Twelve stories by Agatha Christie first collected in nineteen thirty, involving a sixty nine year old socialite and his relationship with a mysterious figure called Mister Harley Quin. ( Yes, it sounds a bit clumsy but I imagine it have sounded spirited and even a little gauche all those years ago.)I say relationship but I actually mean fleeting but significant contact.These are not stories specifically about crimes in the usual sense of the word, more a series of mysteries and injustices that the central character Mister Satthwaite finds himself encountering and strangely drawn to. Each time meeting Mister Quin who comes and goes in the blink of an eye and who seems to pursue an almost supernatural agenda.
Agatha Christie writes so movingly about the ageing process and what it feels like to be a person who lives beyond the time period they feel most comfortable in. In fifteen years time these stories will be over one hundred years old. The main character, as I said an ageing socialite and wilful snob of sorts, finds himself increasingly marginalised who race to party like there is no tomorrow. Bright young things in their glittering prime. It is beautiful world full of beautiful people doing beautiful things. If you can afford it. Mister Satthwaite can afford it but he still finds himself pushed to the side. A witness to the lives and experiences of others. a voyeur of a kind. He is a kind and patient man with great empathy for those about him and also the melancholy of an older man who sees the world he feels most comfortable in slipping away. Agatha Christie captures the flavor of dislocation and personal loss with a casuality that makes one believe she was no stranger to such feelings herself. In these tales of lost love, murder, scandal and suicide she covers the waterfront dipping her toes in all. Agatha Christie has worn the crown of the queen of crime for so long it is hard to imagine any one else sitting on that throne and who would really want to. Knives hover above and about thrones in most uncomfortable ways.This is an interesting and entertainingly rewarding collection of stories from a prolific pen. you occasionally feel as though you are at a swarthy ball in some huge country estate where you been handed a glass of champagne and a little mask on a stick. You are just waiting for the lights to blink and a strangled scream from somewhere nearby..