"You'll pardon my pause, sir. But just the thought of that-that man makes me shiver. You always felt him before you ever saw him. The hairs would stand up on the back of your neck or you'd get goosebumps on your skin as if from a chill. But you never really saw him. Not really. Not straight on..." --Mary Reilly on Qwist.
With all the other characters in "The Continentals" being written in various shades of gray, I wanted to make one character purely and simply black. Purely and simply evil. And by far the most frayed thread in the tangled web connecting the Mangler murders is Daniel Abbeline's hired man, the psychotic Mr. Qwist. A hulking, sinister, homicidal maniac with an aristocratic flair and a taste for the sadistic. No one knows where Mr. Qwist came from to get here, or where he goes when he leaves, but one thing is certain--He leaves a trail of murder, rape, robbery, and intimidation in his wake that rivals the Mangler's own carnage.
But why would someone of society like Daniel Abbeline employ such a man? With Mr. Qwist, as with all things related to the Mangler murders, appearances can be deceiving. And as Smythe and Fiona come to discover, the essence of the Mangler murders is the purest definition of the word "identity". A much deeper psychological matter then mere appearance.
As the writer, creating Mr. Qwist on paper was easy. The tough job was Monique's. How do you draw a man driven by every base human desire that has ever moved man to action? The key was to remember that human beings are animals. With Mr.Qwist Monique had to emphasize the fact that he is a human-animal. Existing like an animal on impulse and instinct without the anchor of conscience whispering into his ear like an angel on his shoulder. No, Mr. Qwist is all devil inspired animal indulgence: Hungry? Eat. Thirsty? Drink. Tired? Sleep. Angry?...Kill!
Getting that animal to show through on his face was the real challenge of Mr. Qwist for Monique. I can't remember how many drafts we went through, but each successive draft seemed to be devolving Mr. Qwist more and more in an evolutionary way. Stripping him of all our societal constraints and making him more of the animal in a tailored suit I'd written. In the final version, his eyes locked in a heavily shadowed predatory glare, his forehead protruding ever so primate like, and his face stretched in a sinister cheshire cat grin, I think Monique succeeded in creating an animal who walks upright, hiding in plain sight amongst the unsuspecting citizens of Mansfordshire.
As deadly as Mr. Qwist's blade at your throat is a cutting remark casting dispersions on your line, your lineage, or yourself in Mansfordshire's posh westend social circles. And no tongue cuts more deeply then the high society socialite Evelynne Poole.