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The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories Hardcover – April 14, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (April 14, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399142878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399142871
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA. These nine short stories, never before published in the U.S., offer a variety of mysterious doings, intriguing characters, and odd circumstances. Christie's complex plots, her historical and moral perspectives, and her strong interest in human psychology are the major factors setting the tone of these selections. "The Harlequin Tea Set" weaves psychological drama with a ghost story, creating a surreal atmosphere and an extraordinary ending. Several of the stories, while interesting, are familiar in plot and character and offer no real surprises. "The Lonely God" is a love story typical of the sentimental writing of the period. "Manx Gold" is a grand adventure with several murders spicing up the plot. Christie captures cultural and period details in a way that readers can easily assimilate, making these stories time-capsule views of life during the first third of this century. This collection continues to substantiate the author's ability to create imaginative plots and characters, proving that really good writing remains readable for countless years.?Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This welcome collection contains nine stories, most of which were published only in British newspapers and magazines during the 1920s. Hercule Poirot and Harley Quin make appearances, as do more "normal" people dealing with murder.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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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I recommend to her fans.
Brenda
The Harlequin Tea Set is truly a colorful experience; one which can mesmerize and provide insight as intensly as any psychological thriller.
Haleyme@msn.com
I just love all the stories in this book; they leave you in suspense and it's difficult to put it down once you start reading.
Vivianne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michele L. Worley on November 30, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most of the stories herein have not appeared in previous collections after their original magazine publications; apart from the "The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" and the title story, none feature any of Christie's stable of recurring characters.
Jack Leavitt makes the mistake of trying to blackmail "The Actress" (1923, Novel). 'Olga Stormer' - formerly Nancy Taylor - is *very* quick-witted, and came up through a tough school. She remembers Leavitt - and intends to turn the tables on the lever of his cowardice.
"While the Light Lasts" (1923, Novel) (The use of language at the beginning of the story is unintentionally funny - the phrase 'boy lover', for instance.) George Crozier has never properly understood that Deirdre broke their engagement to marry Tim Nugent for love, but married *him* for the material comforts he offered her, after Tim died in WWI. During their visit to one of George's business interests in Rhodesia, Deirdre notes a text on her dowdy hostess' wall that, of course, doesn't apply to her: 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?'
Alan Everard's little daughter asks him a riddle: '"Within a Wall" (1925, Royal) as white as milk, within a curtain soft as silk, bathed in a sea of crystal clear, a golden apple doth appear.' He absently answers 'your mother' - Isobel, the penniless society beauty who married him, a genius painter, rather than a wealthy man. But she has a taste for the good life, and a certain cold calculation...(The 'correct' answer is 'an egg', incidentally.)
"The Lonely God" (1926, Royal) really *is* a god - a small, forgotten idol, head in his hands, on a shelf in the British museum, without even a plaque bespeaking his name or country of origin.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Muse From Afar on August 3, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If good ol' Agatha Christie murder mysteries are what you after, this isn't the collection for you. Without a doubt, each of them are intriguing, and thrilling at times, but they were lacking in what I've come to expect from the "Queen of Crime." Harlequin Tea Set is an anthology of rare Christie short stories, perfect for an avid collector. Not so good for me, I think.

Not to say that I truly disliked any of the stories. But when you're a die-hard murder mystery addict like I am, stories of love, betrayal,and the like aren't what you want coming from Christie. My favorite was the only true murder mystery, with none other than Hercule Poirot: The Mystery of the Spanish Chest.

Enough of my ranting. By no means am I trying to dissuade whichever poor soul may read my review--I only want to prepare you for what lies behind the colorful cover of Harlequin Tea Set (and Other Stories).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I dont believe this is Agatha Christie's best work, yet, it has a different taste to it that is quite interesting. in these short stories, it mysteriously analyzes the psychology of human nature. indeed, this book was very enjoyable.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on April 21, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you are the type of Agatha Christie fan who collects everything she ever wrote, "The Harlequin Tea Set" will be a cause for celebration. Six of the nine stories originally appeared in magazines and have never been collected before. I would say Dame Agatha made a wise decision to let these little critters languish between magazine covers.
Most of the stories were written very early in her career and have a girlishly romantic flavor with almost no mystery. The one Hercule Poirot tale "The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" is a fair puzzle, but she enlarged on the theme more successfully in the full-length "Baghdad Chest." The will-o'-the wisp, Mr. Harley Quin, one of my least favorite Christie characters, appears in the title piece with a very elderly Mr. Satterhwaite.
To savor Dame Agatha's really fine abilities as a short story writer, may I suggest the excellent "The Thirteen Problems." Give this one a pass.
-sweetmolly-Amazon Reviewer
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brenda VINE VOICE on July 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Any Christie fan that needs a quick fix, but doesn't have time to read a complete novel, will enjoy this anthology. The short stories in this anthology have been discovered more than twenty years after Dame Christie's passing. I enjoyed each one of them, but I did find a couple darker than usually, The House of Dreams being one. Manx Gold was too detailed for me; I just couldn't stay with it. Mystery of the Spanish Chest has Poirot examining the motives of a killer. The Edge, another slightly dark one, has a woman deciding whether to follow her heart or her conscience. In the last story, The Harlequin Tea Set, a gentleman runs in to Mr. Harley Quin, who helps him save a family from harm.
I carried this one around for a long time. It kept me company when I found myself stuck somewhere with nothing to do. In essence, I feel I discovered something new in Ms. Christie's work and was thrilled to have the opportunity. I recommend to her fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 6, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This is a special collection of short stories by the great Agatha
Christie, written during her early years. The stories were predominantly
sold to the British pulp magazines and have been "forgotten" about for over a
half of century because they were overwhelmed by Ms. Christie's later work.
The tales range from pure mysteries to gothics and romantic suspense,
demonstrating the vast range and depth of one of the great legends of English
literature.
..... Eight of the nine tales have not been published in the United States,
while the ninth, "The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" was released in 1939.
For fans of Ms. Christie this is a great book that must read. Some of her
more famous detectives, Hercule Poirot and Harley Quin appear as well as some
of her lesser known sleuths. This reviewer's personal favorite is "The Edge"
in which Clare Halliwell has to decide between her secret love for Sir Gerald
Lee, a married man, and the incriminating evidence that proves his wife is
cuckolding him. All the stories are actually fun to read for Ms. Christie's
fans and anyone who enjoys a short story mystery collection.

.....Harriet Klausner
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