#80 – While the Light Lasts

Published in 1997 in the UK only (eight of the stories having been published earlier in the year in the USA as “The Harlequin Tea Set”) this collection was the final Agatha Christie anthology of previously uncollected short stories. The contents are:

The House of Dreams – a man’s dreams have an uncanny predictive quality.

The Actress – a blackmailer gets put in his place.

The Edge – a moral dilemma with a personal element.

Christmas Adventure – this was expanded into “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding”. There Poirot rewards a maid is with the vanity box that she asks for but here decides to give her “an excellent book upon le ménage, also the Lives of the Saints, and a work upon the economic position of women”!

The Lonely God – an unexpected meeting between two lonely people and what results from it. Christie later recycled the main theme from this 1926 tale into one of “The Labours of Hercules”.

Within a Wall – this is why couples really should have a joint bank account.

The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest – this was expanded into “The Mystery of the Spanish Chest” collected in “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding”.

While the Light Lasts – a post-war tragedy in Africa.

Manx Gold – to boost tourism to the Isle of Man, Christie was commissioned to write a story serialised in the Manchester Daily Dispatch which contained clues to enable holidaymakers to search for real treasure. If you get out a map of the island, you may be able to get some idea for yourself where the four chests were hidden. One was never found and had to be recovered by the mayor.

I’m fairly sure that I hadn’t read this collection before – The Actress is good fun and The Edge is quite edgy.

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