Day 77: The Mirror Crack’d by Agatha Christie
Summary From Goodreads:
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 Lord Tennyson
Marina Gregg, the famous film star, has brought some much needed glamour to St. Mary Mead. But when a local fan is poisoned, the actress finds herself centre stage in a real-life mystery. Which other characters from the Mary Mead cast will perish before the credits roll? And will Miss Marple produce yet another stellar performance to steal the show?
The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side is the third and final Agatha Christie book that I picked up last year during a couple of big book sales I went to, the others being Murder in Retrospect and Passenger to Frankfurt. This is the 9th book in the Miss Marple companion books, but the first one that I’ve read so far. As I have come to expect from Christie, The Mirror Crack’d was an excellent murder mystery written in her usual older style that is something unseen in current publications. The writing requires a thinking mind, and an active one at that. Unlike many mysteries of the last couple decades or so that let the reader sit back and discover “who done it” with the characters, Christie challenges her reader’s to try and figure it out for themselves, something I greatly admire her for.
Unfortunately for those, including myself, that are not used to having to really try and figure out these mysteries Christie does not make it easy. Just as with her other works that I’ve read, especially Murder in Retrospect, the amount of twists and turns is enough to boggle the mind. Christie makes it seem as if any of the people involved could be guilty at one time or another in the book and it is not until the very end that all but the most inquisitive and sharp mind can determine the guilty party with any certainty. I can honestly say I’ve never read any other mystery writer, current or otherwise, that has the skill to do this as much as Christie had.
The characters are strong as ever, with Miss Marple being the star as I’m sure is per usual in her mystery companion books. Marple is sharp, even at her old age, and has a witty sense of humor mixed in with a take-no-crap attitude which I loved. She’s a fantastic main character and her alone would have been enough to convince me to want to get the rest of the Miss Marple books. Marina, the film star, has a very interesting personality as well, though she’s a bit flighty and prone to mood swings, which may have been typical of the stars of that age. Though I know Christie develops her characters herself, rather than using real people and slightly altering them as is often done, I’m sure she got some inspiration from the flim stars of her day. If it is an accurate portrayal of what they were like then (this was originally published in 1962) it would seem not much has changed except for stars having to grow better ways to cope with media exposure since it is infinitely worse now with the internet in the mix.
The mystery was fantastic and Christie once again managed to confuse and confound me until the last. I loved the story and am thrilled I found the book (at the library sale, aren’t those awesome?!). I’d recommend The Mirror Crack’d, and likely all of Christie’s works to anyone, especially mystery lovers or any reader that likes a good mental challenge. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 78!