Author: Agatha Christie
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: May 26th to 28th, 2014
Read Count: 1
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.