Reviews by L. J. Roberts

AGATHA CHRISTIE – The Mysterious Mr. Quin. Collins, UK, hardcover, 1930. Dodd Mead, US, hardcover, 1930. Reprinted many times in paperback. Note that the Bestseller paperback, 1940, omits three stories. Film (from the short story “The Coming of Mr. Quin”): Strand, 1928, as The Passing of Mr. Quin.

AGATHA CHRISTIE The Mysterious Mr. Quin

   Mr. Satterthwaite, although 62 years old, is described as a dried-up man. (Views on age have changed over time.) He is wealthy, loves the good things in life, definitively British and is a keen observer of people. The last attribute increases with each encounter with Mr. Harley Quin.

   Mr. Quin is a gentleman of mystery: Is he real with supernatural powers, or Ms. Christie’s very own, and very different version of Holmes? Quinn was, in fact, Ms. Christie’s favorite character. In her autobiography, she describes him as “a friend of lovers and connected with death.”

   She does allude to the classic Harlequin in “The Soul of the Croupier” when Satterthwaite expresses surprise seeing Quin. Quin responds “It should not surprise you,” he said. “It is Carnival time. I am often here in Carnival time.”

   In general, I’m not a fan of short stories, but I find myself frequently re-reading these. I do love Satterthwaite’s line of “I can put up with vulgarity, but I can’t stand meanness.” The stories have a slight supernatural quality to them, but always with a logical explanation possible, and certainly to the solutions of the crimes.

   I enjoyed Christie’s perception of 1930s England as being multi-cultural and non-denominational, but wonder who true that was. What I most enjoy, however, is that each story stands alone and is intriguing and compelling on its own merit.

Rating:   Excellent.

AGATHA CHRISTIE The Mysterious Mr. Quin