Steve's Reviews > The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side by Agatha Christie
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May 24, 2010

really liked it
Read in January, 1972

I read a half-dozen or so Agatha Christies so long ago I don't even remember some of the titles. It would be an interesting experiment to re-read them now to see if I could figure out whodunnit any quicker. The thing of it is, if I'm actually slower, I'd never know. That's good.

Susan tells me these belong to a sub-genre they call "tea cozies." Sounds a bit twee, doesn't it? I'm listing them with the more hard-boiled fare by Raymond Chandler to serve as counterweight.
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message 1: by Susan (last edited May 25, 2010 12:34PM) (new)

Susan I suspect that a large percentage of the population has read at least a handful of Agatha Christies and can't remember much about them except that the sleuth solves the crime in a satisfying and tidy fashion, employing equal parts logic and intuition.

Here's a description of the cozy mystery genre:

Also known as the English country house or manor house mystery or cosy mystery, this genre is generally acknowledged as the classic style of mystery writing. Prominent in England during the 1920s and '30s, this style focused on "members of a closed group, often in a country house or village, who became suspects in a generally bloodless and neat murder solved by a great-detective kind of investigator." (Crime Classics) The stories almost always involved solving some form of puzzle, and invariably, observation, a keen understanding of human nature, and a heavy reliance on gossip were indispensable tools used in the solving of the crime.

Note that it's not actually called the "tea cozy" genre, although gallons of tea are offered and consumed in every single story.

Agatha Christie's mysteries may be somewhat predictable, but they are wonderfully diverting. How would I have made it through the early hours of June 18, 1987 if not for The Body in the Library?

Oh, and I suppose Agatha bears as much responsibility as Black Beauty, National Velvet, James Bond, Mary Quant, The Beatles and their British Invasion comrades, 11th-grade English Lit class, John le Carre, etc., etc., for infecting me with Anglophilia at an impressionable age!


Steve Thanks for the definition, Susan. Now we know. Funny that you remember the precise date that The Body in the Library diverted you so well. ;-) Now that I think back, that would have been greatly preferred to one called The Broken Water in the Bathroom (and Attendant Pains at Increasingly High Frequencies).

It seems your Brit-fancy list has grown, too, past those most impressionable years. Is it safe to say that Man U and sticky toffee pudding have helped keep your Anglophilia alive?


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan Football, puddings of all varieties, and oh yes, Foyle's War!

And where else can you walk up to a newsstand and laughingly ask the proprietor to recommend an "especially fun and trashy" tabloid for the tube ride from Wimbledon back to London? And then receive an amused endorsement of The Sun...or was it The Daily Mirror?

Like it matters...


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