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In the novel The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, Hailey Preston is a young American man working for Jason Rudd, probably as a combination of public relations or personal assistant, and private secretary. He is a willowy young man with long wavy hair.

On the day of the fete at Gossington Hall, Hailey is given a list of guests who are to be invited to a private reception upstairs. He is to find these people, shepherd them into the house, and serve them drinks, before going out to bring in the next batch of people. One of the people he brings up is Dolly Bantry. He did not remember if he had been there when Heather Badcock had come up, but she was not one of the ones on his list to bring up.

When Inspector Craddock arrives at Gossington Hall, Hailey talks "freely and at length without much modulation and managing miraculously not to repeat himself too often". He talks about how Marina Gregg is "absolutely prostrated", how Jason Rudd was more upset than he could say, and how they are all willing to help in any way that they can. He shows Craddock the chair where Heather was sitting when she died. She had said she did not feel well, and someone had gone to get her something, and then she died.

Hailey takes the drug Calmo, and tells Craddock that it has a marvellous effect, as it both "bucks you up and it soothes you down". He also tells Craddock that there are ready supplies of Calmo in the house, with a bottle of it in most bathroom cupboards.

Later in the novel, Hailey Preston goes to The Development, as he is sent to ask Gladys Dixon if she will come to Gossington Hall to help. He meets Miss Marple on the street, and asks her for directions to 16 Blenheim Close, where Gladys lives.

Later, when Hailey and Miss Marple meet again, he tells her that she misdirected him badly. It is not stated whether Miss Marple misdirected him on purpose. However, it is possible that she did not want him to find Gladys, as she later reveals that she sent Gladys away on a holiday to Bournemouth.

Hailey reminds Miss Marple of Gerald French.


In BBC's 1992 adaptation of the novel, Hailey Preston does not appear. There is another character like him named Delancey but he assists at the film studio in London as some kind of general assistant and he does not stay at Gossington Hall.

In ITV's 2010 adaptation of the novel, the part of Hailey Preston is played by Brennan Brown. Here he describes himself as "Marina Gregg's exclusive personal assistant".