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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 25 May 2008
These short stories are brilliant,and some of Agatha Christie's best work,in my opinion,though I do feel that the titles "Parker Pyne Investigates" and "Parker Pyne,Private Eye" are somewhat misleading,as some people may think they are buying a book of detective stories. Actually,Parker Pyne is a retired statistician who has decided to devote the rest of his life to making people happy, (for a fee,of course!) Each story in this book starts with someone who is discontented,for whatever reason,and Mr Pyne's efforts to cheer them up,which are usually inventive and exciting.He has a secretary called Miss Lemon,who I presume goes on to work for Hercule Poirot later,and various actors to help him make people happy,which idea he pursues in a very efficient manner.
I don't think anyone has written tales like these before,and I have read them over and over again. My favourites are The Case of the Discontented Soldier and The Case of the City Clerk, but I enjoy all these feel-good stories,and hope someone out there will decide to give them a go!
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on 12 June 2010
All should read these short stories by Agatha Christie, and I feel it is a shame she never developed and wrote more on Mr. Parker Pyne.
Albeit the stories are set in an era which is dated -naturally- and long forgotten by most. The stories are Fun, Intelligent, and leaves one with a feeling of nostalga and happiness. One has to accept, also, the actions Mr Pyne character got up to would have had him imprisoned and been impossible in todays society, for example see what he did in the "The Case of the Rich Lady", they are perhaps courageous and maybe you feel what should be required today.

I have read the stories several times and they have not failed to keep me interested, also some of them are just the right length to be read on the Tube between Lancaster Gate and Bank station in London. I, also, being rather fat and bald - with a flair for mathematics and statistics - I have great empathy for the character of Mr Parker Pyne. It is nice to know that not all heroes are James Bond.

You just have to read these stories. And if anyone feels TV and Radio have dried in what they can show - Just read a novel and ask "Are you happy? If not consult Mr Parker Pyne, 17 Richmond Street."
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on 7 December 2011
When I first picked up this book which happens to be my first Agatha Christie book, Parker Pyne is a really amazing character which helps each person in a variety of different ways. The short story's are individual yet towards the end all take place through a trip Parker Pyne. Each story is really heartwarming and non of them are similar to any of the others!!!

There's a story about a woman who looses her son which is one of my favourites. Parker Pyne tries to help her get her son back and then there is a massive twist at the end which is really intriguing. Parker Pyne moves around the idea that if you are not happy you should consult him. One thing which I particularly enjoyed was the fact that he only charges people what they can afford. At the start he charged someone a really high amount which made me dislike him slightly yet when a poorer woman turned to him he didn't charge her anything.

He is a very emotional detective finding himself often just helping people because he wants to and goes to great lengths to be able to achieve happiness for other people. I found that in his articles and helping people that's what makes him happy which is why he continues to do what he does. I've found that I really like Christie's detective writing in a small amount of pages and I'm really interested in trying one of her longer novels. There are some amazing twists in just the short pages of each chapter giving the reader excitement at the end of every story making this novel a really fun read!

I would recommend this book to any Christie fan or if you're not sure if you would like her this is a good book to try!!
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If you're expecting this charming collection of short stories to feature a crime in every one you will be disappointed. Some of them DO involve a crime or a mystery but most do not. J Parker Pyne specialises in helping the unhappy, those with problems or those who are just plain bored with the humdrum affairs of everyday life.

He endeavours to reunite husbands and wives who have drifted apart - with mixed results it has to be said. He creates adventures for those who are bored with everyday life and he returns stolen jewels to their rightful owners. Even on holiday he is still approached by the unhappy and the worried and finds himself involved against his better judgement in their affairs.

These are stories about human nature and how contrary our idea of what we really want can be. I found them enjoyable and entertaining reading and was not at all disappointed that they weren't all crime and mystery stories. They show how good a writer Agatha Christie was. If you enjoy the series of stories featuring Mr Quin then you may enjoy the Parker Pyne stories.
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on 1 April 2011
How people can sneer about Agatha Christie and her novels. Whenever I am in need of something that I can just get completely lost in or when I need something cleansing between other reads then she is just the ticket. As `Parker Pyne Investigates' not only does Agatha Christie show that she truly is the master of plots and twists, she also makes short stories look effortless and in this collection, which I wasn't expecting to be a collection at all, she also shows a slightly different side to her mysteries which I found rather interesting.

Parker Pyne is not a detective; in fact the balding, plump middle aged man calls himself a `specialist in matters of the heart' and believes he is a man who can make people happy. Every day he runs an advert in The Times newspaper `Are You Happy? If Not, Consult Mr Parker Pyne' and in the first half of these stories that's just what we read. Unhappy husbands, worried wives, disillusioned rich heiresses, etc pass through Parker Pynes doors and in each case he manages, with his trusty sidekicks `Claude Luttrell was one of the handsomest specimens of lounge-lizard to be found in England. Madeline de Sara was the most seductive of vamps' in the most bizarre ways to make them happy. These might involve sending a bored clerk on an invented adventure murder with Claude or Madeline playing a role, sometimes though accidental adventures take over too. My favourite of this half was `The Case of the Distressed Lady' which saw a story (and at only ten pages I can't say too much on the plot) but it involves three twists none of which I saw coming.

The second half of these tales takes a very different twist as instead of Parker Pyne having the mysteries come to him in his office, the mysteries seem to come to him when he is on random trips abroad. Possibly the most famous short stories of this half of the book is `Death on the Nile' which I thought was a Poirot story, I had no idea it was Parker Pyne. `Death on the Nile' is also one of the few tales in the book that involves murder, in fact if you are after a murder collection best be off with Miss Marple or Poirot really, but interestingly the fact the crimes and cases in this book weren't murders made it really stand out. You have con-artists, cheating spouses, kidnappers and jewel thieves instead and in the second half as I mentioned in destinations such as Egypt, Greece and Bagdad.

It's also a book where you feel Agatha Christie is having fun with the storylines and characters such as the aforementioned Claude and Madeline and Miss Lemon, there's almost a feeling that she had rather a delighted twinkle in the eye as she wrote these. I was very pleasantly surprised by `Parker Pyne Investigates'. I had expected to find a novel with a new detective of Christie's that I had not happened upon before. Instead I got a very mixed array of short stories and crime filled capers that were half domestic mysteries and half mysteries of foreign foes and destinations. All in all this was, as all Christie books are, very enjoyable and yet really rather different from her other books.
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on 16 February 2013
I have read and re-read Miss Marple + Poirot so thought I would try another of her characters.

Mystery yes but also the weaver of dreams is Mr Parker Pyne. Engaging stories, well told (of course), that lead you through the maze gently and dare I say it reverently to their pre-determined outcome. Wondeful!
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on 13 December 2011
At last a Parker Pyne cd - and now we know where Miss Lemon of Poirot tele-fame originated! First class whodunnits without the fluff of Marple, the affectation of Poirot or the prissiness of Tommy and Tuppence.Good length short stories; a new slant on Agatha Christie.
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on 11 March 2015
I enjoyed these stories, although PP is not entirely successful as a character. He claims not to be a detective, but ends up being one after all. I suppose that Ms Christie was experimenting as she often did and trying to create something a bit different. As with anything she wrote that is not her core crime fiction the results can be a bit hit and miss. Don't expect too much and go with it.
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Parker Pyne is one of Agatha Christie's lesser known creations. A rotund, pleasant, retired specialist in statistics, he has a running advert in the Times asking those who are not happy to consult with him. On paper he seems an unlikely hero and, indeed, he does very little in most of the stories but arrange matters. However, he is a wily and bright man with a real understanding of human nature. The stories present problems as simple as a wife unhappy her husband is seeing a younger woman to murder in Baghdad and the locations are part of the joy of this collection - ranging from London and Paris to the more exotic Middle East as Christie sends Mr Pyne off on holiday. Overall, this is a really fun collection and well worth investigating if you want to explore more of Christie's work.
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on 26 November 2005
The premise is good: a retired government statistician helps solve people's life problems with the aid of his good looking staff who bring excitement to the bored, jealousy to the hearts of neglectful husbands. Christie uses locations in the Middle East she knew at first hand. But it's all a bit frothy and disappointing--maybe because the stories have to be so simple and short. PP is not the fully rounded character he could be. If you like these stories (and what's not to like?) you will love her MR QUIN stories, written earlier when she didn't need to churn work out for money. The Quin stories are psychological, have an appealing central character, use interesting locations (Corsica, Madeira) and have genuine depth, poetry, mystery and humour.
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