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The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by…

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (original 1962; edition 2011)

by Agatha Christie

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2,073293,198 (3.63)53
Title:The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by Agatha Christie (1962)




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The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side is my first Miss Marple mystery, despite having read many Poirot, a Tommy and Tuppence, a Harley Quin and a few standalones. By this stage of the books, Miss Marple is getting on a bit in years and clearly not as able as she used to be, but still sharp in mind, as she solves the mystery, more or less, from her chair. My first impression is that she is tough as nails and insightful into people and of course, human nature. It’s this insight, more than your average person has, that helps her solve many a mystery.

Miss Marple is living in changing times. In her village there has cropped up a new ‘Development’ (makes me think of the new estate in my beloved country town), mostly inhabited by young couples. Things just aren’t the same as they used to be. There’s a film star living in Gossington Hall, and this is where the trouble starts. At a fete at the hall, Heather Badcock from the Development is excitedly talking to Marina Gregg, the film star. A few minutes later she takes a sip of her drink and dies. When it becomes apparent that the drink was meant for Miss Gregg, and more people start dying, it is of course up to Miss Marple to find the murderer. As her caretaker Miss Knight hardly lets her leave the house, Miss Marple must rely on Detective-Inspector Craddock, the gossip of the village and it’s new Development and a stack of magazines to help her with this case.

Dame Christie’s story building can seem quite slow, particularly if you’ve never read any of her mysteries before. But I find her writing interesting and I like the way it builds. She is giving the reader a chance to work it out for themselves and she sets the scene quite nicely. You feel like you understand what’s going on in the village, no matter how far removed it seems from our time today. The villages of the quaint English countryside are very clear in my mind and I would love to visit one day! It always surprises me how much murder goes on there though, but there is always a reason and always a Miss Marple or a Poirot to work it out. And it’s so entertaining for us readers as we struggle to work out who and why. I have always enjoyed Christie’s writing, since my first read of her mysteries, and I am yet to meet one that I don’t enjoy. ( )
  crashmyparty | May 27, 2014 |
When Heather Babcock drinks a poisonous cocktail meant for American movie star Marina Gregg, Miss Marple is on the case. Who wants Marina Gregg dead? Is her husband fed up with her temperamental ways? What about her adopted children, who she abandoned when they were young? Then there is her husband's ex-wife (he cheated on her with Marina) who is back in town. So many suspects. Miss Marple and the local police are on the case, trying to figure out who killed Heather and trying to figure out if another attempt will be made on Marina.

This was a good read. All of the characters were well developed. We have a fragile movie star, her steady, understanding husband, efficient staff members and a seemingly nice woman in town who appears to be killed accidentally. Who could have done it? I must be on a roll because I actually figured out part of this one as well. Go Christine! I did not figure out every aspect of the crime(s) but once again, I love Miss Marple and her investigative skills. I definitely recommend this book for mystery fans. ( )
  Hanneri | Dec 26, 2013 |
Very enjoyable book with real depth of character - Christie really hit the nail on the head with her portrait of actresses and her take on fame is surprisingly relevant today. I was very moved by the story especially since the mystery is coupled with Marple's slow deterioration. Christie used the same kind of phasing out for Poirot so when the end came it wasn't that surprising and I can see she's doing it here. Not only is Marple compelled to keep up-to-date with celebrity gossip she cares nothing for (though she has a good grasp of human nature) to keep up with a changing world but her health is also declining. Reaching this point makes me really sad for it's a moment when Christie mentions things which just don't exist anymore and which I'd learned to expect - throughout the novel there's a discussion about the role of the parlourmaid, the younger generation not knowing what kind of profession that is and the older mourning how useful it was to have one about. Tennyson is of course mentioned a few times, as is Marple's Victorian prudishness. I really liked this book - I find that the Marple books are a lot more about psychology than they are about puzzles (the identity of the murderer here is unsurprising). I look forward to the last few books. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
THE MIRROR CRACK'D is an interesting novel from a number of points of view. It is of course probably one of Agatha Christie's better known stories, not the least because it has been filmed at least twice.

First of all, a couple of decades have passed since THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY which occurred in palatial home, Gossington Hall, of Colonel and Dolly Bantry, friends of a much younger Jane Marple. Miss Marple is now quite elderly, a bit down in the dumps, and a bit house bound.
Colonel Bantry has been long dead, Dolly has been tripping around the world visiting her grown up children and grandchildren, and her former home has been sold several times. Now it has become the home of stage and TV star Marina Gregg.

St. Mary Mead has changed too. The original village has expanded, and pressure for cheaper housing for the post war generation has led to new housing estates like the Development. The first few pages of the novel show Agatha Christie as a keen observer of social and economic trends as she describes how life has changed in the village. At the beginning of the novel Miss Marple escapes her minder (she now has to have a live-in carer) and takes herself for a walk at the Development. She trips and falls on the footpath and is kindly taken in for a cup of tea by Heather Badcock.

And then Marina Gregg throws a meeting at Gossington Hall for locals who will be involved in the arrangements for the fete in aid of the St. John Ambulance in the grounds. Dolly Bantry is not part of the committee but has been asked to afternoon tea before the meeting, which gives her a good chance to see what changes have been made since she was the owner. Miss Marple is not one of the guests and so Dolly is our eyes and ears. The attendees are rather like a who's who of St Mary Mead.

In the following chapter the fete gives all the locals including those who live in " the Development" the chance to view the opulence at Gossington Hall and so it is well attended. Marina Gregg comes face to face with Heather Badcock, whom she doesn't remember at all, until Heather supplies some details that bring the past flooding back to Marina. Once again, in Miss Marple's absence, we see things from Dolly Bantry's POV. Heather Badcock is taken ill and dies.

Enter Miss Marple. Dolly goes to visit her friend the very next day but Miss Marple already has the news from her daily help Cherry.

This is really a beautifully plotted novel, with threads and characters that not only link it to other Miss Marple stories, but extend right through the novel. Miss Marple does her sleuthing through the eyes of others and sits at home doing what her doctor calls "unravelling." In fact there are a further four novels in the series to come so Miss Marple is far from finished, despite her lack of mobility in this novel. ( )
  smik | Aug 30, 2013 |
Pretty good. Similar to End House. ( )
  bontley | Aug 24, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ballanti, LidiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benvenuti, StefanoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daly, GerryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.
Alfred Tennyson
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.
--Alfred Tennyson
To Margaret Rutherford in admiration
First words
Miss Jane Marple was sitting by her window.
'I don't--didn't dislike her.   But she's just not my type.  Too interfering."
"You mean inquisitive, nosy?"
"No I don't." said Cherry.   "I don't mean that at all.   She was a very kind woman and she was always doing things for people.   And she was always quite sure she knew the best thing to do.   What they thought about it wouldn't have mattered."   (Chapter 6.i)
"Why?  Did she bully him?"
"Oh, no," said Miss Marple, "but I don't think that she--well, she wasn't a considerate woman.   Kind, yes.  Considerate, no.   She would be fond of him, and look after him when he was ill and see to his meals and be a good housekeeper, but I don't think she would ever--well, that she would ever even know what he might be feeling or thinking.   That makes rather a lonely life for a man."  (Chapter 8.ii)
"Heather Badcock meant no harm.   She never did mean harm, but there is no doubt that people like Heather Badcock (and my old friend Alison Wilde) are capable of doing a lot of harm because they lack--not kindness, they have kindness--but any real consideration for the way their actions may affect other people.   She always thought of what an action meant to her, never sparing a thought for what it might mean to somebody else."  (Chapter 23.i)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451199898, Mass Market Paperback)

Movie star Marina Gregg stars in a real-life mystery when her biggest fan is poisoned. Scene stealer Miss Jane Marple suspects that the lethal cocktail was intended for someone else, and wonders who's next for a final fade-out.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:44 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Celebrate Miss Marple's first 70 years of solving crimes with this new repackaged edition. Screen queen Marina Gregg takes up residence in the village of St. Mary Mead. When a fan is poisoned, Miss Marple suspects the lethal cocktail was intended for someone else. If it was meant for Marina, then why?… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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