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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Body in the Library, by Agatha Christie



The Body in the Library
by Agatha Christie
1941


He's gone down to the farm. Looking at pigs and things always soothes him if he's been upset.

It seems that in many of the mysteries I read the author tends to take a leisurely approach, setting the stage, introducing the characters and Lord knows what else before any crimes are actually committed. So it's kind of a nice change of pace when a crime is flung at the reader with almost no preamble, as in Agatha Christie's The Body in the Library.

The library in question belongs to the well-heeled Bantry family. The body is that of a young and attractive young woman and no one in the household seems to know who she is - or so they say. A gang of police spend a great deal of time and energy trying to determine how and why she got there and who did the dirty deed and there are quite a few twists and turns on the way. But it's ultimately Miss Jane Marple - whose presence throughout is comparatively low-key - who puts all the pieces together.

A body in the library might just be the ultimate cliché of the whodunit, but in Christie's hands its rises above all that. This one is certainly worth a look.

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