Most of the stories herein have not appeared in previous collections after their original magazine publications; apart from the "The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" and the title story, none feature any of Christie's stable of recurring characters.
Jack Leavitt makes the mistake of trying to blackmail "The Actress" (1923, Novel). 'Olga Stormer' - formerly Nancy Taylor - is *very* quick-witted, and came up through a tough school. She remembers Leavitt - and intends to turn the tables on the lever of his cowardice.
"While the Light Lasts" (1923, Novel) (The use of language at the beginning of the story is unintentionally funny - the phrase 'boy lover', for instance.) George Crozier has never properly understood that Deirdre broke their engagement to marry Tim Nugent for love, but married *him* for the material comforts he offered her, after Tim died in WWI. During their visit to one of George's business interests in Rhodesia, Deirdre notes a text on her dowdy hostess' wall that, of course, doesn't apply to her: 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?'
Alan Everard's little daughter asks him a riddle: '"Within a Wall" (1925, Royal) as white as milk, within a curtain soft as silk, bathed in a sea of crystal clear, a golden apple doth appear.' He absently answers 'your mother' - Isobel, the penniless society beauty who married him, a genius painter, rather than a wealthy man. But she has a taste for the good life, and a certain cold calculation...(The 'correct' answer is 'an egg', incidentally.)
"The Lonely God" (1926, Royal) really *is* a god - a small, forgotten idol, head in his hands, on a shelf in the British museum, without even a plaque bespeaking his name or country of origin. Then the unlikeliest chance befalls him: Frank Oliver, lonely after spending his life in the farthest reaches of the Empire, notices him, and feels a kinship to another stranger in a strange land.
"The House of Dreams" (1926, Sovereign) Fantasy more than mystery. John Segrave comes of a socially prominent family fallen on hard times - he makes an adequate living as a clerk, but isn't a likely candidate for promotion. There's more to him than meets the eye, but he isn't interested in forming relationships. Then the boss' daughter takes a fancy to him - but John falls for her 'court jester' Allegra rather than for her. But something's wrong behind Allegra's lovely facade, just as there's something ominous about the lovely white house haunting John's dreams.
"The Edge" (1927, Pearson's) Claire Hailiwell always expected her childhood friendship with Gerald Lee to end in marriage - but Gerald married Vivien Harper after a whirlwind courtship, and was thick enough to expect them to be friends afterward. The relationships don't quite play out as the reader might expect. :)
"Manx Gold" (1930, The Daily Dispatch) This was written to support a _Masquerade_-style treasure hunt on the Isle of Man, which in turn was part of a scheme to boost tourism. The story itself is a missing legacy story - i.e., uncle hid the majority of his assets and our heroes must unravel the puzzle he set them in his will. The narrator and his first cousin Fenella have an intermittent engagement (depending on their finances), and uncle Myles pepped up matters by 1) *also* notifying 2 other relatives, both unscrupulous, but 2) giving the lovebirds 24 hours' start. The 4 'treasures' in the real life contest were hidden where the treasures in the story were found, so the story is at first rather obscure about exactly where our heroes located the snuffbox treasure chests.
"The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" (a.k.a. "The Mystery of the Bagdad Chest") is a Poirot story that appears in other collections, such as _The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories_.
"The Harlequin Tea Set" (1971) is one of the few Satterthwaite and Quin stories not collected in _The Mysterious Mr. Quin_, mainly because it takes place in the early 1970s - forty years after their last meeting in 'Harlequin's Lane' - so it's not surprising that while the sight of a Harlequin tea set in a shop window reminds Satterthwaite of something, it takes him a little thought to recall exactly what.