logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: The-Body-in-the-Library
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-06-16 14:12
"The Body In The Library - Miss Marple #2" by Agatha Christie - Highly Recommended
The Body in the Library - Agatha Christie

Written seventy-eight years ago, this book still feels modern and fresh.

It's brimming with energy, humour, and sharp observations and has a twisty plot that kept me guessing right to the end.

 
 

'The Body In The Library' was published in 1942 but it feels fresh, light and modern. It has a clever plot that I didn't even begin to guess the truth of but which didn't feel at all like a cheat.

 

I was pleased to see that the police were shown to be quite competent and did most of the leg work. This made the story more convincing and provided me with plenty of evidence to mull over without any chance of me figuring out what was going on. The competence of the police also served to highlight how Jane Marple's insights were and how ruthlessly she used them to extract information unavailable to the police by pressing the buttons of the people she interrogated.

 

I love that Jane Marple is driven by insight into people's wickedness, frailties, vanities and self-deceptions, with empathy coming almost as an afterthought and only then for people that she sees as innocents. I realised that I wouldn't want to meet her unless she was on my side and even then, she'd know things about me that I don't even admit to myself.

 

Until I read 'The Murder At The Vicarage' last September, my impressions of Jane Marple came entirely from adaptations of the novels for television. Now that I'm encountering the original text, I wonder how the TV people came to have left out most of the humour. They seem to have paid more attention to the period clothes and cars than to the tone of the novel.

 

There is a strong undercurrent of humour in 'The Body In The Library', some of it aimed at the genre in an in-joke kind of way, but most of it aimed at the pompous, the unkind and the hypocritical.

 

Jane Marple has a rare understanding that while class is important, it is money that drives our most desperate actions. She is able to see well-to-do gentlefolk with disconcerting accuracy, seeing beyond the manners and the social position to the person beneath, but is also able to do the same thing with people who make their living serving the gentlefolk. This makes Jane Marple something of an outsider, a status she seems entirely comfortable with.

 

I think the thing I enjoyed most about the book was the humour. From the start, 'The Body In The Library' reads like a rather drole assault on the more ridiculous elements of detective fiction combined with wickedly accurate evocations of what she calls 'the ruling class of censorious spinsters'.

 

The whole set up of the book, the finding of the body of an unknown young woman in the library of a respectable Colonel, is positioned as so unlikely (except in detective books) that it is hard for the Colonel and his wife to accept the possibility of it being real. This takes a swipe at detective fiction (where such discoveries go unremarked) and makes the discovery a source of humour rather than horror, that sets the tone for the novel.

 

Christie double-down on this by having the Colonel's wife, Dolly, call Jane Marple (even though it is not yet eight o'clock in the morning) and invite her to come to the house. Dolly explains that she wants Jane to come because she knows about murders and:

'What I feel is that if one has got to have a murder actually happening in one’s house, one might as well enjoy it, if you know what I mean. That’s why I want you to come and help me find out who did it and unravel the mystery and all that. It really is rather thrilling, isn’t it?’

I thought this was fun but also a reality check we readers of mysteries who emphasise the puzzle of finding the murderer over the brutal death of the person murdered.

When Christie moves on to show how the village gossip network functions, she doesn't miss an opportunity to deride the unconscious entitéement of the gossipers. I particularly liked this description:

‘What news?’ demanded Miss Hartnell. She had a deep bass voice and visited the poor indefatigably, however hard they tried to avoid her ministrations.

I used Poirot as my jumping-off point for reading Christie. Now I wish I'd started with Jane Marple. I think Christie likes Jane whereas she only tolerates Poirot. There are exceptions of course. 'The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd' is pretty hard to beat.

 
 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2020-06-14 15:50
Reading progress update: I've read 24%. - this is so fresh
The Body in the Library - Agatha Christie

Until I read 'The Murder At The Vicarage' last September, my impressions of Miss Marple came entirely from adaptations of the novels for television. Now that I'm encountering the original text, I wonder how the TV people came to have left out most of the humour. They seem to have paid more attention to the period clothes and cars than to the tone of the novel.

 

So far, 'The Body In The Library' reads like a rather drole assault on the more ridiculous elements of detective fiction combined with wickedly accurate evocations of what she calls 'the ruling class of censorious spinsters'.

 

The whole set up of the book, the finding of the body of an unknown young woman in the library of a respectable Colonel, is positioned as so unlikely (except in detective books) that it is hard for the Colonel and his wife to accept the possiblity of it being real. This takes a swipe at detective fiction (where such discoveries go unremarked) and makes the discovery a source of humour rather than horror, that sets the tone for the novel.

 

Christie double-down on this by having the Colonel's wife, Dolly, call Jane Marple (even though it is not yet eight o'clock in the morning) and invite her to come to the house. Dolly explains that she wants Jane to come because she knows about murders and:

 

'What I feel is that if one has got to have a murder actually happening in one’s house, one might as well enjoy it, if you know what I mean. That’s why I want you to come and help me find out who did it and unravel the mystery and all that. It really is rather thrilling, isn’t it?’

I thought this was fun but also a reality check we readers of mysteries who emphasise the puzzle of finding the murderer over the brutal death of the person murdered.

 

When Christie moves on to show how the village gossip network functions, she doesn't miss an opportunity to deride the unconscious entitéement of the gossipers. I particularly liked this description:

‘What news?’ demanded Miss Hartnell. She had a deep bass voice and visited the poor indefatigably, however hard they tried to avoid her ministrations.

 

I'm delighted by how fresh the humour in this book is. It's just what I need at the moment.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2019-05-26 17:20
Memorial Day reading
The Moonstone - Joy Connolly,Wilkie Collins
The Division Bell Mystery - Ellen Wilkinson
The Body in the Library - Agatha Christie

I've finished the Death on the Nile reread, which I loved, as I knew that I would, so all of my holdover reading has been completed.

 

Unfortunately, I have a very busy couple of weeks ahead, with two significant trials, so I'm spending most of my weekend with my work computer, building my trial books and prepping. I worked for 6 hours yesterday, and probably will work for the same or more today & tomorrow. 

 

There is a little bit of time available for reading, though, and I've settled on my extra Memorial Day reads:

 

28: Read a book that is identified as romance or chick-lit, or that has a cover that is more than 50% pink.

 

I was on the fence about this one, but then I checked out my small collection of Black Dog & Levanthal Agatha Christie hardbacks and realized that The Body in the Library is more than 50% pink. This is one that I haven't reread in a long time, and it's a good one!

 

6. Read a book set in your home town, state, or country or that you checked out of your local library or that has been on your (physical) bookshelves since last summer.

 

I dithered on this one quite a bit, but settled on the Barnes and Noble Classics edition of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, which fills one of my few remaining Detection Club bingo spaces. I'd really like to finish up with that project in June.

 

16. Read a book that is a mystery or suspense, or which has a title that contains all of the letters in the word C-A-B-I-N.

 

I am planning on reading The Division Bell Mystery by Ellen Wilkinson, which I checked out of the library. Tigus liked it, so I have high hopes! This will leave me with just 3 open squares on my Detection Club bingo card!

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-03-10 19:42
The Body in the Library
The Body in the Library (Audio) - Agatha Christie,Stephanie Cole

A fantastic Miss Marple, which has definitely improved for me on this reread. The mystery is wonderfully twisted and I´m still in awe how Miss Marple has been able to solve the murder. Miss Marple is amazing! And I particularly enjoyed that the vicar and his wife Griselda made an appearance as well in this book. 

 

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Stephanie Cole. I have never listened to a narration by her before, but I really liked listening to it. I especially loved her voice for Miss Marple, which is kind and understanding. The way I imagine her voice to be. 

Like Reblog
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-26 19:59
Body in the Library, Shows Miss Marple at Her Best
The Body in the Library - Agatha Christie

"The Body in the Library." When retired Colonel Arthur Bantry is wakened he and his wife Dolly are told there is a dead body in the library. They investigate and find a dead young woman in his library at Gossington Hall. The police show up and everyone starts to suspect Colonel Bantry in being behind the murder. Even though many will not come out and accuse him, the appearance of impropriety is enough to cause the Bantry's to lose their place in society.

Dolly calls up her old friend Jane Marple to help. What is nice is that Dolly calls back to Miss Marple solving all of the mysteries put before her in "Thirteen Problems." So you have one character who is aware that though Jane looks like a spinsterish older woman who is called "Victorian" by her pain in the butt nephew, she could put Sherlock Holmes to shame. 

What I loved about this book is that it takes you down a really long winding path to get to who is the dead girl and why was she placed in the colonel's library. Eventually the dead girl is revealed to be a missing dancer named Ruby Keene from the nearby Majestic Hotel. We have Miss Marple and Dolly going off to figure out, who at the hotel could possibly want Ruby dead. 

 

We get introduced to a lot of memorable characters in this one and honestly I have to say that I had no idea who did what to who and when all is revealed I went, oh that's so clever. I recall watching the most recent BBC adaptation of this one and wish that they had left it alone. I liked the original ending and thought that the latest Miss Marple's tried to be too sensational with things. 

I did notice in this one and the next Miss Marple, Miss Marple likes to set a lot of traps. So there is one difference between her and Poirot. Poirot was all about telling a room full of people who the guilty party was, Miss Marple always brought in the police to ensure a confession. So she was like Brenda Leigh Johnson in the Closer. 

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?