“Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne.”
This eye-catching advertisement brings countless troubles, both large and small, to Parker Pyne’s doorstep. The retired statistician claims to have a scientific solution to any kind of unhappiness. The cases collected in this volume certainly run the gamut, from simple boredom all the way to murder. The first six stories are more lightweight and do not typically involve crime, though it is interesting over the course of the stories to learn more about Pyne’s methods and his unorthodox office procedures. The rest are more unified, following Pyne as he journeys throughout Europe and the Middle East, encountering serious crimes as he goes. These last six stories are uniformly high in quality and double as a fascinating vintage travelogue. Continue reading “Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie (1934)”
“It’s very easy to kill, so long as no one suspects you. And, you see, the person in question is just the last person anyone would suspect.”
Luke Fitzwilliam is amused that the sweet old lady sharing his train compartment believes that a serial killer is operating in her village. “A vivid imagination, that’s all,” he thinks indulgently. “Rather an old dear.” It becomes much less funny the next morning, when he reads that she was killed by a hit-and-run driver on her way to Scotland Yard. Could Miss Fullerton’s suspicions have been correct?
To find out, Luke must infiltrate a quiet village and probe its deepest secrets, without rousing the suspicions of a murderer who finds it all too easy to kill. Continue reading “Murder Is Easy (1939) by Agatha Christie”
“Blood and blue water—like the jacket of a detective story. Fantastic, unreal. The sort of thing that doesn’t happen to oneself.”
All the usual guests are confirmed for Lucy Angkatell’s house party. Her cousins, Midge and Edward, will be there. So will the brilliant doctor John Christow and his dull, plodding wife Gerda. And so will Lucy’s other cousin, Henrietta Savernake, a sculptor whose beauty and intelligence have placed her at the center of two separate love triangles.
There’s no reason to expect this weekend to be different from countless others, but an uninvited guest is about to crash the party: murder. The stage is set for a crime of passion quite unlike anything else in Agatha Christie’s ouevre. Continue reading “The Hollow (1946) by Agatha Christie”
“It’s a crime we’ve got to solve. Go back to the past to solve it—to where it happened and why it happened. That’s a thing we’ve never tried to do before.”
Tommy and Tuppence Beresford may be over seventy, but it’s never too late for adventure. Much to Tuppence’s delight, their new house comes complete with a collection of vintage children’s books. More than nostalgia lurks within these pages, however. One of these seemingly innocent volumes contains a hidden message: “Mary Jordan did not die naturally. It was one of us. I think I know which.”
Who is Mary Jordan? How did she really die? The solution to this decades-old mystery may be very close to home. Yet, even after all these years, someone wants the fate of Mary Jordan to remain a secret. Continue reading “Postern of Fate (1973) by Agatha Christie”
“It is romantic, yes,” agreed Hercule Poirot. “It is peaceful. The sun shines. The sea is blue. But you forget, Miss Brewster, there is evil everywhere under the sun.”
Once, long ago, pirates and smugglers roamed this section of the Devon coast. Today, the island is home to the Jolly Roger Hotel, where a very different sort of piracy seems to be taking place. The hotel is abuzz over the apparent romance between former actress Arlena Marshall and Patrick Redfern, a handsome younger man. Three guests are especially worried by the gossip. Two of them are the lovers’ spouses, Kenneth Marshall and Christine Redfern. The third is Hercule Poirot.
Such an explosive situation is bound to ignite. One morning, Arlena is found sunbathing on an isolated beach, her usual habit. The only difference is that this time, Arlena is dead. Continue reading “Evil Under the Sun (1941) by Agatha Christie”
“I am afraid,” he said simply. “Yes, I Hercule Poirot, am afraid.”
Heiress Linnet Ridgeway has everything. She’s beautiful, rich, and completely independent. When she meets handsome Simon Doyle, her happiness is complete. The fact that Simon is engaged to her friend Jacqueline de Bellefort is surely just a technicality. Jackie doesn’t see it that way, however. She devotes herself to making the couple miserable, trailing them wherever they go.
As Linnet confides to Hercule Poirot, the newlyweds hope that a Nile cruise will help them escape Jacqueline. But Jacqueline isn’t the only one who might be dangerous to them. Someone like Linnet, who has so much of everything and takes it all for granted, provokes strong reactions. In the shadow of ancient temples, death has never been nearer, leading to a shocking crime. It won’t be easy for even the great Poirot to uncover a shipload of deadly secrets. Continue reading “Death on the Nile (1937) by Agatha Christie”
“When planning a murder never depend upon a woman doing what she says she’ll do.”
As a famous actress, Jane Wilkinson is used to being the center of attention. But this time, she’s the one seeking an audience with a celebrity, master detective Hercule Poirot. Her request is simple: “M. Poirot, somehow or other I’ve just got to get rid of my husband!” Continue reading “Lord Edgware Dies (1933) by Agatha Christie”
“Nothing could be more agreeable than a juicy English apple—And yet here were apples mixed up with broomsticks, and witches, and old-fashioned folklore, and a murdered child.”
Everyone in Woodleigh Common agrees that Joyce Reynolds is not a nice little girl. So when she brags of having witnessed a murder, fellow guests at the Halloween party dismiss it as another of her tall tales. All except one—the murderer. By the end of the evening, young Joyce is dead, drowned while bobbing for apples.
Unfortunately for the killer, detective novelist Ariadne Oliver is also at the party. Soon her friend Hercule Poirot is on the case. What he finds is a perfect-looking community that is seething with dark secrets, a shiny red apple full of worms.
Continue reading “Hallowe’en Party (1969) by Agatha Christie”
“An affair like this is like a jigsaw puzzle. As soon as you get the first few pieces put together, the rest fall into their places quite naturally.”
No one likes Victor Harleston, least of all his sister Janet, who is desperate to escape his control. So when Victor drops dead during a breakfast prepared by Janet, Scotland Yard naturally takes an interest. Poison in the teapot and a bottle of deadly nicotine in Janet’s bedroom appear to make this an open and shut case.
Yet somehow it all looks a little too easy for Superintendent Haslet’s liking. A second murder seems to prove his instincts correct. Along with Inspector Jimmy Waghorn and the brilliant amateur detective Dr Priestley, Haslet must learn how very deceiving appearances can be.
Continue reading “Death at Breakfast (1936) by John Rhode”
“Like to see the picture of a murderer?”
Miss Marple’s nephew was very kind to send her to the West Indies. And it’s very pleasant to sit on the beach, beneath swaying palms. But isn’t it maybe just a tiny bit…dull?
Even when a fellow guest’s stories turn to murder, her attention wanders. Something about a man whose wife died after a previous suicide attempt; very sad, except that it had happened to him before, under another name. Major Palgrave even has a photograph of the man. Then he catches sight of someone over Miss Marple’s shoulder and hastily changes the subject, shoving the unseen snapshot back into his wallet.
Miss Marple wouldn’t have thought anything of it. Except that Major Palgrave dies that night. And the photograph has disappeared.
Continue reading “A Caribbean Mystery (1964) by Agatha Christie”