Very amusing so far, and much more tongue-in-cheek/light-hearted than most of Christie's other work.
The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife: Poor Mrs. Packington has been a suitable, faithful wife to Mr. Packington for years upon years. Mr. Packington has fallen into the clutches of a young hussy, and Mrs. Packington needs the assistance of Parker Pyne. A trip to the beauty parlor and arrival of species lounge lizard later, and Mrs. Packington cares much less about Mr. Packington's behavior. But Mr. Packington doesn't much like this whole turn-about-is-fair-play thing. (three stars)
The Case of the Discontented Soldier: Mr. Wilbraham, single and retired from the military, is bored, bored, bored. With the help of Ariadne Oliver, Parker Pyne cures his boredom, and solves a problem for a young woman named Freda Clegg as well. This story was adorable. (4 stars).
Aside: Miss Lemon is in this book, too!
The Case of the Distressed Lady: A young woman comes to Mr. Pyne with a problem - she has stolen a ring from her friend and needs to replace it. This one doesn't quite have the charm of the first two, but Parker Pyne shows his cleverness. (two stars)
The Case of the Discontented Husband: Husband shows up in Parker Pyne's waiting room because his wife has taken up with a new, long-haired arty fellow and wants a divorce. This story was hilarious.
"At the present moment you are, from a feminine point of view, merely a waste product. Nobody wants you. What use has a woman for something that no one wants? None whatever. But take another angle. Suppose your wife discovers that you are looking forward to regaining your freedom as much as she is?” “Then she ought to be pleased.” “She ought to be, perhaps, but she will not be!"
The outcome of the story is downright funny. Parker Pyne chalks it up as "FAILURE—owing to natural causes. N.B.—They should have been foreseen." (4 stars)
The Case of the City Clerk: Another amusing little tale of a city clerk who is bored with his life and wants some excitement. He is enlisted in a bit of international intrigue, which comes off reasonably well. (3 stars)
The Case of the Rich Woman: This is a strange story about a rich widow who is bored now that her husband has died. They were both born quite poor and he made a lot of money by developing some sort of process in the mill where he was foreman. It's probably the most implausible of all of the stories, which is saying something, and the point didn't really convince me. It felt like it fed into a lot of Victorian stereotypes about the working class and their ability to handle wealth. Weakest story in the collection so far. (2 stars).
Have You Got Everything You Want? This one takes place on the Orient Express - Parker Pyne meets a young woman with a problem. I loved the story, but Agatha's marital advice is terrible!
“What is truth?” said Mr. Parker Pyne. “In my experience it is usually the thing that upsets the apple cart! It is a fundamental axiom of married life that you must lie to a woman."
One wonders about Christie's marriages (4 stars).