58. The Body in the Library - second in the Miss Marple series
by Agatha Christie
Kindle book - 5
Can you imagine waking up in the morning and finding a young woman, a complete stranger, dead in your house? This is what happens to Colonel and Dolly Bantry. He calls the police, while she calls her friend, Jane Marple asking her to come to the house. Jane answers:
'Of course, dear, if you think I can be of any comfort to you -''Oh, I don't want comfort, But you're so good at bodies. ... you're very good at murders.'
Then we have the best description of the library itself.
The library was a room very typical of its owners. It was large and shabby and untidy. It had big sagging armchairs, and pipes and books and estate papers laid out on the big table. There were one or two good old family portraits on the walls, and some bad Victorian water-colours, and some would-be-funny hunting scenes. There was a big vase of Michaelmas daisies in the corner. The whole room was dim and mellow and casual. It spoke of long occupation and familiar use and of links with tradition.
Ah, perfection, don't you agree?!
This is the second Miss Marple book, written twelve years after The Murder at the Vicarage. It is the epitome of an Agatha Christie story, and I loved it. As in so many Agatha Christie books, though the locale is lovely and some of the characters are delightful, even humorous, there are complex and sad situations. This isn't one of those mysteries where the 'bad guy' is the one killed off, and thus the reader doesn't feel too badly. There is village gossip which could ruin the Colonel's reputation. There are lonely people and greedy people and as the book goes along we see how they are connected, and why the murder was committed. A most intriguing and satisfying mystery.