On September 15, 1890 the queen of Crime was born. A lot of us have her to thank for, for having made us fall in love with crime fiction. This year also marks 100 years since the introduction of Poirot to the literary world. He is a loved detective in the field of crime fiction. Ms.Marple is another quirky woman who has been a protagonist in a lot of Christie’s work. I for one have a woman crush on Ms.Marple. The Mirror Crack’d from side to side features the very witty and smart lady who solves another crime once again.Here is a book that I am reviewing since it’s Agatha’s birthday month!
Published by Harper Collins, the cover is a grey one with the author’s name written across the top half – in a font that is signature to a lot of books published by Harper. The lower half has a cracked mirror and the title over-layed on it in a bold purple. I don’t really have much to say about the cover, as it is not elaborately done (maybe an Author of her stature needs no cover to entice a reader!), however it reflects the title as precisely as can be. It does not give away anything about the plot, but on reading the book you will realize the presence and significance of the phrase time and again.
Miss Marple is our lead protagonist and is now old ,and confined to her home except the few times she misleads her overseer and takes a walk into the town and the newer development abutting the town. Celebrity Marina Gregg moves into this quaint little town with her director husband Jason Rudd, after buying the house of Mrs. Arthur Bantry. One one of her secret escapades Miss Marple meets Heather Badcock who is a Ambulance helper and helps Miss Marple when she falls down. The same Heather attends the party at her idol Marina’s house and dies after drinking a poisoned daiquiri. These are the most significant characters, other than the investigating officers, the husband of the deceased, the wagon of support staff of Marina like her manager, chef etc and her adopted estranged children and her own mentally unstable child.
As mentioned in the characters, Marina moves into Gossington hall, which happens to be Miss Marple’s dear friends old abode. Marina holds a charity lunch where more than half the town is welcomed, and a few others are invited for the closed door cocktail event. Among others, is Heather Badcock, who is a fan of the actress and goes on to elaborate to her, how a few years back, she inspite of being sick made it to an event just to see Marina and get her autograph. As the event progresses, Heather drinks a cocktail originally meant for Marina, and dies of poisoning. What follows inshysterical breakdown of the paranoid actress as it looks like an attempt is made on her life.
Each person around her seems to have a motive to kill her, but due to a mishap, an innocent woman is killed. The police is baffled as they are quite clueless except the fact that Mrs. Arthur insists, that Marina had a horrified expression momentarily after and before which the event went on smoothly until the time of death of Heather. Mrs. Arthur relates to her friend Miss Marple, how Marina looked like Lady Shallot, as though doom has come upon her (and hence the title of the book).
Written in signature Christie style, one will quickly get attuned to the books. The plot at a few times might seem like a little confusing, but the simple writing helps. There is no life altering line or stanzas, which is quite natural considering that it is a no-nonsense mystery. What really irked me was how the same person is sometimes addressed by their first name, and sometimes by their second name, and as it is the mystery and the number of people have you a little muddled –this does not help!
Not to forget, the character portrayal of the fine old Miss Marple is adorable. It is so easy to fall in love with the frail old woman, who is in reality quite badass!!
Miss Marple is so lovable. The way her character has been written is such that you will instantly want an accomplice like her. The book completely satisfies a mystery lover as to the very end you have no clue who it is! One keeps guessing, and is almost convinced with their choice of pinning the culprit, but alas – Christie beats you with the most unexpected climax!
I mostly love the covers of all Agatha Christie books, but this just average. Also, as mentioned above, the different ways in which the person is addressed is a tad confusing.
Another book that makes me fall in love with this legend some more. Do not even bother to pin the murderer, for YOU KNOW NOTHING!
Who do I recommend this to?
Christie fans, and book lovers in general who enjoy this genre will enjoy this book.
Heather Badcock meant no harm. She never did mean harm, but there is no doubt that people like Heather Badcock (and like my old friend Alison Wilde), are capable of doing a lot of harm because they lack - not kindness, they have kindness - but any real consideration for the way their actions may affect other people. She though always of what an action meant to her, never sparing a thought to what it might mean to somebody else.
Why shouldn’t I hate her? She did the worst thing to me that anyone can do to anyone else. Let them believe that they’re loved and wanted and then show them that it’s all a sham.