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They Do It with Mirrors by Agatha Christie

They Do It with Mirrors (1952)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Miss Marple (5), Miss Marple: Chronological (14)

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2,310474,002 (3.56)79



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» See also 79 mentions

English (41)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
At a delinquents’ home, Jane Marple investigates an unknown threat, at the behest of an old friend.

Watching the Joan Hickson adaptation of "They Do It With Mirrors", I was struck by how many of the notable elements – the number of underage characters, the theatrical menace – struck me as rather un-Christie. Not surprisingly, reading the book shows that – as with many stories that venture outside characters she was familiar with – things begin to fall apart. "They Do It With Mirrors" is not a Marple highlight, but it’s an easy read. The strange setting – a country house doubling as an institution for troubled youths – is not very well realised, but the perennial upper-crust characters shine through in what is (intentionally or otherwise) a light examination of changing social mores.

Miss Marple’s hawk-eyed, gossipy personality is – of course – perfect for an amateur detective. Far more than any of the other amateurs Christie offered over the years, Jane Marple’s ruthless cunning can ultimately unravel any thread of mystery. (Unlike Poirot, I don’t think she ever gets things wrong, which can, unfortunately, make the occasional climax – "A Pocket Full of Rye", notably – seem wantonly reckless.) However, these books can often lack anything regarding a thrill – one can’t help feeling that a more active detective might have provided this. It’s no surprise that the best of the Marple novels either unite her with a co-detective (officially or narratively) or at least see the spinster knuckle down on some true investigation. There’s nothing wrong with "They Do It With Mirrors", but it’s one of the least memorable Marples.

[The U.S. title was "Murder with Mirrors". Perhaps they just wanted a title that assured you of the book's genre? Or perhaps, like me at eight years old, finding it on the library shelf, they found "they do it with mirrors" to be giggle-worthy. Puerile sort, perhaps?]

Marple ranking: 10th out of 14 ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
Fun although a bit more predictable than usual. ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
Working my way through all of Christie’s Miss Marple books, I hit two fantastic installments in a row, including this. In Murder with Mirrors (or, They Do It With Mirrors) Miss Marple appears before anyone has actually died!

Jane’s friend Ruth asks her to go and visit Ruth’s sister Carrie Louise because she feels sure there is something wrong in her household. Miss Marple takes her intuition seriously and heads to Stonygates, Carrie Louise’s home, where they have set up a foundation to help juvenile offenders escape a life of crime. Jane also meets Carrie Louise’s family: friend and companion Jolly, husband Lewis, daughter Mildred, step sons Alex and Steven and granddaughter Gina with her husband Walter. It isn’t long after arriving that Carrie’s other stepson Christian, on the board for the foundation, arrives unexpectedly – and is promptly murdered. Was he there on foundation business? Was it something to do with Carrie Louise’s health?

There were couple things about this mystery that I really loved. First, Miss Marple is actually part of the story and is involved from beginning to end. In previous books, I felt like she showed up toward the end just to “solve” the mystery. Here, she is seeing everything unfold so her deductions gave the reader more. Also, this is something of a locked door mystery, which I’m a fan of. Just about everyone has motive, but at the time of the murder they were all listening outside a door as Lewis had a violent confrontation with Edgar Lawson, one of the offenders. It’s possible one or more suspects could have slipped out, but how and why is where the fun begins. I thought the ultimate conclusion was excellent. The culprit made perfect sense – if you were paying attention! ( )
  jshillingford | Sep 18, 2018 |
I think I would have enjoyed this novel a lot more if I didn't already watch the Miss Marple movie for it. I'm a sucker for Helen Hayes and Bette Davis lol. Otherwise, this is typical Agatha Christie where you think one thing but it's really another. I enjoyed the characters a lot in this novel and as always, Miss Marple is the keen old lady with great perception skills. I'm enjoying reading these and seeing the trouble Jane Marple finds herself in and how her character grows from book to book. ( )
  IntrovertedBooks | Mar 26, 2018 |
Wealthy school friend Ruth asks Miss Marple to go visit Ruth's sister Carol Anne. Also wealthy and currently married to a man determined to find a cure for criminal behavior in young men, Carol Anne has always been rather dreamy and aloof, yet she is surrounded by people who adore her. At any time there is her housekeeper, granddaughter, two step sons and various troubled young men hanging about the house, all trying to make Carol Anne comfortable and happy, even when Carol Anne's former step son, staying over just one night, winds up dead.
I place this one right in the middle of the pack of Christies. Unusual plot, yet with that beautiful yet callous young woman who seems to worm her way through so many Christies. ( )
  mstrust | Feb 13, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Giachetti, LoredanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grimaldi, LauraContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickson, JoanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, LeenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leach, RosemaryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McAfee, MaraCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Miss Marple Omnibus (Volume 2) by Agatha Christie

Starring Miss Marple: A Murder is Announced, The Body in the Library, Murder with Mirrors by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie Crime Collection: Murder of Roger Ackroyd, They Do It With Mirrors, Mrs. McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie

"Zerkal'naia igra". "Ostorozhnyi ubiitsa". "Dvoe protiv inspektora Vesta" by Kristi Agata

Agatha Christie Collection by Agatha Christie

The Blue Geranium / The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side / The Herb of Death / They Do It With Mirrors / The Affair at the Bungalow by Agatha Christie

Has the adaptation

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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Matthew Prichard
First words
Mrs Van Rydock moved a little back from the mirror and sighed.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Issued under the titles: Murder with Mirrors; and They do it with Mirrors
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary
Miss Marple not on
best form as she discovers
cunning murderer.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451199901, Mass Market Paperback)

A Gothic mansion, a band of delinquent boys, a squandered family fortune, and a brutal murder. Who can tie all this together? Miss Jane Marple and Agatha Christie.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:23 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A murder at her friend Carrie's Gothic estate draws Miss Marple to the sprawling mansion, only to learn that the place has been turned into a home for delinquent boys, a development that leaves Carrie's relatives livid.

» see all 15 descriptions

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