The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side

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The 1960s. A famous film star brings glamour and peril to St. Mary Mead when a local fan is poisoned. With the village changing around her, Miss Marple must investigate further...

"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"

Lord Tennyson, The Lady of Shalott



About this story

First released

November 1963 (novel, Collins)

Genre

  • Murder Mystery

Formats

  • Radio Play, 
  • Novel, 
  • TV, 
  • Film

Recurring characters

  • Miss Marple, 
  • Cherry Baker, 
  • Dolly Bantry, 
  • Dr. Haydock

Murder methods

Setting

  • House

The last of Agatha Christie classic English village mysteries, St Mary Mead is no longer what it once was. The 1960s see a widowed Dolly Bantry (of The Body in the Library) forced to sell her manor to a rich movie star, who brings a deadly mix of glamour and torment into the now developing community. Observing the social changes following the Second World War, Agatha Christie and Miss Marple do what they've always done - solve the mystery through the habits of the people involve and the village they live in.

Agatha Christie had long been fascinated by the ...

Read more

The last of Agatha Christie classic English village mysteries, St Mary Mead is no longer what it once was. The 1960s see a widowed Dolly Bantry (of The Body in the Library) forced to sell her manor to a rich movie star, who brings a deadly mix of glamour and torment into the now developing community. Observing the social changes following the Second World War, Agatha Christie and Miss Marple do what they've always done - solve the mystery through the habits of the people involve and the village they live in.

Agatha Christie had long been fascinated by the tastes of new 'developed' houses on the estates around her home in Wallingford, Oxfordshire and she saw an opportunity to explore these in The Mirror Crack'd. The title came from the poem The Lady of Shalott, by Tennyson.

The plot was inspired by Agatha Christie's reflections on a mother's feelings for a child born with disabilities and there can be little doubt that Christie was influenced by the real-life tragedy of American actress Gene Tierney.

In 1980 Hollywood adapted the novel into a film starring Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple alongside Elizabeth Taylor as the beautiful Marina Gregg. They shortened the title to The Mirror Crack’d. In 1992 The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side was the last Miss Marple novel to be adapted by the BBC and star Joan Hickson in the title role. It wasn't until 2009 the novel was again adapted, this time with Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple, Joanna Lumley reprising her role as Dolly Bantry and Lindsay Duncan as Marina Gregg. June Whitfield starred as Miss Marple in the August 1998 broadcast of BBC Radio 4's dramatisation. Film director and screenwriter Rituparno Ghosh created a Bengali language version of Christie's story, titled Subho Mahurat (2003), which reset the story in the film industry of Kolkata (Calcutta).

"One more brilliant little peg on which to hang her plot"

The Guardian, 1962



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