Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

The Body in the Library

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Body in the Library (1942) Agatha Christie (Miss Marple)

The Body in the LibraryThis was published in 1942, but does not really seem to actually be set during the war, although there are allusions to war.

He did A.R.P. work, you know, when he was only eighteen.

I suppose that makes the story feel even more timeless, although most of her stories have a sense of timelessness, since they focus on people and behavior rather than science and technology.

This is no fooling Miss Marple.

‘You don’t like him.’

‘Yes, I do. Most women would. But he can’t take me in.

I think one of the things I like best about this story is Mrs Bantry, who seems at first to be rather oblivious and silly, and then comes out with this:

‘I’m not altogether a fool. You may think, Jane, that I don’t know what they’re saying all over St Mary Mead – all over the county! They’re saying, one and all, that there’s no smoke without fire, that if the girl was found in Arthur’s library, then Arthur must know something about it. They’re saying that the girl was Arthur’s mistress – that she was his illegitimate daughter – that she was blackmailing him. They’re saying anything that comes into their damned heads! And it will go on like that! Arthur won’t realize it at first – he won’t know what’s wrong. He’s such a dear old stupid that he’d never believe people would think things like that about him. He’ll be cold-shouldered and looked at askance (whatever that means!) and it will dawn on him little by little and suddenly he’ll be horrified and cut to the soul, and he’ll fasten up like a clam and just endure, day after day, in misery.

That is probably a far better reason for wanting to solve a mystery than most amateur detectives come up with.

And it is in the book we finally see Miss Marple asking questions (gently and not so gently) to ferret out the answers she seeks.

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Rating: 8/10


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