The Mysterious Mr. Quinn – Agatha Christie

How likely is it that, while having a random conversation with somebody at the library, you discover that Agatha Christie isn’t just your favourite author when it comes to crime and mystery novels? Well, very likely – if it’s Agatha Christie. Yes, she has rightfully been acclaimed by most of the readers of fiction as the queen of mysteries. A British novelist, she is most widely known for the 80 breath-taking crime novels that she has to her name. What’s best, each and every novel is loaded with interesting descriptions, even of the most miniscule matters. For instance, in the first chapter of the book ‘The Mysterious Mr. Quinn’ , she goes on to describe the host as ‘genial and good humoured’. By giving such intricate descriptions Christie manages to captivate the audience by signifying even the insignificant. Imagine reading for hours and then realizing that the timeline of the story was only about a few minutes – that’s Agatha Christie for you, converting minutes of chance occurrences into endless pages of writing.

The Mysterious Mr. Quinn is a collection of short stories that was published in North America and UK in 1930. It consists of 12 different mysteries in the form of chapters, and the pivotal role in all is played by ‘the mysterious Mr. Quinn’ who keeps reappearing and vanishing like a phantom, who nonetheless knows about all the on-goings. Throughout the story, he plays the role of a person who knows it all and is at the right place at the right time – he emerges as the person.  No matter what place it might be in the world, if it is a place of mystery, Mr. Quinn will be present – to fill in the gaps that keep the mystery from being unsolved.

The other protagonist that is present all the way till the end is Mr. Satterthwaite, a man in his early sixties. Mr. Satterthwaite is the man who has an interesting hobby: people-watching. He is extremely observant and has the solution to the mystery. But, he needs the reassuring presence of Mr. Quinn to remind him of his skills.

The individual chapters themselves are so compact and potent that even if you read them separately, they would make for good reading. In fact, the first chapter of this book was adopted into a full-fledged film in UK. Every single plot has been created with a perfect blend of elaborate detail, humour, aristocracy and most intriguing of all, suspense. This book is addictive – read one chapter and you will feel like loyally going on to the next and so on, until the last chapter is over and you know that it is time to get the next Agatha Christie book off the shelf.

A team of aged detectives solving complex mysteries? – it might not seem interesting enough to a person who is trying to find interest in it by reading the summary on the back-cover – especially not to a person who has never read Agatha Christie. So, for the first-time readers, don’t expect the back-cover to lure you in; just start reading and wait to be enthralled.
Krish Mehta

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