I listen to audiobooks all the time, in my car and when I walk. Usually it’s an exciting suspense or interesting non-fiction. This week it was The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side by Agatha Christie, and as an audiobook I heard via my phone, the old tale was fresh and new all over again, with Miss Marple coming alive as never before.
As the story opens Miss Marple has advanced in years and her little town of Saint Mary Mead has grown to include a ‘development’, a collection of new homes just outside of town; increasing the size and population of what was once a sweet rural town. Miss Marple, at 86, is more housebound than in previous novels but she still has her friends, neighbors, and relatives from whom to glean information.
With the help of Mrs. Gantry, who once owned Gossington Hall and now the scene of an unexpected death, and her nephew the police inspector, Mrs. Marple uses her wit and wiles to discover what really happened the day a local woman, Heather Babcock, is killed while visiting the Hall for a benefit. Was it an accident? Or was it … murder?
The book’s title The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side references a poem by Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Lady of Shalot, which is boldly recited by Miss Marple several times in the novel, foreshadowing the killing as well as presenting a clue to motive.
Because it’s written by Agatha Christie this book is chock full of interesting characters with hidden agendas, and definitely worth the read. Folks who steer clear of Christie thinking her books can’t compare to more contemporary mysteries will be pleasantly surprised: it’s more modern than you might think. And please enjoy Miss Marple. I did. Her wit and wisdom warmed me the way I would if I had been visiting my grandmother. Miss Marple is determinedly independent, politely outspoken, and altogether lovely.
Reviewed by Leigh