Sunday, August 25, 2013
The Mysterious Mr. Quinn
As Delicious Death works its way through Dame Agatha's literary output, I'm re-reading both old friends and books which I read once, more than 25 years ago. The Mysterious Mr. Quinn falls into the latter category. I know I've read it before, but only once - for the most part, I haven't re-read her short story collections. They don't have enough atmosphere, and the mysteries are a bit too straightforward. The titular Mr. Quinn adds a supernatural aspect to the collection, and that generally doesn't appeal to me. I did enjoy the narration of Mr. Satterthwaite, an aging socialite moving from house party to upper-class spa; living a life that was dying out and not quite approving of the Bright Young Things who tolerated his existence. He's the link between the stories, the witness to a crime (or second-hand reporter of the event), whose mysterious acquaintance guides him to the solution, usually over drinks or a meal. Christie is almost always diverting, but The Mysterious Mr. Quinn is little more than that - a book to read with one's eyes, rather than one's mind.