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Everybody In: The Regatta Mystery | 1939

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"I wonder if you'll ever commit a crime, Poirot?" said Stillingfleet. "I bet you could get away with it all right. As a matter of fact, it would be too easy for you -- I mean the thing would be off as definitely too unsporting." 
"That," said Poirot, "is a typically English idea."
-The Dream, p. 161

The Sum of It
This set of short stories contains tales featuring three of Agatha's best known detectives: Poirot, Parker Pyne, and Miss Marple. Many of these are legit SHORT stories, some of them are really more like vignettes. A few of the stories will be well known by fans of the David Suchet Poirot series as they have been adapted in that medium. The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest, Yellow Iris, The Dream, and Problem at Sea can all be found in this little collection. 

My favorite story in this collection was one I hadn't seen before, called In a Glass Darkly. The story is written in first person, which I always enjoy from Agatha. The narrator is visiting a friend and dressing for dinner in a mirror when he sees in the mirror what appears to be a reflection of a woman being strangled by a man with a scar on his face. But when he turned around, all that was behind him was a wardrobe and a wall. He feels like the vision was perhaps a premonition, so he warns the girl he saw in the vision (his friend's sister) about it, causing her to break up with her fiance. After the narrator is grazed on the cheek by a bullet in WWI, he comes home and marries the girl. Later in life, he finds the scene repeated live and in person, and learns something about himself. He also comes to wonder about the vision he saw; did it alter the course of their lives? There's a hint of the supernatural in this story, and a nice level of creepiness, it's a delicious little mystery snack!

The YOA Treatment
So, yeah, more short stories. This was a pretty fun set, really, though there's also a fair sprinkling of some regrettable pre-war racism and sexism. There are several decent tales in the mix. In addition to the one I summarized above, I also really enjoyed The Yellow Iris, even though I was familiar with the plot from television. It's a good demonstration of Poirot using those little grey cells to solve a life-and-death style puzzle in real time as a dinner party unfolds following a panicked call from one of the ladies at the party who claimed to be in peril. (Fun fact: Agatha must have really enjoyed this one too, as The Yellow Iris was later expanded into a full-blown novel called Sparkling Cyanide, which we'll be reading soon along with our #bookstagram friends, The Maidens of Murder!)

The Parker Pyne story Problem at Pollensa Bay is a classic example of Mr. Parker Pyne's methods of basically employing an attractive woman to seduce a man in order to solve some sort of relationship problem #gigolo. The Miss Marple story, although her tone and style of speech is perpetually amusing, is not much of a tale, disappointingly. It was fun to meet several different mystery solvers, along with some independent storytellers, in the same set. 

No strong feelings about this book, honestly, though given the mini-stories, it's a fine set to toss in your work bag for quick reads while you're waiting for a meeting to start!


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