Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by Agatha Christie

cover of The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side
I have finally managed to finish reading a book! It seems like it’s been a long time since I read through a book. I was in the mood for some of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and read The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side. The book was published in 1962, and Christie dedicated it to Margaret Rutherford. Today, some people claim that Christie would be irritated with the liberties that the television producers have taken with Miss Marple. All I have to say is that if she dedicated a book to Margaret Rutherford, who was an extremely a typical Marple, she would be perfectly okay with the new Marple. After all, it introduces her characters and novels to a whole new generation.

In The Mirror Crack’d, Christie seemed more aware of the aging, both her own and Miss Marple’s. Miss Marple was stuck with a live-in companion, Miss Knight, an extremely irritating woman who wanted to coddle and baby Miss Marple. But Miss Marple didn’t want all that coddling, and she rebelled, taking a walk on her own, falling, and being helped by Heather Badcock. Miss Marple’s body may be frail, but her mind was still as sharp as a tack, and she realized that Heather Badcock was one of those characters who was just asking for someone to kill her. When Marina Gregg, famous movie actress, bought the Bantry estate, the whole town was thrilled and couldn’t wait to see what changes were made to the house. Mrs. Bantry went to a fete at the house and was there when Heather Badcock was poisoned. Of course, Mrs. Bantry reported to Miss Marple, and on the advice of Doctor Haddock, Miss Marple began to unravel the murder to discover the murderer. Unfortunately, two more die before Miss Marple discovered the murder, but she figured it out!

I enjoyed this book. The book was written and published in the questionable era, when Christie’s plots and writing seemed to disintegrate a bit. However, I thought the book was very entertaining and fast paced. As I mentioned, Christie seemed very aware of the changing times. Miss Marple was laid low with a bad case of bronchitis, and even had to realize that she couldn’t continue living alone in St. Mary Mead. The town itself was changing. A housing development was built in the town, and the people living there have a different character. The young people, like Cherry, who cleaned for Miss Marple, have a different attitude. As Miss Marple commented, Cherry used a vacuum cleaner where others in the past would use a broom and dustpan. Times were changing, and Miss Marple, and I think Agatha Christie, felt out of place. The title of the book, The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side, came from the poem, The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The look of doom overcame the face of Marina Gregg, and ultimately led to the death of Heather Badcock. The book was a good Miss Marple mystery, and I would strongly recommend it!

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