The Puzzly – The ISOTCMN Book Of The Month – October 2014

Hallowe’en has gone, mostly unbothered by trick-or-treaters, thank goodness. Have a look my Puzzly post for last October for my opinion on this “tradition”. But October also brings the half-term break for me, which means the chance for more reading. So without further ado, it’s time for the Puzzly – the In Search Of The Classic Mystery  Novel  Book Of The Month – for October 2014. And the chance to have a little bit of a rant about a book that I had been very positive about…

Let’s get the rant out of the way first – does anyone else find the fact that The Mirror Crack’d From Side To Side is based on a true story rather unpleasant? Basically, apart from the murders, everything leading up to them is lifted directly from the life of Gene Tierney who suffered a life of depression, in and out of therapy (some of which was deeply unpleasant). Ms Tierney died in 1991, btw, so she was certainly around to see the book published (and the film that was made of it too). It is possible that Christie was unaware of the trauma that Tierney had undergone subsequent to the event, but this still leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Thanks to Santosh for bringing this to my attention – I thought I’d share it with a wider audience.

Anyway, on with the Book Of The Month  – nine books in total which were:

If you recall, the plan this month was to review some authors that I’d neglected – read once or twice and enjoyed (or not in the case of Ellis Peters) – and then not came back to as fast as I could have.

I think the book of the month comes down to three books – The Devil In Disguise being a close fourth. Unfortunately, that gives me a near impossible choice between three very different books – the atmospheric, clever thriller Like This, For Ever (the review of which is still getting plenty of hits weeks after it was posted), the highly entertaining cozy/traditional mystery The Murder at the Murder at the Mimosa Inn and the absorbing historical mystery The Tournament Of Blood.

Dum de dum de dum. Decisions, decisions…

Mimosa InnWell, Michael and Sharon have both won it before, for The Crediton Killings, Squire Throwleigh’s Heir and The Leper’s Return, for Michael and Now You See Me for Sharon, so based on this alone, the Puzzly goes to Joan Hess for the wonderfully titled The Murder At The Murder At The Mimosa Inn. It’s a light, fun, quick read with some clever plotting and clever humour. It’s available as an ebook from Bello books. Do try it out.

See you next month – some more old favourites of mine are coming along again, as well as a joint review with Sergio on a very divisive John Dickson Carr classic.



  1. I don’t disagree with you about The Mirror Crack’d, but it’s rather hard to discuss it and honour your spoiler policy. To approach the matter obliquely: how do you feel about Murder on the Orient Express? That was also lifted from real life, and quite a lot nearer to the time. (The Tierney incident is from 1943, and Crack’d was published in the 60s. The Lindbergh Kidnapping was in 1932 and Orient Express was published in 1934). Of course there’s a fundamental difference in how the incidents are used, but I’m not sure either book sits well with me.

    It’s odd that Tierney’s Wikipedia page has no mention of The Mirror Crack’d. Unpleasant or not, it’s surely one of the most well-known facts about her?


    • To be honest, it’s such a long time since I read Orient Express, I’d have to reread it first. IIRC, it’s less of a direct copy, but I still take your point. I’ll bump the book up my Poirot TBR pile and bear this in mind when I review it.


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