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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
There is a baffling array of Agatha Chrisite short story collections, with different volumes of different stories published at different times in both Britain and America. This 1991 collection includes eight stories, four of which had not previously been published in Britain. We are treated to two stories featuring Hercule Poirot, a couple of Parker Pyne stories (both of which can be found in Parker Pyne Investigates) and two featuring Mr Satterthwaite and his mysterious friend Mr Quin (which do NOT feature in their main outing The Mysterious Mr Quin). The final two are not mysteries, one a poignant tale about the loss of a pet, the other about lost love. They make a bit of a downbeat ending to a very enjoyable book.

On balance the Poirot stories are perhaps the most successful here, though one of them, "The Second Gong", was rewritten as "Dead Man's Mirror" (found in the collection Murder in the Mews). This earlier version however has different characters, murderer and motive so it can still be enjoyed in its own right even by those familiar with "Dead Man's Mirror".

The inclusion of the Parker Pyne stories seems a little strange considering both are available already, and especially as they were originally Poirot stories. It would have been much more interesting if these earlier Poirot editions had been included instead (the Poirot version of "The Regatta Mystery" was finally published in the heavy tome Hercule Poirot: the Complete Short Stories).

The Satterthwaite/Quin stories also seem to be in the wrong order, with the later story coming first. But no matter these are very enjoyable, particularly "The Harlequin Tea Set", a country house murder mystery that never was. The other story featuring the pair, "The Love Detectives" has glimmers of the Miss Marple story "Murder at the Vicarage", Christie clearly recycling the idea. The Satterthwaite/Quin stories are interesting, with the slightly supernatural theme and their inclusion here adds a little more mystery to the book.

All in all an enjoyable collection, some little known nuggets and with the short story format an easy and interesting read for waiting rooms and rail journeys.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2010
The stories here are little nuggets of human relations, like intellectual puzzles. Like all of Agatha Christie's fiction, they serve up cardboard characters in contained surroundings, but the stories vibrate with truth nevertheless, like parables. The short story format naturally means there is not enough room to develop a twisted plot, but Christie zooms in on simple lives and reveals something complicated and tricky in them. This is not sophisticated psychological realism, but a series of social problems worked through elegantly. If you like Agatha Christie's novels, you'll like these short stories too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a collection of short stories including some featuring Hercule Poirot, a Parker Pyne story and some Mr Satterthwaite and Harley Quinn stories as well as a couple which don't feature any of the author's regular detectives. I particularly enjoyed the Harley Quinn stories as they always have that extra dimension as well as being mysteries.

I particularly enjoyed the last story in the collection `Magnolia Blossom' which caused me to reach for the tissues. It certainly shows human nature in the worst possible light. Apart from that one I also enjoyed `The Harlequin Tea Set' and `The Love Detectives'. This is an interesting collection and could be a good introduction to Agatha Christie's writing for someone who hasn't read anything by her before.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2013
It was a satisfying selection of short stories which Agatha Christie was outstanding at producing. They all have depth and complexity
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2013
Good reading, now I can complete my collection of Agatha Christie's (in the signature edition) and read all the mysterie novels
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2013
Good little collection of short stories! Although the stories are perhaps a bit too short to actually achieve a full mystery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2013
What I'd expected for Agatha Christie crime short stories. I thought they were an easy read, good for taking on holiday.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2013
The stories in the book are not the usual Christie detectives, but they do always solve the crime, if with unusual help.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2015
Great book! A classic to read and enjoy, happened to be at Pollensa Bay for vacation and loved it (the book, I mean).
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on 23 June 2014
Arrived in reasonable time and in good condition. Not what I thought - it's a collection of short stories with poor character development and just as you get into them, they are done. I thought it would be a long novel I could really get into.
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