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Parker Pyne Investigates Mass Market Paperback – July 14, 2002

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Editorial Reviews


'Crimes of the heart were his forte.' Observer

From the Back Cover

Mrs. Packington felt alone, helpless and utterly forlorn. But her life changed when she stumbled upon an advertisement in the Times that read: "Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne."

Equally adept at putting together the fragments of a murder mystery or the pieces of a broken marriage, Mr. Parker Pyne is possibly the world's most unconventional private investigator. Armed with just his intuitive knowledge of human nature, he is an Englishman abroad, traveling the globe to solve and undo crime and misdemeanor.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 14, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312981651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312981655
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,493,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on February 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Just a simple advertisement in the personals column that directs people to Parker Pyne's office. Those that answer the ad are greeted by the efficient Miss Lemon (later to become Poirot's secretary) lead into Mr. Pyne's office and then reveal their troubles - boredom, spousal infidelities, theft or just general discontent for Mr. Pyne and staff to sort out.

THE CASE OF THE MIDDLE-AGED WIFE - A woman's husband has become fascinated with a younger woman and then is made to realize what a fascinating woman his wife is.

THE CASE OF THE DISCONTENTED SOLDIER - A soldier returns to England only to long for the excitement of the frontier.

THE CASE OF THE DISTRESSED LADY - A young woman regrets an indiscretion.

THE CASE OF THE DISCONTENTED HUSBAND - A woman finds her husband boring until another woman doesn't.

THE CASE OF THE CITY CLERK - A civil servant wants out of his rut.

THE CASE OF THE RICH WOMAN - A wealthy woman finds she wants something more, but she just doesn't know what.

HAVE YOU GOT EVERYTHING YOU WANT? - A recently wedded woman has come to find her husband just a bit dull, until Parker Pyne shows her otherwise.

THE GATE OF BAGDAD - Mr. Pyne goes on vacation to the mideast and solves a murder.

THE HOUSE AT SHIRAZ - While on vacation Mr. Pyne solves a case of mistaken identity.

THE PEARL OF PRICE - A jewel disappears - who took it and why?

DEATH ON THE NILE - Awealthy woman dies under mysterious cicumstnaces, was it suicide or did her husband kill her?

THE ORACLE AT DELPHI - While vacationing in Greece Mr. Pyne stumbles upon another case of mistaken identity.

The series of stories is a bit of a departure from Christie's usual detective story. Many of the plots are more like the romances she wrote under the name of Mary Westmacont. On a whole the Parker Pyne stories are rather a forerunner of the FANTASY ISLAND tv series.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed reading the Parker Pyne stories because they focus on both the human angle as well as detective puzzles. The stories start out by being more about love and romance but gradually take on a more serious appearance with Parker Pyne solving complex murders. The most amusing aspect is that Pyne has worked his whole life in a government office compiling statistics, yet is able to apply his knowledge to solving all kinds of puzzles. I definitely liked the Middle Eastern setting in some of the later stories. Christie had traveled extensively in the region with her archaeologist husband Sir Max Mallowan and you can see her love for the region in the stories. A nice alternative to the usual Poirot and Marple fare!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michele L. Worley on February 17, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Parker Pyne isn't an investigator; he's a retired bureaucrat, who has gleaned much insight into human character from working with statistics. His agency advertises "Are you happy? If not, consult me." As he says to one client, "I am a specialist in every kind of human trouble...Human troubles can be classified under a few main heads. There is ill health. There is boredom. There are wives who are in trouble over their husbands. There are husbands who are in trouble over their wives."
And sometimes, he uses the old principle that if you have enough problems, you can make them start solving each other. :) If you like these, particularly the earlier stories, I recommend that you try Chesterton's collection, _The Club of Queer Trades_.
"The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife" - Maria Packington is suffering through what would now be called her husband's mid-life crisis: he's taken up with a pretty young typist at work. (Not an actual affair, but he takes her out to restaurants, gives up golf to take her on the river). Remember, Parker works to cure unhappiness, not to investigate people, so his treatment starts in a novel way: a beauty specialist, a dressmaker, and handsome young Claude Luttrell to introduce Mrs. Packington to London night-life.
"The Case of the Discontented Soldier" - "I can assure you, Major Wilbraham, that 96% of retired empire builders are unhappy. They exchange an active life, a life full of responsibility, a life of possible danger - for what?" After lunching with Madeleine de Sara, the major is pretty well taped by Pyne's staff, and they find a problem suited to his skills.
"The Case of the Distressed Lady" - Daphne St.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker on June 22, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am not a great fan of short stories. However, this one collection i have read many many times over. Parker Payne is a brilliant character. Clever, amusing, great to read about. the way he solves problems and crimes is excellent, and rivals even Poirot and Marple. Indeed, the concept of a detective who solves "problems" (i.e. such as being unhappy) is so astoudingly original in itself.
I absolutely adore this collection. It is not only my favourite collection of short stories ever, it is one of my all time favourite Agatha Christie novels. It ranks, in my opinion, alongside the greats such as "Towards Zero" "Murder Is Easy" and "Death Comes as the End". The stories are so interesting and so incredibly enjoyable. I loved every word of them. Anyone who likes psychology will be fascinated by this excellent collection of stories.
I think my very favourite story is "The Case of the Discontended Husband" which, as well as being my favourite in this collection, is also my favourite short story ever.
These are hugely interesting and wonderfully entertaining. If you are looking for a diverting read and are interesting in human nature, this is definitely the book for you. (Also, watch out for the stories set in foreign parts. Christie excells when she sets her stories abroad.)
It is very unusual that i will give any short story collection any more than a three star rating (at best) as i am not a fan of their form or style, but this is possibly the only exception. It is nothing short of first class.
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