Miss Jane Marple may have been getting older, but she still valued her independence. She was not going to be treated either as an elderly relic of a bygone age or as an infant to be coddled. That's why she went out for a walk by herself one afternoon. When she tripped and fell, she was helped by a kindly (if rather self-centered) woman named Heather Badcock, and Miss Marple was quite grateful for the assistance. So when Mrs. Badcock was murdered, Miss Marple naturally took an interest in seeing that justice was done. The story may be found in The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, by Agatha Christie, and it's the subject of today's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast. You can listen to the entire review by clicking here.
The story is fairly intricate, and I have summed it up, I think, in the podcast, so rather than repeat myself, I'll just invite you to click the link above and listen to the review.
Agatha Christie was 71 years old in 1962, when The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side was published, but this book is, I think, one of the best of her later books involving Miss Marple. The title is a quotation from Tennyson's poem, "The Lady of Shalott":
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
‘The curse has come upon me,’
cried The Lady of Shalott.
It will prove to be most relevant to the events chronicled here. This is a fairly grim book - more unhappy, I would say, than many of Christie's others. It is filled with marvelous characters, and it is also a pure "armchair detective" story, for Miss Marple gathers clues while sitting in her house and deduces the correct solution to the mystery based solely on what others tell her and, of course, her skill at understanding human nature, as developed in a very small village. In fact, she only visits the scene of the crime at the end, when she has learned the truth about what has happened - and why. If you enjoy Miss Marple, or even if she is new to you, I think you'll enjoy this one.