22 February 2012

Review: THE HARLEQUIN TEA SET AND OTHER STORIES, Agatha Christie

  • Published G.P. Putnam & Sons, New York
  • ISBN 0-399-14287-8
  • 281 pages
  • Source: my local library
Although I knew that THE HARLEQUIN TEA SET was a collection of 9 short stories published in 1997 in the US and Canada, I had not expected to find that I had read them all.
All except The Harlequin Tea Set were published in While the Light Lasts which was also published in the UK in 1997.
I read The Harlequin Tea Set in Problem at Pollensa Bay publ. 1991

The stories are

The Edge
Published in 1926.
Claire Halliwell lives a quiet country life with her dogs.  A conscientious and popular parish worker, she takes everything in her stride even when Sir Gerald Lee, the man she loves, marries Vivien a glamorous city girl.  When Claire learns that Vivien is having an affair, her sense of duty to Gerald is stretched to the limit!

The Actress
Published in 1923
(aka A Trap for the Unwary) Jake Levitt can’t believe his luck when one evening at the theatre he recognises the lead actress as Nancy Taylor, a girl he knows a lot about. A story of blackmail and murder ensue!

While the Light Lasts
Published in 1924
In the excruciating heat of the African sun George Crozier is travelling with his new wife, Deidre.  They have not been married long and George is aware his wife’s thoughts are with her first husband who was killed in this part of Africa during the war.  In this hauntingly beautiful tale, Deidre is forced to confront the reality of her circumstances: “While the light lasts I shall remember, and in the darkness I shall not forget”.

The House of Dreams
Published in 1926
John Seagrove, a young city clerk, awakes early one morning in his London bedsit desperately clinging to a dream that has just transformed his life.   The next day at dinner at his boss’s house he meets the enigmatic Allegra Kerr. Falling in love with her at first sight John instantly realises this is the overwhelming joy his dream had foreshadowed but could darker forces be at work? 1926

The Lonely God
Published 1926
Frank Oliver returns to England from years of overseas service only to realise he no longer knows anyone there.  On visiting the British Museum he encounters ‘the lonely god’ who seems to be experiencing the same sense of isolation that he is.  Will this strange deity help relieve him of his loneliness?

Manx Gold
Published in 1930
Two cousins, Fenella Mylecharane and Juan Faraker, are engaged.  When their eccentric Uncle dies they eagerly return to the Isle of Man for the reading of the will.  Having grown up hearing tales of buried treasure on the island they are excited when the Will reveals their Uncle had found it.  But where?

Within a Wall
Published in 1925
Alan Everard, a successful modernist painter, is married to the beautiful society girl Isobel Loring who eagerly promotes her husband’s work.  At one of her tea parties, to which she invites the London art critics, she unveils her husband’s latest masterpiece, a portrait of herself but Alan realises the picture is lifeless.  However a sketch he has done of his daughter's godmother, Jane Haworth, is full of life and honesty.  Alan soon discovers that the real contribution Jane has made to their life is not just her artistic judgement.

The Mystery of the Spanish Chest
Published 1932
Bewitching Mrs. Clayton appeals to Poirot to help exonerate her lover Major Rich, indicted for her husband’s murder. Mr. Clayton’s body had been found in a chest, but who put it there?
This was a re-worked version of The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest

The Harlequin Tea Set
Published in 1971
In this story Mr Satterthwaite is travelling to the house called Doverton Kingsbourne to see an old friend now in declining health. His car breaks down in the village of Kingsbourne Ducis and while his chauffeur and the garage mechanic fix it, he walks back to a tea shop that caught his eye as they drove into the village. He is sitting in the tea shop when another old friend Mr Harley Quin walks in.

2 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - It is interesting isn't it that several of Christie's short stories were published in more than one collection. I've had the same experience of reading stories in more than one place.

David Harry said...

It's usually what happens with a renown author collection. When you buy a "complete" Edgar Allan Poe collection, for example, you have to be very careful because it's never complete. Thanks for the post!

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