Agatha Christie is one of my favourite authors. There is something sublime about snuggling up in my nice cosy bedroom whilst a storm is raging outside and losing myself in one of her murder mysteries. I’d be hard pushed to pick a favourite between Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, and even harder pushed to pick a favourite book.
The Body in the Library was the first Agatha Christie I read, and seemed a perfect choice for my TBT review.
Colonel and Mrs Bantry wake up one day to find a glamorous blonde strangled to death on the hearth rug in their library. Just as puzzled as the police by this, Mrs Bantry calls upon her bff, Miss Marple, to investigate. The girl is swiftly identified as Ruby Keene, a dance hostess at a nearby hotel and Miss Marple and Mrs Bantry head off on a ‘quiet holiday’ to the same hotel. What follows is a fabulous take on a crime staple- a dead body left in an incongruous location.
Initially it seems like a murder mystery taken straight from the game Cluedo- it was the Colonel, in the library with the rope!
However, Christie weaves her usual magic and introduces a number of other suspects, dropping clues here and there until you have no idea who the killer is., and yet, the big reveal always makes complete sense.
Ruby Keene was to be adopted by wealthy invalid, Conway Jefferson, and as impeding sole heir of his fortune, Jefferson’s family become suspects. Throw into the mix a tennis coach who is not who he seems, an apparent bumbling man of leisure who was the last to see Ruby alive, and a hot headed film producer, and the suspect list is reassuringly large. It certainly keeps you guessing throughout!
Although the second of the Miss Marple novels, and 15th mystery (The Thirteen Problems is before this), it does actually serve as a good introduction to Miss Marple and her methods. Miss Marple has the mind of a sink, she believes in the good and the evil of humanity, and despite her kind old lady persona, has a razor sharp intuitive mind and frankly brilliant deductive reasoning skills.
I recommend giving this a try. You won’t be disappointed!