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The Mysterious Mr. Quin by Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Mr. Quin (1930)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Harley Quin (1)

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English (29)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (31)
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"The Mysterious Mr. Quin" is one of the more unusual curiosities in Christie’s canon. In the early 1920s, as a good deal of Christie’s career was devoted to writing short stories – Poirot, Tommy and Tuppence, supernatural tales, etc. – for a variety of magazines, she experimented with two less generic detectives. The wry Mr. Satterthwaite stumbles across challenging mysteries in each story and – with the help of an enigmatic nomad named Harley Quin - solves them.

These stories are some of the most bizarre in Christie’s canon. Rarely do the mysteries take on a standard ‘Holmes-and-Watson’ feel, instead Quin’s appearance often prefigures the mystery, and many of the stories are filled with cultural references and Satterthwaite’s observations of human nature, thoughts from the perspective of a man who has never quite lived the life he wished. Several of the stories are also remarkably atmospheric, much more so than the more overt ‘supernatural’ stories she developed for "The Hound of Death".

Ultimately, I would argue that this is a somewhat flimsy collection. Some of the stories aren’t great, and generally the mysteries play second-fiddle to the atmosphere and character relationships (which, admittedly, work quite well). It’s interesting – given their unusual qualities, and the fact that Christie herself is known to have enjoyed them – that Quin and Satterthwaite never returned for further substantial pairings. (Two further Mr. Quin stories – unpublished in Christie’s lifetime – pop up in "Problem at Pollensa Bay", while Satterthwaite is back in the Poirot novel "Three Act Tragedy".) Perhaps – once she left short stories behind in the 1930s – Christie couldn’t see a way to make them work in the longer prose form. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
Mr Quin, angel or demigod or hallucination? I like to think Mr Satterthwaite is imagining this figure, but the evidence suggests otherworldy. luckily, I'll never know for sure. Regardless, the stories are a great way to pass the time and relax at the end of the day. ( )
  CassandraT | Sep 23, 2018 |
The Mysterious Mr. Quin - Christie
Audio performance by Hugh Fraser
3 stars

This collection of short stories was originally published in 1930. They are not the usual Agatha Christie. They are the only stories to feature Mr. Quinn, a strange paranormal character who appears without warning to point the socialite Mr. Satterthwaite in the correct direction to solve or occasionally prevent a murder. The stories were entertaining, but not Dame Agatha’s best puzzles. I could see the solutions before the denouement in most of the stories even though they were so short. I thought the partnership of the effeminate Mr. Satterthwaite and the enigmatic Mr. Quin was interesting. Between them, they seemed to split the characteristics of the more successful Poirot. Mr. Q had all the little grey cells and Mr. S had the fastidious personal quirks. I do wonder what might have happened if she had expanded these characters into a longer series. ( )
  msjudy | Dec 17, 2016 |
Very entertaining - shame there weren't more with these two characters. ( )
  Cat-Lib | Jul 3, 2016 |
What a pleasant change from Poirot & Miss Marple..... Although there wasn't as much sleuthing, but taking knowledge and putting it forward & assessing what the facts were.

The two main characters are: Mr. Satterthwaite, a distinguished gentleman of short stature, well known in higher circles of society, discreet and in possession of great observational talents; and Mr. Harley Quin, an enigmatic tall dark man, who appears and disappears at the most opportune times.

Mr. Satterthwaite and Mr. Quin play off of each other, the former with his critical thinking skills and the latter with his ability to bring forward the knowledge & facts Mr. Satterthwaite has laying dormant in his thoughts.

There are 12 stories in this book, most all interesting, some easily solvable, some completely baffling:

1: The Coming of Mr Quin: New Years' Eve, a suicide years ago, a Blonde who now has dark hair, an estranged married couple, a murder, and a brilliant deduction

2: The Shadow on the Glass: a ghost of a Cavalier who appears in a window (no matter how many times it is replaced), a woman holding a gun w/ two dead people lying beside her, a jealous triangle, and a living ghost

3: At the "Bells and Motley": a dark and stormy night (pun intended), a broken down car, crossword puzzles, French cat burglars, a dead husband but no body to be found

4: The Sign in the Sky: An unhappy wife, a suspicious husband, a gun left behind, and a man wrongly accused of murder

5: The Soul of the Croupier: Monte Carlo, a Countess, a young lover, a croupier's purposeful passing of winnings to the wrong person, a marriage torn asunder by vanity & greed

6: The Man from the Sea: a closed up old house, a young man on the verge of suicide, a mysterious woman in seclusion, and a touching story of unrequited love & redemption

7: The Voice in the Dark: a shipwreck that one sister survives the other does not, years of haunting voices, a spiritualist & a seance, and a sister returned from the dead

8: The Face of Helen: a young woman, two suitors, a wedding gift of a radio & a lovely glass sculpture, and a man with a voice that can shatter glass

9: The Dead Harlequin: a painting of a dead harlequin, a rug where no rug was before, a mysterious face in the window, and a strange suicide w/ the gunshot at an impossible angle

10: The Bird with the Broken Wing: a country gathering, a very happy young woman who for some reason has hanged herself, an ukulele with a broken string, and spurned suitor

11: The World's End: a group of people picnicking at "the World's End", a missing opal, a young man accused of theft, a large sum of money, and an "Indian Box" with a hidden compartment

12: Harlequin's Lane: an odd man & wife, a lovers' lane ending @ a rubbish heap, the story of a lost ballerina, a visiting impresario, unrequited love, and death

A very interesting set of stories, many revolving around love relationships...
( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Eichel, GünterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraser, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Harlequin the invisible
First words
It was New Year's Eve.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Note that this is not a complete collection of Harley Quin stories, as it omits "The Love Detectives" and "The Harlequin Tea Set".
All of the stories contained in this anthology, plus "The Love Detectives" appear in
Masterpieces in Miniature.
In addition, Mr. Satterthwaite appears in the novel Three Act Tragedy without Mr. Quin.
All these were collected into The Complete Quin and Satterthwaite: Love Detectives
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
This short story collection contains:
  • "The Coming of Mr. Quin"
  • "The Shadow on the Glass"
  • "At the Bells and Motley"
  • "The Sign in the Sky"
  • "The Soul of the Croupier"
  • "The Man from the Sea"
  • "The Voice in the Dark"
  • "The Face of Helen"
  • "The Dead Harlequin"
  • "The Bird with the Broken Wing"
  • "The World's End"
  • "Harlequin's Lane"


He Loves a Mystery
A lonely manor filled with fear... a shot in the summer-scented night... a beautiful woman's hideous scream...all are invitations for the elegant, elusive, inimitable Mr. Harley Quin to arrive on the scene. Quin seeks his quarry in the world of aristocratic evil and blue-blooded criminality to see that justice is done.

Here is one of Agatha Christie's creations - following a twisting labyrinth of passion, blackmail and murder to its last startling turnabout and riveting revelation.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312981600, Mass Market Paperback)

A conjurer of skill with an instinct for detection, Mr. Harley Quin has an almost magical flair for appearing at the scene of the most remarkable crimes. But is it just a trick of light that haunts his shadow with a ghostly apparition? Is it fate that invites him to a New Year's murder? And what forces are at work when his car breaks down outside Royalston Hall, an isolated estate with a deadly history?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Meet the mysterious Mr. Harley Quin, a man with an almost supernatural flair for appearing on the scene just when he is needed to assist in finding the truth behind remarkable crimes. The collection includes 12 complete stories.

» see all 9 descriptions

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