The Mysterious Mr Quin

  • Harley Quin
  • Collection (12 stories)
  • 1930

It had been a typical New Year’s Eve party. But as midnight approaches, Mr Satterthwaite - ­­a keen observer of human nature – senses that the real drama of the evening is yet to unfold. And so it proves when a mysterious stranger knocks on the door. Who is Mr Quin?

Mr Satterthwaite’s new friend is an enigma. Throughout this collection of short stories he seems to appear and disappear almost like a trick of the light. In fact, the only consistent thing about him is that his presence is always an omen – sometimes good, but sometimes deadly.

Mr Satterthwaite watched the drama unfold before his eyes. Quietly and naturally, Mr Quin was pulling the strings, setting his puppets in motion.

Agatha Christie, The Coming of Mr Quin

More about this collection

In An Autobiography, Agatha Christie reflects on her writing between 1929 to 1932, in which time she wrote two short story collections. She said, “One consisted of Mr Quin stories. These are my favourite.” The Mr Quin stories weren’t written as a series, but instead at rare intervals every three to four months when Christie simply felt like writing them.

A rare treat for discriminating readers.
New York Times

The inspiration for Mr Quin and these short stories came from a set of Dresden figures on Christie’s mother’s mantelpiece, which fascinated her as a child. They represented the Italian commedia dell’arte, a form of theatre characterised by masked types, and one of these characters was Harlequin. In fact, Agatha Christie’s very first appearance in print was in the form of a poem, Harlequin’s Song, which she wrote as a child and was inspired by Harlequin.

Each story in the collection involves a separate mystery which is solved by Mr Satterthwaite and Mr Quin, both of whom became favourite characters of Christie. Satterthwaite is an observant socialite who gains the ability to wrap up each mystery with the help of Mr Quin, a character who appears almost magically at opportune moments. The collection is relatively unknown and has a darker, supernatural edge than most of Christie’s works.

Did you know?

  1. The Mysterious Mr Quin book dedication reads ‘To Harlequin the invisible.’ This is the only time that Christie dedicated a book to one of her fictional characters.

  2. Agatha Christie’s favourite Mr Quin stories were World’s End, The Man from the Sea and Harlequin’s Lane.

In this collection

The Coming of Mr Quin
Harley Quin
The Shadow on the Glass
Harley Quin
At the 'Bells and Motley'
Harley Quin
The Sign in the Sky
Harley Quin
The Soul of the Croupier
Harley Quin
The Man from the Sea
Harley Quin
The Voice in the Dark
Harley Quin
The Face of Helen
Harley Quin
The Dead Harlequin
Harley Quin
The World's End
Harley Quin
Harlequin's Lane
Harley Quin

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