people, including Miss Marple and her newphew Raymond West, meets up to solve crimes. One of them proposes to the others a crime of which they know the solution and the others have to guess whodunnit and why. It seems that at first Miss Marple will be left out, but they then decide to politely include her too and guess who’s gonna solve every single problem? All the stories are very captivating. They hook you in from the start and confuse you with red herrings and unexpected twists, before revealing who the culprit is. They are not too complicated though, probably because of their short length, but still very well-written and crafted. Overall, this book is a fun way to spend a night and, if you invite some friends over, you could propose these crimes to them and see if any of them can come up with the solution!
Available at: Amazon.com
Have you read these books? If so, did you like them?