They Do it with Mirrors

  • Miss Marple
  • Novel
  • 1952

Miss Marple senses danger when she visits a friend living in a Victorian mansion which doubles as a rehabilitiation centre for delinquents. Her fears are confirmed when a youth fires a revolver at the administrator, Lewis Serrocold. Neither is injured. But a mysterious visitor, Mr Gilbrandsen, is less fortunate – shot dead simultaneously in another part of the building.

Pure coincidence? Miss Marple thinks not, and vows to discover the real reason for Mr Gilbrandsen’s visit.

Read an extract

Poison has a certain has not the crudeness of the revolver bullet or the blunt weapon.

Inspector Curry, They Do It With Mirrors

More about this story

Like many Agatha Christie novels, They Do It with Mirrors was first published in a condensed form. The April 1952 issue of the US edition of Cosmopolitan saw the publication of Murder With Mirrors with illustrations by Joe Bowler and in the UK the novel was serialised in the weekly magazine John Bull in six abridged instalments with illustrations by George Ditton. Dodd, Mead published the true first edition in 1952 (again calling it Murder with Mirrors) with Collins Crime Club publishing in November that year under Christie's preferred title.

Murder with Mirrors, an adaptation starring Helen Hayes was broadcast by CBS in 1985. The BBC adapted it in 1982 with Joan Hickson as Miss Marple. The film was basically faithful to the novel, with the exception that Alex survives the attack on his life. In 2009 it was Julia McKenzie's turn to be Miss Marple in ITV's adaptation - the rich Ruth van Rydock was played by Joan Collins.

No one on either side of the Atlantic does it better.
New York Times

Some elements of the plot were also incorporated into the 1964 film Murder Ahoy!, which starred Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple, along with a token tribute to The Mousetrap.The house is changed to a retired ship. Overall, Christie was rather unimpressed with the dramatic changes which bear little resemblance to her original work.

In 2001 Radio 4 broadcast a dramatisation of They Do it with Mirrors with June Whitfield as Miss Marple.

Did you know?

  1. For Miss Marple fans this story holds a few intriguing clues to her childhood. For example, we learn that she grew up in a cathedral close, and that she studied at an Italian finishing school with Ruth and Caroline "Carrie" Louise Serrocold.​

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