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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The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah resurrects Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot in this, her latest addition to the series. I read the first of her Poirot books and was under-impressed, but for whatever reason, decided to give them another chance. This, her 3rd in the series, was surprisingly enjoyable. This is not Agatha Christie's Poirot, but he has his eccentricities and peculiarities. He's self-consciously Poirot, but he was entertaining and intelligent. Poirot returns home after lunch to be confronted by an outraged Sylvia Rule, angry that she has received a letter from him accusing her of murdering Barnaby Pandy and urging her to confess. It turns out that three more seemingly unrelated people, Annabel Treadway, John McCrodden, and Hugo Dockerill, each received the same letter. Poirot is baffled as he wrote none of the letters. Poirot is intrigued and can't help looking into Pandy's death, an accidental drowning in his bath. Was it actually murder? If so, is one of the letter-receivers guilty? Poirot...
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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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Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Moonflower Murders is the sequel to Magpie Murders, although I think it would work well as a stand alone. Once again we have a book within the book, and the return of publisher/amateur sleuth, Susan Ryeland. After the fallout from the last book, Susan is no longer working in publishing and is instead jointly owning and running a hotel in Crete with her long term Greek boyfriend, Andreas Patakis. A hotel is hard work day in and day out, with never-ending problems, and lots of debt. The truth is that she is missing England and her former profession as an editor. So when Susan is approached by wealthy couple, Lawrence and Pauline Trehearne, to return to England and stay at the exclusive Branlow Hotel in order to look into the disappearance of their daughter, Cecily, it feels like just what she needs to do- and she'll be getting paid. Eight years ago, a hotel guest had been brutally hammered to...
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The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I really wish blurbs would stop comparing book to Agatha Christie's. Lucy Foley is not Agatha Christie and her book really has little similarities to Christie's except a dead body. We don't have a detective, amateur or otherwise. This isn't even a traditional mystery, more of a psychological thriller. I think the comparison is misleading and not fair to Foley. The Guest List alternates between many points of view, with a different narrator for each. Usually, I'm not a fan of multiple narrators but it works well here. We have the bride, the groom, the best man, the plus one, the wedding planner, and the bridesmaid. We know something bad has happened but we don't know exactly what or who got hurt. The timeline also jumps back and forth between the past, two days before the wedding, to the chaotic wedding day in the present. Details are revealed slowly. The tension just keeps building as we learn the characters' fears, secrets,...
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