Monday 6 August 2018

Book Review - The Mysterious Mr Quin

  • Title And Author: The Mysterious Mr Quin by Agatha Christie
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical 
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed from Library
  • Length: 336 Pages
  • Buy From: Book Depository - Foyles - Audible

Well… that was unexpected. 

Ok, in the words of Craig David, re-e-wind

Sorry, no idea why I wrote that but anyway, back story. As you might remember from a blog post from months back when I chatted about Agatha Christie, this was one of the titles I’ve wanted to read for a while. Ever since I heard of the general bases of this, I wanted to read this. I mean, a mysterious man (who appears as if by magic. A bit like the shop keeper from Mr Benn! Anyone remember that?) who solves crimes. Sold! But I didn’t know when I was going to read this. Plus, I wasn’t sure if this was best place to start with reading Agatha Christie. 

Then I went “Sod it!”, requested it at my library (this was at the height of my last reading slump and real life drama of buying a house, trying to get a handle on work and general “Am I good enough to continue book blogging? Or should I quit?” - you know, the good stuff in life) and, before I had time to get myself ready, my library said “We got it and the other two books you requested for you!” (the other two books were Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs and Want to Play? by PJ Tracy [and why I haven’t read them will be made clear in the coming paragraphs]) so I decided to read this. 

The Mysterious Mr Quin is a collection of twelve short stories that follow Mr Satterthwaite as he gets himself involved in mysteries - some from the past, some present - and his mysterious acquaintance, Mr Quin, who seems to be the catalyst for the truth to come to light… 

Well… where do I start? 

With most collections of short stories, this is very much a mixed bag. Some stories worked for me due to tone or elements of the story I really like. One that jumps to mind of At The ‘Bells and Motley’ and The Coming of Mr Quin, where the main crux of the mystery is a tiny handful of people (two for Bells, four to The Coming) where they sit down and talk the mystery out. I like this element and from the little that I’ve heard from other people and podcasts, this style is used more in The Thirteen Problems (another collections of short stories but with Miss Marple as their heart). 

However, like I said, there are other stories that made me tilt my head, go “Huh?” and made me question. While I liked Mr Satterthwaite in some of the earlier stories, I grew to dislike him the more I read of him. He would say or think something that rubbed me hugely up the wrong way and by the time I was at the last two or three stories, I was pushing self to get through them. I wanted him gone and, because of this, it kinda killed (pardon the pun) the mood to read any more crime for the time being (maybe this is a blessing in a cunning disguise. We shall see…) 

I’m in two minds on this. I do think people were right to say “This might not be the best way to enter Christie”, but am glad that I gave this a try. I do think I am going to try another Agatha Christie - I have Appointment with Death on my kindle (that’s a Poirot) and I am now wondering on if I should try another. The Thirteen Problems? I am going to try but might save it for autumn, as, for reason, Christie feels like the perfect autumn read. So, I will try again… but we shall see… 

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