Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie

Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie

Parker Pyne is a bit unusual for a Christie detective. He is not a conventional detective, but a person who provides "happiness"; his ad in the paper says: "Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne." He's understands human behaviour, a bit like Miss Marple but with more statistics. With his acquired knowledge, he sets out to sell ‘happiness’ to people, in rather smart and surprising ways. He uses a mixture of fantasy, crime-solving, and psychology to resolve his clients' unhappiness. The stories are initially set in England. The later ones are set in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Iran where Parker Pyne while on holiday keeps finding new clients. I can't say I didn't enjoy Parker Pyne. Some of the stories are quite clever. I didn't love it however. ...
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A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie

A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie

An idyllic village in the English countryside is waking up, its quirky residents about to start their day with their favorite newspaper, where an invitation to murder is waiting for them. "A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6:30 p.m. Friends please accept this, this only intimation." Little Paddocks is the property owned by Miss Letitia Blacklock, a house she lives in with one of her dearest friends, two young cousins, her gardener and her cook. Miss Blacklock, understanding how her village works, feels compelled to have drinks and snacks set out on the date, even though she has no idea what's going on. On Friday, neighbors simply "stop by casually." What everyone assumes is a party game takes a grim turn when a young man winds up dead. With many and differing accounts of the event, Miss Jane Marple arrives on the scene to assist with the investigation. As Miss Marple...
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The Hollow by Agatha Christie

The Hollow by Agatha Christie

Dr. John Christow may be a good doctor, but he is also a bullying, narcissistic man. He seems to be in the midst of a mid-life crisis, takes his anxiety out by hectoring his poor dim-witted but adoring wife Gerda. The Christows head off to a weekend at a country home called The Hollow, owned by Lady Lucy Angkatell. Also visiting are John’s new mistress, a sculptor named Henrietta Savernake (who is also a cousin of Lucy’s). And the neighbor is his ex-fiancée, a beautiful but self-centered actress named Veronica Cray who had left her native England — and John — for Hollywood. And then there's another triangle. The bookish Edward Angkatell, another of Lucy’s cousins, harbors a one-sided love of Henrietta. In turn, a poor relation and fellow guest, Midge Hardcastle, secretly pines for Edward, fully aware of his unrequited love for Henrietta. Lots of wishing and wanting. I have to admit my favorite character, aside from Poirot, was...
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The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit has been on my list to read for a while. I've read a lot of Agatha Christie's, but this is a Colonel Race book, and he has never been my favorite of her characters. Honestly, I should have read it earlier. Anne Beddingfield, our amateur sleuth, is awesome. She's practical, but full of grit and she doesn't frighten easily. She's also a hopeless romantic. Anne was raised by her anthropologist father, a well-known academic but a poor man more wrapped up in the dead than the living. After he dies, Anne refuses a more "suitable" arrangement and determines to find adventure. Then it happens - a man on the train platform near her falls to his death after seeing something that frightens him. The doctor who tends to the man wears a brown suit, and after he leaves hurriedly, Anne has her suspicions as to whether or not he is actually a doctor. She...
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Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

When will these older, wealthy men stop inviting their whole families, most of whom hate them or each other, to Christmas house parties? Simeon Lee is the one who's done it this time. All his children, a grandchild none of the others know, and an old "friend's" son, are at the house for Christmas and of course Simeon Lee ends up dead, killed in a locked room. There are plenty of motives, although how was he killed is a good question. The killer was a surprise to me. I'm not sure we really had enough clues to guess who it was on our own. But it's a good ending. I do love Christie. I also listened to this short story. It's another Christmas only this time, Poirot already knows what the crime was, a stolen gem. It's his job to track it down. But he also learns how enjoyable an English Christmas can be. There's no actual murder in this one, which...
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Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

Jane Wilkinson wants to be rid of her husband, Lord Edgware. She asks Poirot to see him, to convince him to grant her a divorce. At the same time, she talks about how she would go about killing her husband if need be. As the title makes it clear, Lord Edgware does die. Jane, however has an ironclad alibi - but she was also observed at the scene of the crime. As always, Christie gives us several suspects and possible motives and two more dead bodies. She provides us plenty of clues, but also enough red herrings to keep us guessing. This time around we have several characters who are actors, which makes it even more difficult to tell who is lying. The final solution was well done, believable but with a perfect twist. Hastings is our narrator here, and I read the version narrated by Hugh Fraser, which was perfect. Hastings gets made fun of by Poirot for not understanding, but...
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