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The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery (Miss Marple Mysteries) Paperback – April 12, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 273 customer reviews
Book 3 of 13 in the Miss Marple Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Agatha Christie has made it awfully hard for the rest of us, because whenever we think of a clever twist—she’s already done it.” (Elizabeth Peters, New York Times bestselling author of the Amelia Peabody novels)

“Genuine old-crusted Christie.” (Time magazine)

“Professional detectives are no match for elderly spinsters… it is hard not to be impressed.” (Times Literary Supplement (London))

“One of the most ingeniously contrived of all her murder stories.” (Birmingham Post)

From the Back Cover

It’s seven in the morning. The Bantrys wake to findthe body of a young woman in their library.She is wearing an evening dress and heavy makeup,which is now smeared across her cheeks. But whois she? How did she get there? And what is theconnection with another dead girl, whose charredremains are later discovered in an abandonedquarry? The respectable Bantrys invite Miss Marpleto solve the mystery . . . before tongues start to wag.

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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Miss Marple Mysteries (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062073613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062073617
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (273 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kara J. Jorges on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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