The Mirror Crack’d From Side To Side

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

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The Mysterious Mr. Quin

Author: Agatha Christie
Publisher: Fontana
Star Rating: 5/5
Date Read: September 17th to 18th, 2013
Read Count: 1
Review:
Well that may just have been the best of Agatha Christie that I have read in my short life! I stayed up to finish it and write this review even though I’m dead tired and my eyes are falling out of my head.

I am yet to meet an Agatha Christie book I didn’t like (I hope the day never comes) but this collection of short stories starring the charming, lovable Mr. Satterthwaite and the strange relationship he holds with the elusive Mr. Quin has really stood out for me above most of the others that I’ve read. It may be because it was a book of short stories rather than a novel and so presented a different way of exploring the ever-changing cast of characters. Or maybe it simply is just the best of her writing.

Mr. Quin was fascinating. At one point I almost convinced myself he was nothing but a figment of Mr. Satterthwaite’s imagination until I remembered that he had spoken to and interacted with other characters. It was interesting that just the mere association of something with Mr. Quin brought out all of Mr. Satterthwaite’s deducing abilities, that he really had just amassed from being an observer of the people he knew – and sometimes didn’t know. But I guess that was the point. Just from ‘knowing’ Mr. Quin – that’s implying that Mr. Quin really did exist, because I’m still doubtful – Mr. Satterthwaite found a way to participate in all the drama of life, to solve mysteries that had mystified others, right past wrongs and save the innocent accused from being condemned. However, I still feel like, particularly once I’d reached the end of ‘Harlequin’s Lane’, that there was more to it and Dame Christie’s genius has just gone straight over my head. I am not afraid to admit I’m wrestling with that last story.

I was glad to read somewhere the both Mr. Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite make appearances in other Christie short stories/novels. I won’t be forgetting them in a hurry!

By The Pricking Of My Thumbs

Author: Agatha Christie
Series: Tommy and Tuppence, Book 4
Publisher: Fontana
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: October 9th to 11th, 2013
Read Count: 1
Review:
Wow that doll face on the cover is creepy! At the time I never guessed the significance of it the story but I should have realised that with Christie, every little detail plays a part. This was my first introduction to Tommy and Tuppence, who I have stumbled upon quite a few years later (according to the book’s timeline) from their previous adventures. This did not impact my reading experience in any way, as like with the Poirot books, Christie’s mystery books can be picked up at any point throughout the series and don’t have to be read in chronological order.

On reading the first few chapters, I couldn’t help but find myself having a giggle – Christie manages to infuse her novels with wit and humour that really makes an enjoyable experience for the reader. However, while Christie mysteries are often labelled ‘cozy’ or ‘armchair’ – and I see the reason for this, they’re the type of book you can picture yourself reading tucked up in a comfy armchair beside the fireplace! – and her main characters can be an older, certainly very unlikely, couple, nonetheless these books be accredited with clever twists and turns and always thrilling anticipation as you find yourself coming closer and closer to catching the killer. There’s those moments when you catch onto something and the moments when you realise you were wrong but you ‘had an idea about that guy!’

Agatha Christie is still, and always will be, the queen of mysteries.