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VINE VOICEon January 3, 2007
The well-ordered world of Colonel and Mrs. Bantry is turned on its ear one morning when the body of a young woman is found in their library. Neither the Bantrys nor their staff knew the young woman, Ruby Keene, a dance hostess at the nearby Majestic Hotel. Fearing what the whispers in the village will do to her husband's reputation, Dolly Bantry calls her friend and sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. She and Miss Marple check in to the Majestic Hotel and begin investigating. They meet Conway Jefferson, an old man who had been planning to adopt the victim, and his young in-laws, all survivors of an accident that killed Jefferson's children. Ruby's cousin Josie also works at the hotel, having gotten Ruby the job when she hurt her ankle. Additional suspects are the too-handsome dance instructor, a poorly-spoken young guest of the hotel, and a neighbor of the Bantrys who throws too many film industry parties his neighbors do not approve of. In the end, Miss Marple has the whole thing figured out well in advance of the police, who fall for an obvious red herring before she straightens them out.

Christie writes with typical British wit and humor, wry observations appearing here and there, such as a reference to a woman who regularly ministered to the poor, no matter how hard they tried to avoid her. Miss Marple's character is smarter than everyone else, but not in the least arrogant about it, finding effusive praise somewhat trying and deflecting any boastful claims about her abilities.

An enjoyable read, I recommend this book for a quiet afternoon or evening when it can suck you right into polite English country society and amuse with its light sense of humor. It's easy to see why Christie's books have such timeless appeal.
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on November 19, 1999
This story has lots of characters and plot twists. Readers will find Miss Marple and her investigation of the crimes to be highly involving. A classic story that will be enjoyed by every Agatha Christie fan.
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VINE VOICEon June 5, 2007
In the author's foreword to The Body in the Library Christie writes: "I laid down for myself certain conditions. The library in question must be a highly orthodox and conventional library. The body, on the other hand, must be a wildly improbably and highly sensational body."

Christie kept to her conditions, and the results were very nice indeed. Whenever I read a Miss Marple book that I really like, I say that "this is my favorite Miss Marple". But I really think that The Body in the Library may well be my actual favorite Miss Marple. I have read that Christie herself thought that it was the best opening she ever wrote.

What makes it a favorite? The contrasts between a flashy dead girl and the house in which she clearly does not belong are a part of it. It allows for a very nice exploration of life in St. Mary Mead. The characters are also top notch. The Bantrys are warm and funny, but still have their own depth. Conway Jefferson, permanently in mourning, is one of the most interesting characters in the Christie body of work. Still very nice to read after all these years.
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on August 3, 2001
I don't know why anyone would buy a book by Agatha Christie expecting sex and violence. Her style was to create the atmosphere of an English village before 1935 and to create a puzzle involving the death of someone in the village. Her detectives don't beat anyone up or make love to the suspects. Her detective is given the same clues that the reader sees, and in the last chapter, the detective weaves the relevant clues into the solution. In The Body in the Library, the detective is Jane Marple, an elderly spinster who uses a sharp mind so solve the puzzle. I like the early Jane Marple mysteries; The Body in the Library is fairly typical. You might find this book more enjoyable if you first read The Murder at the Vicarage.
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on August 27, 1999
I confess to absolutely loving Dame Agatha's Miss Marple books; I suppose I find the coziness of them soothing, or something. I especially enjoy this one because of the presence of Col. & Mrs. Bantry. Miss Marple's character becomes more rounded as we see her interact with her friends. I agree with those readers who noted less "action" in this book, but I don't think that dooms it to being a bad book--it's just a change of pace, which is often refreshing.
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on March 6, 2014
Agatha Christie's "The Body in the Library" is the second book in her Miss Marple Mysteries. The mystery and writing are interesting and the book fixes many of the issues I had with the first book. Specifically, there's more Miss Marple here and the book actually reads like a mystery. In the first book, she was almost non-existent and the text read like a description of life in a small town. In this book, she's moved up to the ranks of the main characters (though she's still overshadowed by the other characters and the police) and the small town life has moved to the back burner. The biggest issue I have with the book is, unfortunately, with Miss Marple: she just pulls the answers out of her... bonnet and claims she can do so because she's seen the same human behavior patterns in the people of her village. Maybe that's true. But, it's a bit of a letdown for us in that we can't follow along with her processes until she just makes an announcement of guilt. If Amazon allowed fractional ratings, I'd go for 3-3/4. But, for integers, I'm rating the book at a Very Good 4 stars out of 5.

The novels featuring Miss Marple are:

1. The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple Mysteries)
2. The Body in the Library (Miss Marple Mysteries)
3. The Moving Finger: A Miss Marple Mystery (Miss Marple Mysteries)
4. A Murder Is Announced: A Miss Marple Mystery (Miss Marple Mysteries)
5. They Do It With Mirrors: A Miss Marple Mystery (Miss Marple Mysteries)
6. A Pocket Full of Rye: A Miss Marple Mystery (Miss Marple Mysteries)
7. 4:50 from Paddington (Miss Marple Mysteries)
8. The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side (Miss Marple Mysteries)
9. A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple Mysteries)
10. At Bertram's Hotel (Miss Marple Mysteries)
11. Nemesis: A Miss Marple Mystery (Miss Marple Mysteries)
12. Sleeping Murder (Miss Marple Mysteries)
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on September 25, 1999
Don't listen to those people who said this was wasgreat!!!! I never suspected the ending, even though I know thatChristie always has the most unlikely person as the murderer. Read it!
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on October 23, 2013
I am almost reluctant to write this review as the vast majority of reviews are glowing with praise for the author. I found the book interesting enough that I couldn't put it down once I got about halfway through and continued reading into the wee hours of the morning until I had finished. At that point, I was very confused. This book deals with two murders, one of which makes perfectly good sense (to the murderers and the reader) as the victim's death will prevent the victim from receiving a large amount of money which will go to the perpetrators instead. The other death involves a young village girl lured to a hotel by the murderers and also killed. The clothing of the two victims is exchanged, one body ends up in the library of a respectable couple and the other body ends up in a stolen vehicle which is set of fire so that the body can be identified only by a shoe and a button. The death of the young village girl made no sense to me, nor did the exchange of clothing, nor did setting one of the bodies on fire, since identification of the victim would be necessary for the murderers to inherit the large amount of money. I reread the book carefully thinking that I had missed some important clues, but I didn't find what I was looking for. Perhaps I am exceptionally dense, but I was disappointed that the book provided no logical reason that I could discern for the murder of the village teen-ager.
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on January 24, 2016
This was one that I remembered almost all of the details of from the last time I got on a Christie kick. And it was still fun to read. Managed to feel surprising even though I remembered so many details, including the murderer, the motive, how it was proved, etc. Could watch how she built it up, knowing what throwaway lines early in the book were actually significant, and really enjoy the whole thing. Great little Marple. Not the best whodunit, as the answer ends up being more obvious than some other of Christie's greatest, and some of the clues that are necessary to figure it out aren't given until the reveal, but all around enjoyable.
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on April 13, 2013
The plot is well developed and the suspects are many with lots of action that keeps one turning the pages. Christie gives such wonderful descriptive characterizations that one can easily visualize each fictional being amidst their settings.

How terribly dreadful to wake up one morning and find a body in your library......the body of a rather young blonde woman. Such is the surprise for Colonel and Mrs. Bantry. Mrs. Bantry is excited.....a murder in her own home! As one might expect, the Colonel is somewhat depressed. They both realize what the implications for the Colonel might be. Well, what will they do? They don't even know the victim. The police are called, of course. Mrs. Bantry also calls in her sleuthing friend, Miss Marple, to help solve the murder. The Colonel goes off to the farm to watch the pigs while he mulls over the whys and wherefores of the body in his library. Oh my.

Then the body of another young girl is found in a burned vehicle. Yes, both victims were murdered. Two murders in and around the quiet little village of St. Mary Mead is a bit unnerving; however, they must be solved. Suspects and motives are plentiful........ a dancer, a widow, a widower, a tennis pro, a film maker and more. Miss Marple, the aging amateur (or is she) super sleuth and her friend Mrs. Bantry could get themselves into a heap of trouble with snooping around and making really nosy inquiries. Miss Marple annoys just a few people with her fabricated missions. She is so clever at baiting and trapping ruthless villians. Clues, seemingly unnoticed by the police, such as clipped fingernails, an old dress, and a young girls so called solo shopping trip. Hmmm. Miss Marple may seem like just another lonely aging busybody; however, she can be dynamite when it comes to putting the puzzle pieces together. She lives up to her reputation as a pretty good detective and helps the police solve both murders. Surprises are always around the corner when Miss Marple is involved. One can count on the works of Dame Christie when in the mood for an exciting murder and whodunit.
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