Thursday, January 20, 2011
The Mysterious Mr. Quin
Bantam Books, 1930
British Book Challenge
Summary: A collection of short stories featuring Mr. Satterthwaite and Mr. Quin as they unravel various mysteries.
Thoughts: I wasn't sure what this was as I am just endeavoring to read every Agatha Christie. I was pleased to discover that they were short stories because I usually enjoy her short story collections. I was less pleased with the mysteries on offer and I ended up confused regarding Mr. Quin.
What happens in each story, basically, is that Mr. Satterthwaite is an observer of the human drama and when Mr. Quin appears, he encourages Satterthwaite to think things over and figure out what the solution to the mystery is. In several cases, he prevents a suicide and in all he improves the lives of the innocent. Because of their shortness and the fact that he was reviewing cases from years previous, there was a lack of urgency and less satisfaction than I'm used to feeling at the end of a successful conclusion to a mystery.
The confusing part to me was the character of Harley Quin who is like a harlequin. A harlequin is apparently a comic servant who helps unravel romantic entanglements, which Quin does. I had thought he was an angel or something because he appears when there's need of him and then magically disappears at the end of each story. I am wondering if this is a British element and thus I didn't understand it or if harlequins were popular in the 1930s and thus I didn't understand. But that element really put me off the stories.
Overall: Unsatisfying mystery stories and confusing element.
Cover: This cover drives home the point about harlequins.