Parker Pyne Investigates is a collection of short stories.
To describe the leading character as a detective is misleading, although he does do some detecting in a few of the stories, he is mainly concerned with improving the quality of peoples lives.
Parker Pyne advertises in the personal column of a national newspaper, urging people who are not happy to consult him, and amongst the motley collection of men and women who do so, are a neglected wife, a bored ex-soldier and a rich but deeply discontented middle-aged woman.
He undertakes to remedy their frustration and with the help of a small staff, succeeds admirably. (Interestingly, it is in this book that we first meet Mrs Ariadne Oliver and Miss Lemon.)
Shortly after agreeing terms with Pyne, his clients find themselves involved in situations that directly address their problem. For instance, the neglected wife becomes the object of desire of a handsome and sophisticated young man, and the soldier’s courage in the face of considerable danger is put to the test.
The stories are fun, not to be taken too seriously, and I always enjoy re-reading them.
This is Agatha Christie in relaxed mood, I feel. Enjoying herself and not afraid to venture into the realms of unfeasibility.
Having said that, several of the stories are psychologically very sound and the factors that lead to discontent are dealt with in an entertaining but intelligent way.
This is possibly one of Agatha’s lesser-known books, but well worth a read.
You can get hold of the short story collection via the following links.Parker Pyne Investigates