Well that may just have been the best of Agatha Christie that I have read in my short life! I stayed up to finish it and write this review even though I'm dead tired and my eyes are falling out of my head.
I am yet to meet an Agatha Christie book I didn't like (I hope the day never comes) but this collection of short stories starring the charming, lovable Mr. Satterthwaite and the strange relationship he holds with the elusive Mr. Quin has really stood out for me above most of the others that I've read. It may be because it was a book of short stories rather than a novel and so presented a different way of exploring the ever-changing cast of characters. Or maybe it simply is just the best of her writing.
Mr. Quin was fascinating. At one point I almost convinced myself he was nothing but a figment of Mr. Satterthwaite's imagination until I remembered that he had spoken to and interacted with other characters. It was interesting that just the mere association of something with Mr. Quin brought out all of Mr. Satterthwaite's deducing abilities, that he really had just amassed from being an observer of the people he knew - and sometimes didn't know. But I guess that was the point. Just from 'knowing' Mr. Quin - that's implying that Mr. Quin really did exist, because I'm still doubtful - Mr. Satterthwaite found a way to participate in all the drama of life, to solve mysteries that had mystified others, right past wrongs and save the innocent accused from being condemned. However, I still feel like, particularly once I'd reached the end of 'Harlequin's Lane', that there was more to it and Dame Christie's genius has just gone straight over my head. I am not afraid to admit I'm wrestling with that last story.
I was glad to read somewhere the both Mr. Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite make appearances in other Christie short stories/novels. I won't be forgetting them in a hurry!