Agatha Christie’s novels are always reliably entertaining and exquisitely plotted, but until this book, A Deadly Affair, I’d not read any of her short stories. This collection is built around the theme of love gone wrong.
While I do prefer the full-length mysteries which allow for more character development and elaborate puzzles, these were fun, quick reads featuring Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Mr. Quin, Parker Pyne, and Tommy and Tuppence.
My favorite story, “The Face of Helen,” concerned a beautiful woman Quin and Satterthwaite encounter at the opera who is involved in a love triangle. The mystery is so diabolically clever! I also quite enjoyed “The King of Clubs,” where only Poirot’s little gray cells point to the killer.
It was also interesting to read the short story “A Death on the Nile” which is similar to the Poirot book only in terms of the title as well as an excerpt from Christie’s autobiography about her early love affairs. I didn’t as much care for the two Tommy and Tuppence stories. Either they felt more dated than the others, more reliant on slang, or both.
You can grab this book and read the stories in any order. It’s a great choice if you are looking for a slump-buster or low-commitment mystery!