Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective by Agatha Christie (review by Andrew R. ’17)

Mr. Parker Pyne, DetectiveMr. Parker Pyne, Detective by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In this collection of short stories featuring Parker Pyne, one of Christie’s lesser-known detectives, various customers answer a mysterious ad in the newspaper: “Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne, 17 Richmond Street.” After solving a number of cases with ease (and suffering one embarrassing defeat), he goes on a long trip around the Mediterranean, encountering a mad noblewoman, an impoverished archaeologist, and—of course—a few murders. Mr. Pyne proves to be a complex character, but his motives remain unclear throughout the collection. Why, exactly, does he consent to help such a wide range of customers? Why does one story portray him as generous and kind, when in the next he shows a total lack of empathy? And how has he come to understand the human mind so fully that he can predict a crime before it even occurs? A full-length novel, perhaps, could answer these questions, but the short story format just left me wanting more details. Nevertheless, any fan of Christie’s novels should read this collection and meet the mysterious, calculating man known as Mr. Parker Pyne. – Andrew R. ‘17

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