For thirty-five years of my life I have been engaged in the compiling of statistics in a government office. Now I have retired, and it has occurred to me to use the experience I have gained in a novel fashion. It is all so simple. Unhappiness can be classified under five main heads - no more, I assure you. Once you know the cause of a malady, the remedy should not be impossible.
In the short stories in my opinion Agatha Christie never shows her best, and these book is no exception. These stories are also a bit anomalous, there are often no real investigations, and I found some of them quite boring.
But still the book amused me, even if I liked a lot less than usual for Christie, it was a nice reading.
Four grunts, an indignant voice asking why nobody could leave a hat alone, a slammed door, and Mr Packington had departed to catch the eight forty-five to the city.
[incipit of "The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife"]
Parker Pyne: You are unhappy?
Mr Roberts: I shouldn't like to say that [...]. I've a great deal to be thankful for.
Parker Pyne: We all have. But when we have to remind ourselves of the fact it is a bad sign.
"The Case of the City Clerk"
Lady Esther sprang to her feet. 'Do you believe I murdered her?'
Mr Parker Pyne did not spring to his feet. He was not a springing kind of man.
"The House at Shiraz"
What are the years from twenty to forty? [...] Fettered and bound by personal and emotional relationships. That's bound to be. That's living. But later there's a new stage. You can think, observe life, discover something about other people and the truth about yourself. Life becomes real - significant. You see it as a whole. Not just one scene - the scene you, as an actor, are playing. No man or woman is actually himself (or herself ) till after forty-five. That's when individuality has a chance.
Parker Pyne in "Problem at Pollensa Bay"