Title: Parker Pyne Investigates
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: MysteryA collection of short stories featuring the ‘heart specialist’, Parker Pyne. Mrs Packington felt alone, helpless and utterly forlorn. But her life changed when she stumbled upon an advertisement in The Times which read: ‘ARE YOU UNHAPPY? IF NOT, CONSULT MR PARKER PYNE’. Equally adept at putting together the pieces of a marriage or the fragments of a murder mystery, Mr Parker Pyne was possibly the world’s most unconventional private eye — and certainly its most charming.
As you may have heard, I participated in the Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-thon last weekend, and that’s when I managed to pick up and read this book. When I read the back cover and saw that it’s a collection of short stories, I wasn’t entirely sure I would like it, but I was wrong, it worked.
Parker Pyne is an ordinary Englishman – he was working in a government office, compiling statistics for thirty five years before he retired and started his own business. After retirement, he wanted to put his experience to good use that’s why he started giving advice. His advertisement appears in the papers everyday, saying
“Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne”. Whether people are looking for someone to fix their marriage or someone to solve a murder mystery, Parker Pyne is always there to help them. He’s a very likeable character which makes the book even better.
The book consists of 14 short stories and an author’s foreword part, where Christie tells the readers what inspired her to write them and which two of these stories are her favourite. The first couple of stories deal with personal affairs – a woman whose marriage is in pieces, a retired soldier and an office clerk’s case, both looking for some excitement in their lives, a distressed lady who stole a diamond ring from one of her friends and a rich woman who doesn’t know how or where to spend her money. The second half of the book includes mysteries – stolen jewellery, murder, and poisoning. Maybe this is why I preferred the second part.
All in all, it’s a great, witty and very well written book – once again, Christie proves how amazing her stories are because even though I don’t like short stories, I really enjoyed this book. If you have a copy but haven’t read it yet or if you want to read it in the future, look out for The Case of the Discontented Soldier and Death on the Nile – these two were my absolute favourites.