Friday, October 1, 2010

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

58. The Body in the Library - second in the Miss Marple series
by Agatha Christie
mystery, 1942
Kindle book - 5
finished, 9/15/10

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.


  1. Next year I will be reading my way through Christie's books. I've accumulated quite a few from my library sales at a quarter a book!! I hope to never find a body in the library!! LOL!

  2. Nan
    So pleased you are back. You are one of my must read blogs! Thanks for returning!!
    I'm more into reading blogs than writing on mine these days.
    Or reading on 'my nook' or books.
    Welcome back but you were not really gone!!!!

  3. Thanks for this post. I always like the surroundings that are described in Miss Marple books, the descriptions of villages, and homes. Thanks for bringing out this little gem.

  4. I did read this book recently -- it was one I found (appropriately enough) on the Library shelf at Ft Myers. For my own personal Agatha challenge (which I'm not doing very well on at the moment). Something to look forward to when we get off the roadtrip.

  5. The Body in the Library has always been one of my favorite Agatha Christie books!

  6. Perfect indeed - the library! MY kind of place!

    I have only read a few Agatha Christie mysteries. You have talked me into reading as many as I can find (AFTER I finish the Alexander McCall Smith books I'm currently "into"...).

  7. Thank you so much for always reminding us of the great Agatha Christie. Being an Anglophile myself, I can NEVER get enough of her... Thanks again for keeping up your blog! Kay Guest

  8. What a neat idea for a reading adventure, Staci. If you scroll down to the end of the blog page, there's a link to a fun AC connection.

    Mim, thank you for your nice words!

    Linda, one of the wonders of AC to me is the way the most idyllic place can hide terrible goings-on!

    Sallie, I think reading AC is a lifetime 'challenge.' She wrote a lot!!

    Val, yes!

    Sherri, me, too!

    Rebecca, which AMS series are you reading? I love his work so much.

    Kay, thank you. And yes, she is so very great.

  9. Nan, I THINK I've read all the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. I'm now reading 44 Scotland Street...

  10. It is a very good mystery novel - and I too am very delighted you are continuing with this most enjoyable blog. Welcome back!!!

  11. Rebecca, I just finished the latest of the Mma Ramotse books, the 12th, and I thought it was the best ever! I adore those characters.

    Martin, thank you! And I just bought The Cipher Garden for my new Kindle.

    Pamela, you are so right.

  12. I'm listening to your New England song and reading your delicious looking recipes - such fun! I decided to comment in this entry because I wanted to tell you that I had a chance to buy an entire collection of the Agatha Christie books (PBs) in the 70 Mile Yard Sale - but I passed it up. And now I regret it. sigh!


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