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Miss Marple #9

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side

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One minute, silly Heather Badcock had been gabbing on to her movie idol, the glamorous Marina Gregg. The next, Heather suffered a massive seizure. It turned out to be a deadly poison. But for whom was it really intended?

Marina’s frozen expression suggested she had witnessed something horrific. While others searched for material evidence, Jane Marple conducted a very different investigation – into human nature.

Librarian's note: this entry is for the novel, "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side." Collections and other Miss Marple stories are located elsewhere on Goodreads. The series includes 12 novels and 20 short stories. Entries for the short stories can be found by searching Goodreads for: "a Miss Marple Short Story."

351 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1962

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About the author

Agatha Christie

4,057 books58.4k followers
Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in Romance. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation. According to Index Translationum, she remains the most-translated individual author, having been translated into at least 103 languages. She is the creator of two of the most enduring figures in crime literature-Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple-and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, U.K., as the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha's senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880–1929), called Monty, ten years older than Agatha.

Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; later working at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels.

Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During her first marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines.

In late 1926, Agatha's husband, Archie, revealed that he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele, and wanted a divorce. On 8 December 1926 the couple quarreled, and Archie Christie left their house, Styles, in Sunningdale, Berkshire, to spend the weekend with his mistress at Godalming, Surrey. That same evening Agatha disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Her disappearance caused an outcry from the public, many of whom were admirers of her novels. Despite a massive manhunt, she was not found for eleven days.

In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie's death in 1976.

Christie frequently used familiar settings for her stories. Christie's travels with Mallowan contributed background to several of her novels set in the Middle East. Other novels (such as And Then There Were None) were set in and around Torquay, where she was born. Christie's 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express was written in the Hotel Pera Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, the southern terminus of the railway. The hotel maintains Christie's room as a memorial to the author. The Greenway Estate in Devon, acquired by the couple as a summer residence in 1938, is now in the care of the National Trust.

Christie often stayed at Abney Hall in Cheshire, which was owned by her brother-in-law, James Watts. She based at least two of her stories on the hall: the short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, and the novel After the Funeral. Abney Hall became Agatha's greatest inspiration for country-house life, with all the servants and grandeur which have been woven into her plots.

To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club.

Wikipedia entry

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,232 reviews
Profile Image for Brina.
887 reviews4 followers
June 21, 2022
There is nothing like staying up late on a summer evening reading a mystery to discover whodunit. Mysteries have long been one of my favorite genres to read. While I have a few contemporary series I do enjoy, there is no one who measures up to the queen of mystery writing, Agatha Christie. I am generally a fan of her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, but I have recently discovered her other famous sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. In A Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, Miss Marple is once again front and center as murders shake up life in her sleepy village.

It is the post war era, and St Mary Mead has grown from a sleepy village to a modern town with a grocery store and upscale housing development. The taxi service has been sold, yet older residents still refer to as its old name Inch. Their is a new vicar and Miss Bantry has sold the prominent Gossington Hall to movie star Marina Gregg and her husband Jason Rudd. Yet, Miss Marple is still a prominent fixture in the village despite all of the changes around her. She is now an octogenarian and still lives in her home, but her nephews have provided her with a live in housekeeper. Her mind is still as sharp as a tack, and her physician teases her that her unraveling of murder cases is what she needs to remain healthy.

In this case Agatha Christie addresses ageism is she has the housekeeper treating Miss Marple like a feeble invalid even should she remains sound in body and mind. One day she takes a walk in the new housing development on her daily exercises and encounters one Heather Badcock. Badcock reminds Miss Marple of an old acquaintance who is self-centered in a positive sort of way. The next day Marina Gregg throws a fete at Gossington Hall, and Badcock, who is a huge fan, attends. The evening ends in tragedy as Badcock is murdered. Just what the doctor ordered, Miss Marple is on the case. She declares that no one would want to murder a woman like Heather Badcock. Marina Gregg must have been the intended target, and Miss Marple sets about assisting the police in unraveling the mystery.

Christie presents a large cast of characters each with many layers and backstories that have me guessing until the end. Marina Gregg's story is ripped from the headlines as she represents a prominent Hollywood star who has been married five times and seeks life in a small village like St Mary Mead to settle down. Her current husband Jason Rudd highly doubts that Gregg will ever settle down but he showers her with love none the less. Miss Marple reads magazines about the lifestyles of the rich and famous as part of her investigation. As always, she is a step ahead of both the local and Scotland Yard police who are still clueless as more deaths occur at Gossington Hall. Yet, Miss Marple reads people extremely well, and assists her nephew Inspector Braddock in cracking the case before its too late.

Even though I thoroughly enjoy Hercule Poirot's use of little gray cells, I am enjoying Miss Marple more and more with each case. In a quaint village no one knows more about what goes on than women who make gossip into a sport, and no one hears more than Miss Marple. This makes her privy to most information in St Mary Mead and has her solving mysteries at an age when most people are happy to be sitting at home. I do like how Christie in her older age addresses the issue of age discrimination in her books. Just because one is old does not make one feeble minded, as Miss Marple proves by solving the case before the police do. It is always a treat to read Agatha Christie, and A Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side ended up being an enjoyable 3.75 stars.
Profile Image for Adrian.
552 reviews196 followers
January 17, 2020
Firstly let's say it's a shame that this does not have a separate entry as it is not the audiobook of the novel, it is an abridged dramatisation starring June Whitfield as Miss Marple. These BBC dramatisations are excellent to listen to whilst decorating (my wife and I have been re-painting some of the rooms in the house). I think the dramatisation is good, maybe a 4 star listen, however as I marked the book as 5 stars, I will leave it at 5 stars.

Well, there I was all happy that I had all the Agatha Christie books, courtesy of my mother, so participating in the Miss Marple Challenge was going to be fun. Then we got to July and all of sudden I found my mother didn't actually leave me all the Agatha Christie books, so I had to go hunting for the matching volumes i was missing (4 missing out of 39 I think). Anyway courtesy of Abe books I now DO have all Agatha Christie books.
Ok here we go....

You know its strange, I knew there was a big clue right at the start as I was reading, but for the life of me, I couldn't see how it tied in, until the denouement.
That said, It was to me one of the most enjoyable of the Miss Marples so far. Jane (dare I call her that ?), because of her increasing age, doing virtually all of her investigation from her house, with the odd sortie to the "Development". Its great to see the re-appearance of Mrs Bantry and to know that Miss Marple (I had to revert to her full title, slapped wrists for being too casual) is still going strong.
Bring on the next, which I definitely do have !!!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
August 8, 2020
The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (Miss Marple, #9), Agatha Christie

Abstract: Original publication year 1962. While recovering from an illness, Jane Marple goes out for a walk in St. Mary Mead and takes a fall. She encounters Heather Badcock, who brings her to her home and relates a story of meeting American actress Marina Gregg, who has moved to England to star in a film about Elisabeth of Austria and purchased Gossington Hall from Marple's friend Dolly Bantry. ...

Characters: Chief Inspector Craddock, Miss Jane Marple, Mrs Cherry Baker, Jim Baker, Miss Knight, Dolly Bantry, Dr Haydock, Marina Gregg, Jason Rudd, Giuseppe, Dr Gilchrist, Ella Zielinsky, and ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوازدهم ماه دسامبر سال 2011 میلادی

عنوان: آینه سر تا سر ترک برداشت، نویسنده: آگاتا کریستی؛ مترجم: مجتبی عبدالله نژاد، نشر: تهران، هرمس، 1389، در 301 ص.، اندازه 11 × 19 س‌.م. شابک: 9789643636487؛

هنرپیشه محبوب و زیبا «مارینا کرگ»، به همراهی همسرش «جیسون راد»، زمین­های «گوسینگتون هال» را خریداری می­کنند.؛ در زمین­های آن­ها جشنی برگزار می­شود، برای گردآوری پول، جهت سازمان «سنت جان»، بیشتر اهالی، از جمله «هدرکوک»، در جشن شرکت می­کنند.؛ او در جشن مسموم می­شود، و دوشیزه «مارپل» سرنخ­هایی دارند...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 17/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Susan.
2,603 reviews599 followers
March 18, 2023
This Miss Marple novel is set in St Mary Mead, but it is a village that has seen changes. Miss Marple’s old friend, Dolly Bantry, has sold Gossington Hall and moved into the East Lodge, while ‘the Development’ – a new housing estate, encroaches on the very outskirts of the village. There is even a supermarket, which is viewed with suspicion by elderly ladies, who enjoy shopping as a form of social interaction and are not necessarily in a rush to hurl items into a basket. Miss Marple is more elderly in this novel and has a ‘daily’ in young Cherry Baker, from the ‘Development,’ and has the bossy Miss Knight staying in the house as she has been unwell. Although Miss Marple knows that Miss Knight is meant as a kindness by her ever supportive nephew, Raymond West, she bristles under her attentions and is always finding errands to send her on to regain her freedom.

One day, having slipped away from Miss Knight’s careful ministrations, she ventures into the Development and has fall, being gathered up and taken in by the voluble Heather Badcock. Mrs Badcock tells her a long story about when she met the movie actress, Marine Gregg, who is now living at Gossington Hall. The story revolves around an escapade when she was younger and left her sick bed to go to a fete where Miss Gregg was presiding in order to get her autograph. She tells this story again some days later to Miss Gregg herself at another fete, this time at Gossington Hall. To everyone’s surprise, shortly after meeting Miss Gregg, Heather Badcock collapses and dies. Mrs Bantry is quick to inform Miss Marple, telling her that, while she unfolded her story, Marina Gregg looked frozen in shock – much like the Lady of Shalott…

It is obvious that Miss Marple needs an interest and so she is keen to learn all she can about the murder; even going as far as gathering up an armful of gossipy film magazines from the hairdresser. When her godson, Dermot Craddock, arrives to investigate, he keeps her informed and it is, of course, Miss Marple who untangles the mystery. For who should murder a perfectly innocent, well meaning, if somewhat nosy, middle-aged woman? Was the real victim meant to be Marina Gregg and, if so, is she in danger? This is a really enjoyable mystery. There is an excellent cast of characters, including the glamorous Marina Gregg, who both takes to her bed and has hysterics with enjoyable frequency. You feel that Agatha Christie really enjoyed writing this and she combines the changing, more modern landscape (this was published in 1962) with the traditional, village mystery, very cleverly.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
510 reviews390 followers
May 28, 2022
The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side is one of the most cleverly written murder mysteries in the Marple series. In fact, it falls with the lot I consider to be Agatha Christie's best. The story captured me from the beginning, even before the murder-mystery plot was introduced. The early chapters on Miss Marple and her efforts at adapting to the social changes coming about were very interesting. I was drawn to it to the point of forgetting that I was there to read a murder mystery. :)

The plot is based on quite an intelligent premise, and the overall story is carefully and methodically composed around it. Christie has taken great care not to spill the beans too soon, so the guessing game continued until the final couple of chapters. Even then, I wasn't quite sure who the criminal was. And the motive was beyond my imagination. So I'll admit defeat and will confess that Christie won the battle. Before I move on, I must add a word on the motive. It is one of the most sensitive and sympathetic ones. I almost pitied the criminal.

As much as the story, I enjoyed the characters and the setting too. It seems that I like Miss Marple stories the best when they are set in St. Mary Mead. I feel that Miss Marple is in her best element when she is within her own surrounding. :) Her presence is not marked as much as we want to, but it is felt throughout, specially through Chief Inspector Dermot Craddock.

It was a gratifying read, overall. Having read many murder mysteries, I need a little more push to go that extra mile from just enjoying to thoroughly enjoying to the point of satisfaction. I'm happy to have got it here. This novel is one of my favourite Marple and favourite Agatha Christie.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,868 reviews69.2k followers
February 6, 2023
A really good Christie mystery for Marple fans.
The victim, Heather Babcock, is one of those idiots that gets on everyone's nerves. You know, a pushy do-gooder that forces their help on everyone?
It's not sad when she bites it.


Some of the plot threads are pretty far-fetched and the coincidences are over the top at times.
But! Still a really good read, in my opinion.

Publisher: HarperAudio
Edition: Unabridged
Joan Hickson - Narrator
Profile Image for James.
Author 18 books3,536 followers
March 8, 2022
I'm re-reading Agatha Christie's Miss Marple series, and it always brings me joy. In The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, an American actress purchases a charming old estate in/near St. Mary Mead, England... and in her grand opening party, a guest is poisoned. We soon learn the glass had been meant for the actress herself... why could someone in another country want her dead? Miss Marple helps the local Scotland Yard investigators figure it out. And as usual, she's one step ahead of everyone else. I had somewhat forgotten the plot of this tale, but as soon as a character told a brief story about her past, I remembered exactly what would happen. Several more deaths. A few hidden secrets. And a witty detective who loves gardening. The suspense build-up was fantastic. Christie might take 100 words to say something that only needs 10, but she knows how to amp up the drama and drive readers directly into the action. Can't wait to start the next one later this month... and when I'm finished with the 13 Marple books (last one is her collection of short stories), I'll dive into Poirot again.
Profile Image for Rodrigo.
1,007 reviews384 followers
June 17, 2022
Pues me ha gustado y eso que ha arrancado algo lento, pero el final me ha encantado a pesar de que a mi primer sospechoso lo dieran boleto (últimamente me matan a mis sospechosos jajaja)rápidamente.
Bueno esta es la sinopsis: La típica tranquilidad de St. Mary Mead se ve turbada por un acontecimiento cinematográfico: Marina Gregg y su marido, el productor Jason Rude, han comprado la casa de los Bantry. Los nuevos inquilinos deciden dar una fiesta a beneficio del hospital local a la que asisten todas las fuerzas vivas de la población. En el transcurso del guateque, muere Mrs. Badcock, al parecer de un ataque. Esto da mucho que pensar a miss Marple, dado que la salud de la difunta era excelente, y decide tirar de los hilos para deshacer la madeja del misterio.
Y es que no solo hay un muerto sino, que empiezan a acumularse rápidamente, siendo la parte donde me he despedido de mi sospechoso (que mala suerte, por Dios...).
Nuestra querida chismosa en este libro parece que esta un poco renqueante y no podrá meter mucho las narices, pero tiene una excelente red de informantes que le ayudaran a conocer el caso y poder al final resolverlo.
Profile Image for Constantine.
809 reviews128 followers
May 26, 2022
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Mystery + Classics

When glamorous movie star Marina Gregg moves into the town to shoot for a movie and settle there eventually, one of her fans dies at the party she threw. At first, it is thought that she might have had a heart attack, but the medical report then suggests it is an overdose of a drug. Murder is suspected to be the case and it does not stop there as there will be more victims until the clever old lady Miss Marple solves the case for Inspector Craddock.

What a charming story! Like fresh air. I know this is not something appropriate to say about murder mysteries but I can’t help it. More than the mystery itself, Agatha Christie has mastered building her characters and giving them flesh and blood. The characters are so strong and lively in this story. Starting from Miss Knight who is Miss Marple’s new caretaker. She is so annoying to Miss Marple but so funny to the reader. She treated the old lady like a toddler, talking to her in the plural form all the time. I found myself laughing loudly whenever she was in the scene. “Here we are! I hope we’ve had our little snooze?”. The other characters were strong and fleshed out too, the inspector, the actress, and her husband. Even the small characters had their own charm and personality.

The mystery in this book is quite effective. It makes you question all the characters. Of course, the author wants you to suspect them all by giving them the motive to commit the murder. Many readers categorize Christie’s books in the cozy mystery genre but in my humble opinion, Agatha Christie herself is a genre to which no other books belong. I had such a wonderful reading time with this book.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,136 reviews1,316 followers
June 12, 2021
Seeing how Christie incorporates the changing times over her longevity has been one of the pleasures of reading all her books in publication order.
It's also the first time that I've felt that this is a latter day Christie.

The novel opens with Jane Marple recovering from illness - she's clearly showing her age.
This is a character that was first published in the 1930's and with a 1960's development impreaching on the quaint village of St. Mary's Mead - times certainly are changing...

With the modernisation of the village brings glamorous film star Marina Gregg.
Again the idea of Christie's works reviving more adaptations is touched upon as this title is dedicated to Margaret Rutherford (who played Marple on screen).

The mystery revolves around the death of doting fan Heather Badcock drinking a cocktail of poisoning from a glass intended for the movie star.
Heather was offered a drink after an accidental spillage, this leads to an investigation as to who intended to harm the actress.

Even in her fourth decade of writing Christie shows no sign of slowing down, I was completely flummoxed by who could have done it - honing all the clues still kept me puzzled.
Thankfully I've still got 13 titles still to enjoy.
Profile Image for Issa Deerbany.
374 reviews400 followers
February 15, 2017
احدى المدعوات الى حفل خيري تموت فجأة عن طريق التسمم
من قتلها في هذا الحشد الكبير .
بعد التحقيقات يتبين انها ليست المقصودة بل واعية الحفل ممثلة شابة.
لغز مثير ومشوق
والسيدة العجوز مَس ماربل استطاعت ان تحلل القضية بطريقة تحليلية رائعة

Profile Image for Raquel Estebaran.
282 reviews160 followers
October 29, 2022
Novela de misterio en la que Miss Marple, que sufre de algunos achaques, investiga sutilmente el asesinato de una invitada ocurrido durante un evento realizado en casa de una famosa actriz.

Muy buena ambientación, con una pequeña población en la que soplan vientos de cambio, progreso y nostalgia por el pasado.

Muy buenas y a veces divertidas interacciones entre los personajes, con el inspector jefe Craddock al mando de la investigación y con una ya no tan activa pero siempre aguda y en ocasiones divertida Miss Marple que, además de intentar reconstruir los hechos, lidia con una pesada y en exceso solícita cuidadora que intenta evitarle emociones.
Profile Image for Rachel.
352 reviews156 followers
July 28, 2022
As usual my trust issues and I thought every character was guilty (including the blameless Ms. Marple) and yet I still didn’t come within a mile of the twist.

AC gets me again 😭
Profile Image for JAMES AKER.
114 reviews37 followers
December 7, 2008
The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side is an English Village mystery of the first order. The title comes from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem the Lady of Shalott. All the Christie touches are here. This is a classic Christie mystery told firmly in her inimitable style with a most interesting true to life motive for murder. There is an interesting aside about the plot of this convoluted tale. It seems that Christie based her story on a real life tragedy. This story was related to Ms. Christie in some fashion regarding the then film actress Gene Tierney of “Laura” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” fame. A warning to the reader, the rest of this review contains spoilers.

In 1943 Ms. Tierney was happily married to Oleg Cassini and expecting her first child. She was scheduled to appear at the Hollywood Canteen. It was there that she was approached by an excited fan, a woman Marine, who claimed to be "Gene Tierney’s greatest fan" for an autograph. Always willing to accommodate Ms. Tierny granted the delighted young woman’s wish. Shortly after her appearance, Ms. Tierney contracted Rubella and as a result her daughter Daria was born prematurely with severe mental retardation and birth defects. Her marriage to Cassini after a long difficult struggle broke apart due in greater part to the pressure of caring for Daria. At a later post war party Tierney was apparently approached by the woman she had met at The Hollywood Canteen years before and told how she had sneaked out of quarantine for measles to see "her favorite star" at the Hollywood Canteen. In her own words, “I just silently looked at her and then walked away” “After that I didn't care whether ever again I was anyone's favorite actress."

It was from this moment that Ms. Tierney’s mental spiral downward began. She had a major mental breakdown in the 1950s. It was some years later, after a suicide attempt, shock treatments, and much time in institutions including a time at the famed Menninger Clinic that Ms. Tierney finally beat her demons back and emerged a whole person once more. But the damage had been done. Large portions of her memory were lost as a result of the Shock Treatments. Her life and the lives of those dearest to her were changed forever by a careless moment and a selfish fan.

He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."
Tennyson- The Lady of Shalott

Christie undoubtedly read of this heartbreaking incident in Tierney’s autobiography and made use of the tragedy as a plot device for her excellent story.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore.
745 reviews164 followers
June 18, 2017
Book 8 for the Miss Marple Challenge. This one takes us back to St Mary Mead but what a different St Mary Mead it is. No long the quiet, quaint country village, many changes have taken place. The old country homes sold, a new “development” with new inhabitants, a department store, and even a film studio close by. The older residents of St Mary Mead―Miss Marple among them―try to come to terms with and adapt to the changes, thankful for what is left of the old life. But Miss Marple soon realises, however much things might change, human beings and human nature remain pretty much the same. Her skills and knowledge are once again put to the test when Mrs Badcock, literally falls down dead at Gossington Hall (the former residence of the Bantrys where the “body in the library” was found”. But Heather Badcock was a nice though talkative woman to whom no one could have intended any harm. It soon turns out that the intended victim may have been the actress Marina Gregg who with her husband Jason Rudd, now live at Gossington Hall. The case once again finds its way to Craddock, now Chief Inspector, who reports straight to “headquarters” as he calls it―Aunt Jane’s home. With him undertaking the more active parts of the investigation, and with help from her current domestic, Cherry Baker, Miss Marple tries to put together what really happened, at the same time trying to contend with Miss Knight, a nurse/companion placed in her home by her nephew Raymond West who insists on treating poor Miss Marple as an “old dear” who mustn’t have any excitement.

This was a Marple book I hadn’t read before but I had seen an adaptation (with Elizabeth Taylor) long ago so did remember whodunit. But still, the puzzle is once again complicated though an element of it is similar to what one has seen in AC’s books (at least two others, with Miss Marple in one of them). Despite this, she would have (had I not remembered the answer) thrown me off-track quite successfully. There are unexpected coincidences and more deaths along the way (I did find myself thinking of Midsomer Murders and how there seemed bodies aplenty there, always). But nothing can mislead Miss Marple for long, for though she may be older and frailer, her mind is as sharp as ever. This was an enjoyable read for me both for the puzzle itself as well as the social commentary that it includes. Four and a half stars.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,326 reviews95 followers
May 18, 2017
I really thought I had this one figured out.
It begins to look like a famous actress has a murderer after her. Luckily the main detective on the case has this sweet little old aunt who is really nosy.
Miss Marple finds clues no one else does and has a line of gossipy friends. Gotta love Agatha Christie!
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,219 reviews164 followers
October 2, 2017
“Do you remember the Lady of Shalott? The mirror crack’d from side to side: ‘The doom has come upon me,’ cried the Lady of Shalott. Well, that’s what she looked like.

I very much enjoyed re-reading this Christie mystery, not for the murder as such - the identity of the culprit and reason branded in my mind - which was very well crafted, but for Miss Marple’s growing loss of patience with her situation. Our famous spinster is driven to exasperation at the administrations of the kind but infuriating Miss Knight, oblivious of her effect around her. I must admit I also hate people using the plural personal pronoun when talking to someone, i.e. “How are we today?”. I’d be crawling up the wall like Miss Marple, but it was a surprise to see her dealing with it, and yes, funny, which was very much needed since this is a rather sad story.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
August 30, 2020
“Do you remember the Lady of Shalott? The mirror crack’d from side to side: ‘The doom has come upon me,’ cried the Lady of Shalott. Well, that’s what she looked like. People laugh at Tennyson nowadays, but the Lady of Shalott always thrilled me when I was young and it still does.”

The 9th Miss Marple mystery by Agatha Christie, one of dozens of novels she wrote, and one of more than fifty I have read. I think it is one of the better later Christies, written at the age of 72, focused on an aging Jane Marple who reflects on aging after having taken a fall that keeps her home and requires her to depend, in solving the mystery, on the help of the delightful young Laura, and Detective Craddock, who bring her information.

Here's the full poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, that Christie refereces in the title and several times throughout, even concluding the book with the poem's closing lines:


The action takes place in Marple's small provincial town, St. Mary Mead, and at Gossington Hall, where a previous murder (and an earlier Marple mystery) took place. The hall has been purchased by a film star, Marina Gregg (who is based on an encounter Christie had with the actress Gene Tierney and her husband Oleg Cassini). By this time Christie knows the world of film, since many of her books have been adapted, so she gets to make a reflection on fame and celebrity that seems very thoughtful and sympathetic to Gregg/Tierney. There's a consideration of the role of parenting, motherhood, that figures in the story, too.

Oh, and there's a murder to be solved! A poisoning that takes place at a party, of course, and another murder follows. Marple has to look back many years to figure out this one, and I liked how it works out better than I expected I would.

And about Miss Marple? A late assessment in the book of her captures some of the attraction to her as a character: "It was her prying curiosity - her gift of putting odd bits together to form a picture that gave the locals and Scotland Yard the proper solution. Long life to her."

“Miss Marple made a ladylike noise of vexation like a cat sneezing to indicate profound disgust.”

“You’re always surprising me,” she said. “The things you take an interest in.”
“I take an interest in everything,” said Miss Marple.
“I mean taking up new subjects at your age.”
Miss Marple shook her head. “They aren’t really new subjects. It’s human nature I’m interested in, you know, and human nature is much the same whether it’s film stars or hospital nurses or people in St. Mary Mead or,” she added thoughtfully, “people who live in the Development.”
Profile Image for Hamad.
990 reviews1,306 followers
February 14, 2023
“One has to dare if one wants to get anywhere,' said Mrs. Bantry.”

Another murder mystery by Christie with all the usual elements of a Miss Marple mystery. This time Heather Badcock is poisoned in a party a few minutes after meeting her idol who seems to be the person who should have been poisoned.

The book begins with Miss Marple babbling about the modern life and how everything seems to be changing and I just love her discussion of the human nature which is also a very important of her investigations.

The writing is great as usual, and I started it in the morning and finished it at night so another book that I finish within 24 hours by Christie. The plot kept me guessing till the last minute and tbh I thought about the possibility of what ended up being the explanation, but I was never sure of it as I put other options too. When it was explained, I was in awe because it was super interesting specially for someone in the medical field.

I am enjoying those Miss Marple books more and more now, but I am kind of sad that I have a few of them left. Looking forward to the next one already!
Profile Image for Celia&#x1fa90;.
505 reviews1 follower
February 27, 2023
Que pena lo que me ha pasado con esta novela. Tengo un buen montón (nunca lo suficientemente grande) de novelas de Agatha Christie esperando a ser leídas en mi estantería. Como llevaba varias semanas teniendo mono de leer algo de la Reina del Crimen, cogí la primera que me llamo la atención sin mirar tan siquiera su sinopsis por internet (tengo esta novela en una edición bastante antigua de la Biblioteca de Oro de la editorial Molino, en la que no te cuentan el argumento en la parte de atrás del tomo). Así que a las pocas páginas de empezar a leer, me di cuenta de que ya conocía la historia. Había visto hace la tira de años su adaptación cinematográfica del año 1980, con Liz Tylor, Angela Lansbury, Rock Hudson y Kim Novak. Si no fue la primera, primerísima, película que vi basada en una de las novelas de Agatha Christie, fue una de las primeras. No recordaba muchas cosas del argumento, pero si lo más importante: quién era asesinado, quien lo hacía y el motivo por el cual cometido el crimen. Es decir, ya desde el principio se había perdido la gracia de esta lectura.Suerte que el libro era de Agatha Christie, si no probablemente lo hubiera dejado de lado por no tener ya ese factor sorpresa.

El pequeño pueblecito de St Mary Mead está creciendo a pasos agigantados. Ejemplo de ello es la llegada al lugar de la famosa actriz Marina Gregg y su marido, que han comprado y remodelado una casa para poder vivir ahí. Durante una recepción, que hacen ahí con fines benéficos, una de las vecinas del pueblo, Heather Babcock, muere rápida y sorpresivamente. Pronto la resolución del crimen se mostrara escurridiza para la inmensa mayoria de los implicados, ya que todo parece indicar que la señora Babcock no estaba en el punto de mira del asesino. Pero nada puede escapar a la perspicaz inteligencia de la vecina más carismática del lugar, Jane Marple, con su perspicacia y agudo conocimiento del alma humana.

Qué pena haber sabido el meollo de la cuestión desde el principio. Por ello me he perdido mucha tensión y diversión. Y de la buena. Porque realmente creo que esta es una de las mejores novelas de la tía Agatha. Mientras leía, no sé si porque ya sabía de que iba el percal o qué, pero tenía la impresión de que desde las páginas se podía intuir a la reina del crimen riéndose alegremente del lector, por la manera con que jugaba con él. De todas las que he leído protagonizadas por Miss Marple probablemente esta obra sea una de las mejores armadas. Por ser vulgar, Christie “trolea” a base de bien al lector, ya que le lleva por unos derroteros en los que todo parece engañosamente nítido. Para acabar demostrándose que si, que todo era tan enrevesado como sencillo. Pero que eso no tiene porque significar que sea claro. En el fondo esta novela, como muchas otras de la autora, es la clara muestra de como todo es más fácil de lo que parece, pero al final es el propio ser humano el que lo lia y lo complica todo. La verdad, simple y llana, muchas veces es lo que se ve a primera vista. De ahí que toda esta novela acabe convirtiéndose en un juego de espejos donde esta llaneza se termina deformando y jugando con el lector y los personajes. No en vano, la obra recibe su nombre de un verso de Tennyson, y como todo lo que hacia Christie tiene su motivo:

«La telaraña salió volando y ondeó en el vacío;
El espejo se quebró de lado a lado;
“la maldición cae sobre mí”, gritó
la Dama de Shalott.»

El hecho de que esta novela sea tan buena, se demuestra que, pese a conocer su desenlace, me has tenido enganchada de principio a fin. Pese a todo, ha sido una auténtica gozada de lectura, con un misterio, como he dicho antes, muy bien estructurado. Con unos pocos elementos, una ambientación rural y unos personajes desarrollados de una forma simple, pero muy bien llevada, Christie se las apaña para hacer una historia solvente y adictiva. Quizás el principio me haya parecido un poco lento, pero es que en esta novela se da mucho peso a los cambios que está sufriendo el antaño idílico y sereno pueblo de St Mary Mead, que está creciendo y metamorfoseando al son de la evolución social , de clases y económica que se dio tras la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Junto al propio crimen, esta es una de las fuerzas motoras de la novela, a la cual Agatha dedica comentarios bastante ácidos. Otro tema que se trabaja también mucho es la forma en que los años van pasándole factura a la entrañable miss Marple, quien ahora tiene que tener en su casa una asistenta con la que no acaba de congeniar. Físicamente puede que Miss Marple ya no sea una jovencita, pero no te tardará en dejar claro que con la edad lo que no ha perdido es ni un ápice de sus facultades, y que cuando todo lo demás ha pasado eso no deja de ser significativo, ya una persona mayor no es menos válida que otra más joven. Y bien que lo demuestra.

Todo esto da al libro un componente emocional, muy interesante, amén de muchas capas. Dejando claro, una vez más, que las cosas con la reina del crimen son directas, pero no faltas de complejidad o matices. A todo esto hay que sumar las menciones a otras novelas protagonizadas por la popular detective aficionada, como “Muerte en la Vicaria” (la primera en ma que apareció nuestra protagonista) o “Un Cadáver en la Biblioteca” (para mi, junto a este que nos ocupa, el mejor de los protagonizados por Miss Marple). Si no las has leído alguna de estas novelas quizás te sientas un tanto perdido. Pero si sí las conoces, las menciones resultar un placer. Y más cuando algunos de los personajes que fueron importantes en ellas vuelven a hacer acto de aparición, cobrando no menos relevancia, como en el caso de Dorothy Bantry.

En definitiva “El Espejo se Rajó de Lado a Lado” es una novela más que meritoria de la autora de misterios más famosas de todos los tiempos. Y creo que el que lo haya disfrutado tanto aun sabiendo por donde iban a ir los tiros de la buena fe de ello, y aunque eso le haya quitado para mi estrellas de su puntuación. Una vez más, Agatha Christie lo consigue: crear una novela en la que la tensión va a creciendo, página a página, con muy buen ritmo y repleta de giros de guion que descolocan al lector y le hacen dudar de todos los personajes. Una obra llena de capas y con la complejidad de las cosas más sencillas, como puede verse en su protagonista, la actriz Marina Gregg, que me ha parecido uno de los personajes más interesantes de las últimas obras que he leído de Christie, por todo lo que oculta su propia personalidad. Como los buenos misterios, inclusive esta novela, tiene algo de errático y cimbreante que te atrapa y te hace romperte la cabeza desde el principio.
Profile Image for Karl Jorgenson.
522 reviews26 followers
March 21, 2022
Christie is such a master. Engaging characters, all of whom have suspicious or shady behaviors, a vivid view of English society, and always a clever mystery, a murder or murders with clues in plain sight that most readers will miss (with help from the characters.) It's a cozy, I suppose, but so much more than a typical cozy.
Profile Image for Dawn .
175 reviews25 followers
February 28, 2023
This one made me a little sad as Miss Marple is feeling old, and can't see well enough to knit 😥
The usual good standard of mystery though, of course, which has stood the test of time.
5,277 reviews99 followers
March 26, 2021
4 Stars. Christie's Miss Marple mysteries are studies in human nature, what makes us tick, what sparks the wicked in some, and how insights can lead to resolution. Here she is at her best. Elizabeth Taylor and Angela Lansbury led a sparkling cast in the 1980 version on the big screen. The clues are there for each of us to find. Glamorous yet faded movie star Marina Gregg and her latest husband Jason Rudd have purchased Gossington Hall in St. Mary Mead and invited the village to a summer fete. The reader is sure to recall that the Hall once belonged to Colonel and Mrs. Bantry; it was the scene centrale for the 1942 Miss Marple novel, "The Body in the Library." Heather Badcock is so excited; she'd met Marina Gregg many years earlier! She wonders whether she will be remembered. Unfortunately, there was little time to ponder that question as she was soon dead as a result of something extra in her daiquiri! Was it intended for her? Or Marina? Or someone else? While you prepare for this great read, brush up on Tennyson's 1842 poem, "The Lady of Shalott" in which the cracking of a mirror meant doom for the heroine. (April 2020)
Profile Image for Tori Samar.
533 reviews71 followers
February 22, 2023
My oh my, but the culprit reveal in this one! I didn't see it coming at all. Never once entertained the notion. As Miss Marple said, it's so simple you couldn't see it (and if you are someone who reads this book and does see it before the reveal, please teach me your ways). But once it was explained, of course, then came the "Well duh" moment. Aristotle would be proud (good Lit Lifer that I am, I have Poetics on the brain). I also loved the incorporation of Tennyson's "Lady of Shalott." And professional editor me is simultaneously annoyed that I fell for it and delighted that one of the best misdirections in the book hinges on the ambiguous use of pronouns!

It was a pleasure being confounded by you again, Dame Christie.
Profile Image for Simona B.
887 reviews2,974 followers
August 4, 2018
I've never really loved Miss Marple, but lately, I have to admit, she has surprised me time and again. Truth be told, in the case of The Mirror Crack'd I may be a little biased because I guessed both murderer and motive, and that never happens to me, but I genuinely enjoyed this investigation and this case. Wholeheartedly recommended!
Profile Image for Nigeyb.
1,201 reviews260 followers
March 11, 2023
Set in the early 1960s this is Miss Marple confronting a changing world. A new development adjacent to her village, the big house being taken over by a film star, and Miss Marple herself facing old age and an intrusive carer who treats her like a delicate invalid. The carer is called Miss Knight and she provides some amusing scenes given Miss Marple is anything but helpless.

The mystery itself is intriguing and the solution to whodunnit is very clever.

Miss Marple is a wonderful fictional creation and it's easy to see why these books have continued to appeal to so many readers over the decades.

Having loved Agatha Christie as a child in the 1970s I only occasionally read her work nowadays but it's always an enjoyable experience when I return to her timeless and skilfully told mysteries.


Profile Image for Librielibri.
263 reviews44 followers
December 29, 2020
Il mio primo giallo della Christie con protagonista Miss Jane Marple, sicuramente ne leggerò altri, ma per ora direi che la preferisco a Poirot, mi sembra più diretta e meno stucchevole.
Nel complesso lettura godibile.
Profile Image for Estíbaliz Montero Iniesta.
Author 30 books922 followers
September 16, 2022
¡Me ha encantado!
No sé si ha sido por el tema de que la víctima sea actriz y se mencionen cosas de ese mundillo, que me encanta desde siempre, o por el conjunto de personajes o qué, pero lo he disfrutado muchísimo.

No he adivinado la identidad del culpable (y estoy a punto de rendirme y asumir que nunca más averiguaré la verdad en uno de sus libros😂) pero me ha parecido que todo el misterio está fantásticamente bien construido, y apenas he descifrado uno o dos detalles no tan importantes, pero no pasa nada, ser vencida por Agatha Christie no es ninguna vergüenza.

Y he de decir que en esta historia en particular me parece que hemos visto más de Miss Marple y, desde luego, aquí se ve una evolución del personaje que no siempre es lo central en los libros de Christie, ya que Poirot y Miss Marple en realidad tienen poca presencia en muchas de las historias. Pero aquí, vemos cómo Miss Marple se está haciendo cada vez más mayor, cómo necesita que alguien cuide de ella a cierto nivel y lo mal que lleva que la consideren una anciana desvalida cuando mentalmente sigue dándoles mil vueltas a los que la rodean.. Y me pregunto si ese trato diferente por la edad se inspiraría en la propia Christie, que escribió este libro con unos 71 años, según he visto en internet. Miss Marple siempre me ha parecido la más humana de los detectives de Agatha, con todos sus defectos incluidos, y esta es la historia en la que, hasta el momento, más cariño me ha suscitado.
Profile Image for Stephanie Anze.
657 reviews112 followers
November 8, 2018
"They aren't new subjects. It's human nature I'm interested in, you know, and human nature is much the same wether it's film stars, or hospital nurses or people in St. Mary Mead or, " she added thouhtfully, "people who live in the Development."

St. Mary Mead is starting to change. No longer just a quiet village, modern amenities are starting to flood the area. Super markets and a housing development are now part of this community much to the dismay of the original locals. Among them Miss Marple, is told to rest after having dealt with pneumonia but still she is restless to leave the house. When Heather Badcock (one of the development residents) winds up dead at the party hosted by film actress Marina Gregg, at Gossington Hall, Miss Marple knows this is the best medicine for her to jolt her out of a dull lull.

Another home run by Christie! We are back at St. Mary Mead with an older, but still feisty, Miss Marple. Having been confined to her home due to illness, Miss Marple is in need of a distraction. The caring and well-meaning Miss Knight, her caregiver, is driving Miss Marple crazy. The doctor prescribes a murder. St. Mary Mead is changing. Marina Gregg, a noted film actress, has moved into Gossington Hall and is throwing a party in it. By the end of the evening, one of the new residents of St. Mary Mead has died. Heather Badcock dies suddenly after drinking a cocktail handed to her by Marina Gregg herself. Rumours start to abound that the inteded target was Marina and not Heather. With her trademark abundance of motives and suspects, Christie fills the pages with plenty of red herrings. Marina Gregg has several ex-husbands, a current husband, former adopted children, rivals from the studio and a staff that seems not to like her completely. On the other hand, Heather appears to have no enemies (and a well-meaning and helpful reputation) which further fuels the theory that Marina was the target. Add to that, the poison from which Heather died is widely available at the home of Miss Gregg. The police can make no headway and Miss Marple is consulted upon. I love how the plot progressed in this book. There is nothing obvious about the narrative so the reveals are always a nice surprise.

The 9th Miss Marple in the series, this book was first published in 1962. The title derives from a Lord Tennyson poem titled 'The Lady of Shalott': "One flew the web and floated wide- The mirror crack'd from side to side- "The curse is upon me,"- Cried the Lady of Shallot" (part of the poem goes). One of key plot points of the narrative is thought to have been inspired by Gene Tierney, an American actress (though this was never confirmed by Christie herself). If Gossington Hall and Mrs Bantry seem familar its because a another muder took place here in 'The Body in the Library' (an earlier Marple publication). Love how Christie worked all these sources of inspiration and the lady herself. I do not think I will ever tire of Christie.
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