Parker Pyne made his debut in 1934 in the collection of short stories entitled Parker Pyne Investigates.
Parker Pyne states quite clearly that he is not a detective: “I am, if you like to put it that way, a heart specialist”. A retired civil servant who decided to embark on a new career, curing unhappiness; Mr Pyne, advertised his services in the Personal column of the Times:
“Are you happy? If not consult Mr Parker Pyne, 17 Richmond Street.”
The first six stories in this compilation are ‘cases’ set in London. The last six stories are more interesting puzzles that occur whilst Parker Pyne is on holiday; travelling via the Orient Express to the Middle East; acting as an unwilling advisor from Baghdad to Shiraz, Petra, Delphi and even on a Nile cruise.
Mr Parker Pyne appears again in two short stories contained within The Regatta Mystery, a collection that also includes mysteries solved by Poirot and Miss Marple.
Mr Parker Pyne is described as plump, bald and probably in his sixties. He has a theory that there are five main types of unhappiness and all are logically resoluble. His methods are unorthodox and he often employs deception and constructs elaborate charades to fool the suspects and cure unhappiness successfully.
His stories introduce two characters who later develop a long association with Hercule Poirot: Miss Felicity Lemon, who works as Parker Pyne's personal secretary and Mrs. Ariadne Oliver, who assists Parker Pyne in T he Case of the Discontented Soldier.
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