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Agatha Christie detectives: Harley Quin



Agatha Christie

(1890 - 1976)

"The best time to plan a book is while you're doing the dishes." Agatha Christie

The Mr. Quin stories mix genres and approaches to mystery. Some of the tales are romantic dramas, and have little crime or mystery elements. Among these, "The Soul of the Croupier" is especially satisfying. It reminds one of "The Listerdale Mystery" and "The Manhood of Edward Robinson", and is fairly light hearted in approach. Much grimmer, and with a definite feminist slant, is "The Man From the Sea".

Many of the Mr. Quin tales are puzzle plot detective stories. "The Shadow on the Glass" and "The Dead Harlequin" show the influence of G.K. Chesterton. The tales are somewhat unusual among Christie's work in that the crimes have a supernatural appearance.

This sort of detective work is more derived from the stories of Anna Katherine Green. One reason Christie's plots are so difficult to guess is that she uses such a variety of approaches in their solutions. The reader is not at all sure at the start of the tale what kind of story is about to unfold. In retrospect, after reading the solution, one can say that this or that story belongs among Christie's Chesterton like tales, or her Green like explorations of the past, or her Orczy like look at hidden relationships under surface appearances. But while reading the tales, the reader can expect Christie to unleash any or all of these approaches in her solution. It makes for a very baffling challenge.