Welcome

If you’re new to the site and would like to get involved please click on one of the buttons in the box below.

Parker Pyne's "The Case of The Middle-Aged Wife" (A Question)

Parker Pyne is a character written by Agatha Christie that doesn't get much discussion or attention and is often eclipsed by Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Christie's two main prominent characters. Anyways one of my favorite stories from the Parker Pyne series is the short story The Case of The Middle-Aged Wife. I remmeber seeing the adaptation based on the book as well which was included in The Agatha Christie Hour series from the 80's. There is one thing from the story which I question and often wonder about. Claude Luttrell, is sent from Parker Pyne to help Mrs. Packington gain back the attention of her husband. Near the end of the story when Mrs. Packington questions whether Claude is a gigolo and they both confront each other at her place where he says, "I had my orders to take you about, to amuse you, to make love to you, to make you forget your husband. That was my job. A despicable one, eh?" Wait a second . . . . did he really say make love to you? Did Claude Luttrell really mean what I think he meant? Did he and Mrs. Packington really . . . .do it (to say it in polite terms)? I mean that's what making love means but is that what Claude really mean?

What do you think? I would like to hear your opinions.


“People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
«1

Comments

  • GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States mod
    In the early twentieth century in Britain, "make love" did not necessarily mean "have sex."  It could mean flatter, flirt, woo, shower with complements, and pursue romantically.  So there was not necessarily a physical component to the relationship.  Over the years, the term came to mean "sex," but given the morals of the Christieverse and the time it was written, I think that the phrase can be taken in the more innocent way.
  • ChristieFanForLife ChristieFanForLife ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2015
    GKCfan said:

    In the early twentieth century in Britain, "make love" did not necessarily mean "have sex."  It could mean flatter, flirt, woo, shower with complements, and pursue romantically.  So there was not necessarily a physical component to the relationship.  Over the years, the term came to mean "sex," but given the morals of the Christieverse and the time it was written, I think that the phrase can be taken in the more innocent way.

    Yeah I was thinking along the same lines as well. I just couldn't picture Mrs. Packington and Claude Luttrell actually "making love" in the sense of having sexual relations. First off Mrs. Packington didn't come across as that type of person and didn't come across as spiteful and revengeful just to prove a point. It didn't look like she would go that far (this wouldn't make sense); I mean she still loved her husband! And Agatha Christie never included any lasciviousness or any sexual overtones in her books like writers do today which I think is completely unnecessary. I know that in the Miss Marple film Murder At The Vicarage with Geraldine McEwan, they had Miss Marple in her more younger years have an affair with a married soldier--now Jane Marple would NEVER have done that based on the Victorian upbringing she had, with the standards and morals at the time. And she brought those Victorian morals throughout the rest of her life.


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes That is one thing about Modern Life I hate, people aren't taught enough about Definiions of yesteryear which is probably why sometimes Adaptations which shouldn't mentions Homosexuality do because Programme makers see the word i one book twist it and make a Character in another book Gay, It makes me cross.
  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname ✭✭✭
    Maybe the story was adapted to modern times? :-?
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭✭
    No the only one that has is Sparkling Cyanide and the Helen Hayes version of They Do It with Mirrors and the Ustinov version of Lord Edgware Dies.
  • ChristieFanForLife ChristieFanForLife ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2015
    shana said:

    Maybe the story was adapted to modern times? :-?

    The Murder At The Vicarage adaptation wasn't updated to our modern day but they were trying to incorporate modern themes which back then would have been shocking whereas today isn't so shocking at all. For example in A Murder Is Announced (the McEwan version), they have Murgatrod and Hinch kiss and hold hands whereas in the book none of this is even in there. Now critics have said that they are both lesbians and they said that it's hinted in the book that they are but how so?-- because Hinch has cropped hair like a man and because you find the two living together? It is very possible to question their sexuality but if someone says that they are lesbians because they live together you have to look at the times, the era, and what occurred. Was it really that ODD to find two women living together during that time in post-war England where the country is dealing with rations and times are kind of rough? Just because two women are living together doesn't mean they are homosexual, just as today when two women are living together and you certainly can't jump to that conclusion. The only conclusion I can come up with as to why critics question Murgatrod and Hinch's sexuality is because Hinch looks and acts masculine and Murgatrod doesn't and they just so HAPPEN to live together.


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • shanashana Paramaribo, Suriname ✭✭✭
    I can"t comment ... I haven't seen any of the adaptations. I was just offering a suggestion on what might have .... 
  • No the only one that has is Sparkling Cyanide and the Helen Hayes version of They Do It with Mirrors and the Ustinov version of Lord Edgware Dies.

    Tommy, what do you think about updating Agatha's stories to modern times? As for me I say keep them in the era she has set them in. I know in The Halloween Party and Third Girl adaptations with David Suchet the producers decided to set the story during the late 1930's, since they decided the whole series was to be set in that era but it would have been interesting to see the story set in the 60's the way Christie wrote it but it would have been odd to see the television series jump from the 30's to the 60's so in that case it was a good decision.


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭✭
    As long as it is done sensitively I think it can be good for instance Sparkling Cyanide is an example where it can be good, as long as the Motives and sexual orientations stay the same I say fine, because we now live in a Multicultural society if a Character is a different Ethnicity than the book like in the case of the updated Sparkling Cyanide and the Poirot Episode The Mystery of The Blue Train It is fine as to carry on broadcasting Christie it might become essential.
  • In the story when Claude Luttrell said, "I had my orders to take you about, to amuse you, to make love to you, to make you forget your husband. That was my job. A despicable one, eh", when he refers to the "making love bit" that's why it good to know what certain words or phrases mean at the time, or else you'll think it means the same thing in contemporary times. For example like the word "gay" which meant something completely different from what it means today. As a person who likes to write stories set back in the 30's, 40's, and 50's one of the things I have to do when referring to certain words/phrases is to make sure it means what it actually meant in that time period and not what it means today. Reading Agatha Christie's books help me in that regard but @GKCfan, are there are reference books, any books at all that gives a good overview of the time period of these eras, words/phrases that were used, etc. 


    “People in the dark are quite different, aren’t they?”  ― A Murder Is Announced 
«1
Sign In or Register to comment.