Phayvanh's Reviews > The Mysterious Mr. Quin

The Mysterious Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Dec 15, 08

did not like it
bookshelves: 2008, reviews, agatha-christie
Recommended to Phayvanh by: library book sale
Recommended for: nobody
Read in December, 2008 , read count: 1

Who are you crazy people who like this book, think it memorable, or - gasp! - among one of Christie's best works??!! This book sucked ostrich eggs. The only reason I kept reading it to the end was to unlock the "mystery" of Mr. Quin, and to revel in Christie's spiral into the dark and supernatural. Little did I know that this was Christie at her laziest.

The 12 interlocking, and often repetitive, stories featuring both Mr. Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite, are rough sketches of (potentially intriguing) mystery plot lines with both these characters superimposed and made to fit into them. Imagine her with a week to turn in her latest book to the publisher, and ending up with this patch-job and not caring either way about it, as long as the check clears. Really.

Though Mr. Satterthwaite commendably solves the mystery presented in each story, no one is brought to "justice", as is stated on the book jacket. Because he never calls the police. He's simply content to know who did it, then move on. For a man of high society, there's no sense of moral obligation here--Satterthwaite doesn't seem to care if there's a murderer still on the loose--as long as he knows who it is, and the he's not in any danger.

And talk about lazy: at least every story recounts the dark, motley nature (physical and otherwise) of Mr. Quin, and Mr. Satterthwaite's feelings towards him. And every story includes the summation of Mr. S. as a lover of the arts, a sympathetic ear, and someone with money who can travel about at whim, and who knows everyone (convenient setup, eh?), and his feelings towards Mr. Quin. Am I being repetitive?

To make a pill harder to swallow, the author doesn't allow us to know Mr. Quin anymore than when we started. Is he a supernatural being? Is he Death reincarnate? Is he after Mr. S, and this is a slow torture Quin is subjecting him to? The stories do not lead one to any sort of conclusion, wrap up or sense of finality.

They do lead one to a dead end road, at which stands both a charming house on a hill and a dump heap. This is where people go to die or live on in ignorant bliss. Metaphor? If only Mr. Satterthwaite, upon entering down that path, had met one or the other end. But he doesn't. The book just ends.

My copy (Fontana,1965. ISBN0006166512) is deathly in need of a copyeditor. Grammar, punctuation mistakes and even printing marks left in.
3 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Mysterious Mr. Quin.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Saul Escalona Looking at the rating curve looks like you are the odd one.
To unlock the mystery of Mr. Quin read The Harlequin Tea Set in the book "Problem at Pollensa Bay (1991)"

back to top