Friday, 23 May 2008

The Mysterious Mr Quin

Strange book this one - not at all what you expect from Ms Christie.

Twelve short stories - all featuring Mr Satterthwaite,; snob, elderly English Gentleman and knower of anyone who is 'Anyone': An observer of people - and friend to Mr Quin. The later character was apparently Ms Christie's favourite and originated in her book of poems, 'The Road of Dreams'.

In the first story, The Coming of Mr Quin, we meet the pair - and they meet for the first time. It is a basic 'crime' with a wrongful suspicion hanging over the head of one of the characters - Slaterthwaite, with the prompting of Quin, resolves the situation through observation the clarity distance in time brings.

And that is basically the model for the rest of the collection.

Sometimes, as in the second story, The Shadow on the Glass, there is a good murder - and twisty end; sometimes there is only an echo of a crime and the story is more about resolution: The Soul of the Croupier, for example.

I read them in short succession and found them to be a little too much - I think dipping in to one of the stories and having a break between might be a much better way of treating the material. Individual I found them to be well written and quite satisfying.

Love features strong. I am tempted to suggest they are in fact love stories dressed up as something else.

There is a mysticism and vaguely religious air to them - Mr Harley Quin, by the final chapter, has become less and less of human and more and more of a wish fulfilment. There is also a sting in the tail.

I enjoyed them - and will return, but one at a time, with a healthy dose of murder and detectives in between each one.

Technorati Tags: , ,

No comments: