agony agatha

1 March 2015

Alistair baldwin solves your relationship woes with the help of the mistress of mystery herself

Dear Agony Agatha, it’s coming up to the penultimate edition of Farrago! I write a regular column, and after setting aside the last edition for a sincere and solemn goodbye, this edition is my last chance to break the confines of the structure I’ve built around myself these past few months. What’s a fun, kooky way to open up the scope for meta-commentary and abstracted self-reflection?

Devoted, and presumably handsome, reader – coincidentally, I too have been thinking of ways that I might tear down this highly artificial, reverent and irreverent mausoleum of amateur Christiology (Christianity was taken), so that it might flatten out my physical form as a metaphor for the deconstruction of form I so desperately want to achieve.

Sometimes it feels like this column is bleeding into my real life. The other day, I was made to watch The Mirror Crack’d at university. Now I know what you’re thinking. The argument that VCA is a legitimate faculty of the University of Melbourne is… unconvincing, at best. The argument that VCA is a legitimate university at all is downright laughable – it’s like the movie Fame, except caramel slices are $3.50.

So when I say that this Agatha Christie haze is seeping into what is already probably just a fever dream (i.e. VCA) it’s not exactly setting off alarm bells at the CSIRO’s Quantum Tear Division.

The Mirror Crack’d is the 1980 film adaptation of The Mirror Crack’d From Side To Side, one of Christie’s finest Marple mysteries. It’s about famed movie star, Marina Gregg, who moves to the sleepy village of St. Mary Mead. She soon becomes the apparent target of a number of attempts on her life – a local woman, Mrs Badcock, drops dead after drinking from Marina’s daiquiri instead of her own.

I love this book for many reasons. It’s based on a true, heartbreaking story that made the tabloids back in Christie’s day, a testament to her obsession with staying culturally relevant. It also explores the terrible stigma disability had in the 60s. But I mainly love it for fooling me better than any other Christie novel. Almost the entire mystery hinges on a premise that, ultimately, proves to be a red herring. This was Christie’s best skill: making you think that you’re reading one thing, then, at the very end, revealing something completely different and subverting all of your expectations.

Wow. How very meta of me.

Trouble in paradise? Need love advice? Email Alistair <>

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