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The quaint village of St Mary Mead has been glamourized by the presence of screen queen Marina Gregg, who has taken up residence in preparation for her comeback. But when a local fan is poisoned, Marina finds herself starring in a real-life mystery—supported with scene-stealing aplomb by Jane Marple, who suspects that the lethal cocktail was intended for someone else. But who? If it was meant for Marina, then why? And before the final fade-out, who else from St Mary Mead's cast of seemingly innocent characters is going to be eliminated?

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061748059
List price: $9.99
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Got more involved with this one than with the other Miss Marple books so far... Possibly because of the Arthurian imagery, which is always my thing. I actually felt very sorry for the murderer, and more so for her husband. I suspected from the beginning, which pleases me -- one always loves feeling clever. The Lancelot image at the end doesn't quite work, though.

Interesting to have an aging but capable detective. Everything is rather sedate, in consequence...more
I haves watched at least two TV or movie versions of this book. The book continues to surpass the adaptations. It is a version of murders in a country house but even though it is a classic mystery the clues are not all clearly set before the reader at one time, rather like the unveiling of Salome and her seven veils, the picture slowly comes into focus as Miss Marple peers though all the distractions and red herrings to see the solid core of the mystery.

I liked the Joan Hickson version of the story but I always wish they would give the poor woman more than one hat. I really don't believe she would wear the same hat to garden in that she wears to church and other social events. It is a subtle way to dumb her down and give the viewer a distorted vision of Miss Marple a person who bumbles into the answers rather than using her very acute mind.more
This book returns to what seems to be a theme for Agatha Christie as it features an actress as a key character. Here actress Marina Gregg has taken up residence at Gossington Hall near St Mary Mead, home of the inquisitive Miss Marple. Gregg and her husband, who is a film director, host a fête for a charitable cause and during the event a select group of people is chosen to meet the movie star. One of these visitors, Heather Badcock, dies soon after meeting Gregg and recounting the story of their previous meeting a dozen or so years earlier when Badcock rose from her sick bed to meet the star and get her autograph. When it is revealed Badcock was poisoned it is assumed that Gregg was the real intended victim and Badcock died by accident.

Published in 1962 this is one of Christie’s later novels and does address quite well the social changes that are taking place in rural England at the time. There is a new housing development on the outskirts of St Mary Mead which is changing the place’s character and contributing to Miss Marple’s sense that she’s losing touch with things. Miss Marple is also more elderly than ever. She even has to submit to the indignity of a full-time live-in companion; a very annoying woman who treats Miss Marple like she is a stupid child. I think Christie has done a really terrific job of capturing the frustration experienced by someone who is aging but is in full command of their mental faculties even if their physical abilities aren’t what they used to be.

However the plot here is not one of Christie’s best. The first half of the book labours several points too often, including the actress’ nervous state and the link to the book’s title (it’s a line from a Tennyson poem called the Lady of Shalott which must have been repeated at least a half-dozen times). There is one too many amazing coincidences revealed at the end. One of these is believable (in fact the book is based on something that happened to actress Gene Tierney but don’t google it unless you don’t mind spoilers) but the second is overkill (and totally unnecessary as it adds nothing to the story whatsoever). I also found the depiction of the policeman called in to investigate the crime to be quite unrealistic (although he’s very sweet to Miss Marple).

To be honest I’ve always preferred Hercule Poirot over Miss Marple so my reaction to this book is not that surprising. While Poirot is far too clever to be real and would undoubtedly be an insufferable chap to spend any time with at least he is depicted with faults whereas Jane Marple has always struck me as impossibly perfect. And the Poirot plots are the more puzzling, clue-based ones that fit with my preference for logic whereas those featuring Miss Marple tend to be based more on what seem to me to be rather wild and random assumptions about human nature.

Also, sadly, I did not enjoy Hickson’s narration. She seemed to swallow her words and fade away as if she was turning from the microphone and I read to rewind several times to catch what she was saying and she really didn’t seem to be paying that much attention to what she was saying. So if you are going to track down this book I wouldn’t recommend this particular audio version.more
This one's interesting not just for the murder mystery itself, but because it was written in 1962 and Miss Marple is feeling the passage of time. Change has come to St Mary Mead, with the advent of the Development, a new housing estate. Change has come to the social structure, with the slow disappearance of household servants, and the appearance of supermarkets. And age is affecting Miss Marple, who is old enough to need some personal care after an illness, but is not the completely dependent and mindless old lady her home nurse insists on treating her as. Her doctor and old friend prescribes some unravelling of knitting for her. He's not just referring to her knitting, and soon Miss Marple has the opportunity to unravel a murder. Her friend Mrs Bantry sold Gossington Hall some years earlier after the death of the Colonel, and after several changes of ownership and some unfortunate attention from developers it has now been sold to a Hollywood film star, who has restored it to a private home. Marina Gregg intends to take part in village life, and this includes hosting a public fund-raising event in the grounds for charity, and inviting various village notables to a private reception to view the refurbishments. As the former owner of the house, Mrs Bantry is an honoured guest -- which puts her in a prime position to view events at the reception that in hindsight were a prelude to a murder.This was one where I spotted who and part of why pretty much at the point of the murder -- but the misdirection was so good that I wasn't sure until almost the very end, even though the rest of why had been laid out quite clearly part way through the book, if you know what to look for. It's a great read that kept me turning the pages, although it has a more melancholy feel to it than the earlier Marples. Christie has written a superb portrayal of an old woman who recognises that change isn't necessarily all bad, but nevertheless feels discomfited by it even as she does her best to embrace the good aspects. And the ultimate motivation for the murder is heartbreaking, all the more so because it appears to have been based on a real life incident.more
As well as reading "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side" , I've also seen two or three different versions on TV (including the film with Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak as the warring actresses). It's a good story, and comes as a surprise when you realise whydunnit.more
A lovely Miss Marple that has the regulation dose of old English houses, suspicious characters, old grudges and little old ladies investigating murders. This one is also a little more down than some of them, with Miss Marple's age telling on her so that her nephew employs a live-in carer for her and St. Mary's Mead enduring the changes that the construction of a new housing estate bring. Miss Marple's doctor prescibes a nice murder to cheer her up, which has luckily just happened at the village fete, and the wonderful network of friends and old servants scattered through the village come to her aid bringing gossip and information. Gentle, uplifting and perfect for a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea.more
A classic Miss Marple. An aging Miss Marple is fretting under the care of a live in help. When an unassuming local woman is poisoned a the local fete her Dr. recommends that she takes up "unravelling" rather than knitting. Though St Mary Meade is changing - a new housing estate and a film star installed in Gossington Hall, Miss Marple finds that human nature is just the same. I recently found out that the premise behind the motive is supposedly based on something that really happened to movie star Gene Tierney - don't look it up unless you have read the book!more
Miss Marple is on the case when Heather Babcock is murdered at Marina Gregg's home. Was Marina the intended victim? And who or what was it Marina saw on the stairs just before Heather died? Miss Marple, with the help of old and new friends, solves the mystery. I enjoyed reading this, but its a fairly average Miss Marple, although the motive for the murder is very unusual and emotive.more
A lovely Miss Marple mystery. A kindly but utterly infuriating woman dies at the home of a glamorous movie star. Miss Marple, at home with her tea and knitting, pieces things together into a surprising solution.more
Read all 9 reviews

Reviews

Got more involved with this one than with the other Miss Marple books so far... Possibly because of the Arthurian imagery, which is always my thing. I actually felt very sorry for the murderer, and more so for her husband. I suspected from the beginning, which pleases me -- one always loves feeling clever. The Lancelot image at the end doesn't quite work, though.

Interesting to have an aging but capable detective. Everything is rather sedate, in consequence...more
I haves watched at least two TV or movie versions of this book. The book continues to surpass the adaptations. It is a version of murders in a country house but even though it is a classic mystery the clues are not all clearly set before the reader at one time, rather like the unveiling of Salome and her seven veils, the picture slowly comes into focus as Miss Marple peers though all the distractions and red herrings to see the solid core of the mystery.

I liked the Joan Hickson version of the story but I always wish they would give the poor woman more than one hat. I really don't believe she would wear the same hat to garden in that she wears to church and other social events. It is a subtle way to dumb her down and give the viewer a distorted vision of Miss Marple a person who bumbles into the answers rather than using her very acute mind.more
This book returns to what seems to be a theme for Agatha Christie as it features an actress as a key character. Here actress Marina Gregg has taken up residence at Gossington Hall near St Mary Mead, home of the inquisitive Miss Marple. Gregg and her husband, who is a film director, host a fête for a charitable cause and during the event a select group of people is chosen to meet the movie star. One of these visitors, Heather Badcock, dies soon after meeting Gregg and recounting the story of their previous meeting a dozen or so years earlier when Badcock rose from her sick bed to meet the star and get her autograph. When it is revealed Badcock was poisoned it is assumed that Gregg was the real intended victim and Badcock died by accident.

Published in 1962 this is one of Christie’s later novels and does address quite well the social changes that are taking place in rural England at the time. There is a new housing development on the outskirts of St Mary Mead which is changing the place’s character and contributing to Miss Marple’s sense that she’s losing touch with things. Miss Marple is also more elderly than ever. She even has to submit to the indignity of a full-time live-in companion; a very annoying woman who treats Miss Marple like she is a stupid child. I think Christie has done a really terrific job of capturing the frustration experienced by someone who is aging but is in full command of their mental faculties even if their physical abilities aren’t what they used to be.

However the plot here is not one of Christie’s best. The first half of the book labours several points too often, including the actress’ nervous state and the link to the book’s title (it’s a line from a Tennyson poem called the Lady of Shalott which must have been repeated at least a half-dozen times). There is one too many amazing coincidences revealed at the end. One of these is believable (in fact the book is based on something that happened to actress Gene Tierney but don’t google it unless you don’t mind spoilers) but the second is overkill (and totally unnecessary as it adds nothing to the story whatsoever). I also found the depiction of the policeman called in to investigate the crime to be quite unrealistic (although he’s very sweet to Miss Marple).

To be honest I’ve always preferred Hercule Poirot over Miss Marple so my reaction to this book is not that surprising. While Poirot is far too clever to be real and would undoubtedly be an insufferable chap to spend any time with at least he is depicted with faults whereas Jane Marple has always struck me as impossibly perfect. And the Poirot plots are the more puzzling, clue-based ones that fit with my preference for logic whereas those featuring Miss Marple tend to be based more on what seem to me to be rather wild and random assumptions about human nature.

Also, sadly, I did not enjoy Hickson’s narration. She seemed to swallow her words and fade away as if she was turning from the microphone and I read to rewind several times to catch what she was saying and she really didn’t seem to be paying that much attention to what she was saying. So if you are going to track down this book I wouldn’t recommend this particular audio version.more
This one's interesting not just for the murder mystery itself, but because it was written in 1962 and Miss Marple is feeling the passage of time. Change has come to St Mary Mead, with the advent of the Development, a new housing estate. Change has come to the social structure, with the slow disappearance of household servants, and the appearance of supermarkets. And age is affecting Miss Marple, who is old enough to need some personal care after an illness, but is not the completely dependent and mindless old lady her home nurse insists on treating her as. Her doctor and old friend prescribes some unravelling of knitting for her. He's not just referring to her knitting, and soon Miss Marple has the opportunity to unravel a murder. Her friend Mrs Bantry sold Gossington Hall some years earlier after the death of the Colonel, and after several changes of ownership and some unfortunate attention from developers it has now been sold to a Hollywood film star, who has restored it to a private home. Marina Gregg intends to take part in village life, and this includes hosting a public fund-raising event in the grounds for charity, and inviting various village notables to a private reception to view the refurbishments. As the former owner of the house, Mrs Bantry is an honoured guest -- which puts her in a prime position to view events at the reception that in hindsight were a prelude to a murder.This was one where I spotted who and part of why pretty much at the point of the murder -- but the misdirection was so good that I wasn't sure until almost the very end, even though the rest of why had been laid out quite clearly part way through the book, if you know what to look for. It's a great read that kept me turning the pages, although it has a more melancholy feel to it than the earlier Marples. Christie has written a superb portrayal of an old woman who recognises that change isn't necessarily all bad, but nevertheless feels discomfited by it even as she does her best to embrace the good aspects. And the ultimate motivation for the murder is heartbreaking, all the more so because it appears to have been based on a real life incident.more
As well as reading "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side" , I've also seen two or three different versions on TV (including the film with Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak as the warring actresses). It's a good story, and comes as a surprise when you realise whydunnit.more
A lovely Miss Marple that has the regulation dose of old English houses, suspicious characters, old grudges and little old ladies investigating murders. This one is also a little more down than some of them, with Miss Marple's age telling on her so that her nephew employs a live-in carer for her and St. Mary's Mead enduring the changes that the construction of a new housing estate bring. Miss Marple's doctor prescibes a nice murder to cheer her up, which has luckily just happened at the village fete, and the wonderful network of friends and old servants scattered through the village come to her aid bringing gossip and information. Gentle, uplifting and perfect for a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea.more
A classic Miss Marple. An aging Miss Marple is fretting under the care of a live in help. When an unassuming local woman is poisoned a the local fete her Dr. recommends that she takes up "unravelling" rather than knitting. Though St Mary Meade is changing - a new housing estate and a film star installed in Gossington Hall, Miss Marple finds that human nature is just the same. I recently found out that the premise behind the motive is supposedly based on something that really happened to movie star Gene Tierney - don't look it up unless you have read the book!more
Miss Marple is on the case when Heather Babcock is murdered at Marina Gregg's home. Was Marina the intended victim? And who or what was it Marina saw on the stairs just before Heather died? Miss Marple, with the help of old and new friends, solves the mystery. I enjoyed reading this, but its a fairly average Miss Marple, although the motive for the murder is very unusual and emotive.more
A lovely Miss Marple mystery. A kindly but utterly infuriating woman dies at the home of a glamorous movie star. Miss Marple, at home with her tea and knitting, pieces things together into a surprising solution.more
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