The Body in the Library (Miss Marple Series)

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple Series)

by Agatha Christie

Hardcover(Library Binding)

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Agatha Christie's genius for detective fiction is unparalleled. Her worldwide popularity is phenomenal, her characters engaging, her plots spellbinding. No one knows the human heart—or the dark passions that can stop it—better than Agatha Christie. She is truly the one and only Queen of Crime.

The Body in the Library

The body of a beautiful blonde is found in the library of Gossington Hall. What the young woman was doing in the quiet village of St. Mary Mead is precisely what Jane Marple means to find out. Amid rumors of scandal, Miss Marple baits a clever trap to catch a ruthless killer.

Author Biography:

Agatha Christie is the world's best known mystery writer. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in 44 foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare.

Her writing career spanned more than half a century, during which she wrote 79 novels and short story collections, as well as 14 plays, one of which, The Mousetrap, is the longest-running play in history. Two of the characters she created, the brilliant little Belgian Hercule Poirot and the irrepressible and relentless Miss Marple, went on to become world-famous detectives. Both have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies.

Agatha Christie also wrote six romantic novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. As well, she wrote four nonfiction books including an autobiography and an entertaining account of the many expeditions she shared with her archaeologist husband Sir Max Mallowan.

Agatha Christie died in 1976.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780613571906
Publisher: Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
Publication date: 03/01/2000
Series: Miss Marple Series
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Agatha Christie, the acknowledged ‘Queen of Detective Fiction’ (The Observer) was born in Torquay in 1890. During the First World War she worked as a hospital dispenser, and it was here that she gleaned the working knowledge of various poisons that was to prove so useful in her detective stories. Her first novel was The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced Hercule Poirot to the world. This was published in 1920 (although in fact she had written it during the war) and was followed over the next six years by four more detective novels and a short story collection. However, it was not until the publication of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd that Agatha Christie’s reputation was firmly established. This novel, with its complex plot and genuinely shocking conclusion, attracted considerable public attention and has since been acknowledged by many experts as a masterpiece. In 1930 the sharp-witted spinster sleuth Miss Marple made her first appearance in Murder at the Vicarage. In all, Agatha Christie published 80 crime novels and short story collections. The brilliance of Christie’s plots, and her enduring appeal, have led to a number of dramatisations of her work on radio, television and film. In 1930 she was one of a number of crime writers asked to contribute a chapter to a mystery, Behind the Screen, that was broadcast on BBC radio on 21st June that year. More recently, June Whitfield portrayed Miss Marple on BBC Radio 4, whilst John Moffat starred as Hercule Poirot. On screen, Peter Ustinov, David Suchet, Margaret Rutherford, Joan Hickson, Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie have all memorably played Agatha Christie’s famous sleuths. As her play The Mousetrap (the longest-running play in the history of the theatre) testifies, Agatha Christie’s detective stories are likely to appeal for a long time to come. Agatha Christie was awarded a CBE in 1956 and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1971. She died in 1976.

Date of Birth:

September 15, 1890

Date of Death:

January 12, 1976

Place of Birth:

Torquay, Devon, England


Home schooling

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Mrs. Bantry was dreaming. Her sweet peas had just taken a First at the flower show. The vicar, dressed in cassock and surplice, was giving out the prizes in church. His wife wandered past, dressed in a bathing suit, but, as is the blessed habit of dreams, this fact did not arouse, the disapproval of the parish in the way it would assuredly have done in real life.

Mrs. Bantry was enjoying her dream a good deal. She usually did enjoy those early-morning dreams that were terminated by the arrival of tea. Somewhere in her inner consciousness was an awareness of the usual noises of the household. The rattle of the curtain rings on the stairs as the housemaid drew them, the noises of the second housemaid's dustpan and brush in the passage outside. In the distance the heavy noise of the front-door bolt being drawn back.

Another day was beginning. In the meantime she must extract as much pleasure as possible from the flower show, for already its dreamlike quality was becoming apparent.

Below her was the noise of the big wooden shutters in the drawing room being opened. She heard it, yet did not hear it. For quite half an hour longer the usual household noises would go on, discreet, subdued, not disturbing because they were so familiar. They would culminate in a swift, controlled sound of footsteps along the passage, the rustle of a print dress, the subdued chink of tea things as the tray was deposited on the table outside, then the soft knock and the entry of Mary to draw the curtains.

In her sleep Mrs. Bantry frowned. Something disturbing was penetrating through the dream state, something out of its time. Footsteps alongthe passage, footsteps that were too hurried and too soon. Her ears listened unconsciously for the chink of china, but there was no chink of china.

The knock came at the door. Automatically, from the depths of her dream, Mrs. Bantry said, "Come in." The door opened; now there would be the chink of curtain rings as the curtains were drawn back.

But there was no chink of curtain rings. Out of the dim green light Mary's voice came, breathless, hysterical. "Oh, ma'am, oh, ma'am, there's a body in the library! "

And then, with a hysterical burst of sobs, she rushed out of the room again.

Mrs. Bantry sat up in bed.

Either her dream had taken a very odd turn or else--or else Mary had really rushed into the room and had said--incredibly fantastic!--that there was a body in the library.

"Impossible," said Mrs. Bantry to herself. "I must have been dreaming."

But even as she said it, she felt more and more certain that she had not been dreaming; that Mary, her superior self-controlled Mary, had actually uttered those fantastic words.

Mrs. Bantry reflected a minute and then applied an urgent conjugal elbow to her sleeping spouse. "Arthur, Arthur, wake up."

Colonel Bantry grunted, muttered and rolled over on his side.

"Wake up, Arthur. Did you hear what she said?"

"Very likely," said Colonel Bantry indistinctly. "I quite agree with you, Dolly," and promptly went to sleep again.

Mrs. Bantry shook him. "You've got to listen. Mary came in and said that there was a body in the library."

"Eh, what?"

"A body in the library."

"Who said so?"


Colonel Bantry collected his scattered faculties and proceeded to deal with the situation. He said, "Nonsense, old girl! You've been dreaming."

"No, I haven't. I thought so, too, at first. But I haven't. She really came in and said so."

"Mary came in and said there was a body in the library?"


"But there couldn't be," said Colonel Bantry.

"No-no, I suppose not," said Mrs. Bantry doubtfully. Rallying, she went on, "But then why did Mary say there was?"

"She can't have."

"She did."

"You must have imagined it."

"I didn't imagine it."

Colonel Bantry was by now thoroughly awake and prepared to deal with the situation on its merits. He said kindly, "You've been dreaming, Dolly. It's that detective story you were reading--The Clue of the Broken Match. You know, Lord Edgbaston finds a beautiful blonde dead on the library hearthrug. Bodies are always being found in libraries in books. I've never known a case in real life."

"Perhaps you will now," said Mrs. Bantry. "Anyway, Arthur, you've got to get up and see."

"But really, Dolly, it must have been a dream. Dreams often do seem wonderfully vivid when you first wake up. You feel quite sure they're true."

"I was having quite a different sort of dream about a flower show and the vicar's wife in a bathing dress--something like that." Mrs. Bantry jumped out of bed and pulled back the curtains. The light of a fine autumn day flooded the room.

"I did not dream it," said Mrs. Bantry firmly. "Get up at once, Arthur, and go downstairs and see about it."

"You want me to go downstairs and ask if there's a body in the library? I shall look a fool."

"You needn't ask anything," said Mrs. Bantry. "if there is a body--and of course it's just possible that Mary's gone mad and thinks she sees things that aren't there--well, somebody will tell you soon enough. You won't have to say a word."

Grumbling, Colonel Bantry wrapped himself in his dressing gown and left the room. He went along the passage and down the staircase. At the foot of it was a little knot of huddled servants; some of them were sobbing.

The butler stepped forward impressively. "I'm glad you have come, sir. I have directed that nothing should be done until you came. Will it be in order for me to ring up the police, sir?"

"Ring 'em up about what?"

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

Elizabeth Peters

“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.”

Customer Reviews

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The Body in the Library (Miss Marple Series) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
actorsaudio More than 1 year ago
The Body In The Library is one of the classic Miss Marple Mysteries. It is a quick read and definitely worth the time. If you like Miss Marple this is one of her best cases. It really gives an interesting look at life in England at that point in time. The body of a young, beautiful blonde woman mysteriously appears in the library of a wealthy man's home and no one seems to know how it got there. The woman worked as a professional dancer in a rural club in England. By today's standards, her job was pretty tame. The club was frequented by older people who liked to play bridge. No hanky-panky so to speak. She frequently talked to older people, and occasionally she would dance with a male partner who was a professional dancer to entertain the older people. So, how did she end up dead? Needless to say, there are many suspects, but the mystery revolves around how the body ended up in the rich man's library. I'll give you a clue: "This young blonde wasn't looking for a good book to read! In fact, it was never established that she could read." But, I can assure you Agatha Christie hides the answer right up to the very end, and when Miss Marple solves the case, you will be completely satisfie and say: "Why didn't I think of that?" This is a very interesting period piece told with great expository writing that gives the reader an interesting look at another time and another place. I've read most of Agatha Christie, and somehow I missed this one. The book cover caught my eye, and I found this one quite good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Agent_of_Change More than 1 year ago
I like Agatha Christie. I enjoy all of her stories and this was no less enjoyable. Yes, it's predictable, but it's still a fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this Jane Marple mystery, there were really no suprises or twists. Althouh it was enjoyable, it moved very slowly, but with a lot of Jane Marple, it is bearable. I wouldn't recomend it to any of Christie's fans, but if your into that kind of slow moving murders, read this one.
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Body in the Library ¿ what a title to catch the eye of a bookworm! And especially the eye of a former library shelver bookworm like myself. Miss Marple stars in this Agatha Christie mystery that is complete with obnoxious policeman, devious witnesses, plenty of red herrings, and a brilliant finish. As in many of Christie's mysteries, the victim is never sentimentalized, and there are many people who would benefit from the victim's death. The work to discover the murderer is not a quest to avenge her, but a cool procedure of justice that must be done, even if the victim was a shallow, selfish gold digger. And yet there is a human element to the process as well; the body was found in Colonel Bantry's library, and if the murderer is never caught, suspicion will mark him out to be shunned in his circle of influence. His wife wisely sees that it will kill him in the end, which is why she enlists the help of her friend Miss Marple. If Miss Marple can't solve the mystery, no one can.Christie generally relies on well-established types to create her characters, and yet there is something compelling and memorable about them all the same. I liked the character of Conway Jefferson, though I'm not sure how his fatherly interest in Ruby Keene would be interpreted today. Christie's portrayal of Dinah Lee and her defiant attitude toward traditional morality is very insightful, and I love Miss Marple's compassion even toward people who are rude to her. The scene with the parents of Pamela Reeves is just heartbreaking. And that's something really very unexpected in a book like this, pigeonholed firmly in the murder-mystery genre. There's tragedy and humor mixed up together, and they don't negate one another. It's rather like real life, stylized as the art form of murder mysteries may be.I listened to this on audiobook read by Stephanie Cole, and it was excellent. Ms. Cole does a wonderful job with the characters' voices, especially that of Miss Marple. Cole perfectly captures the old maid's gentle, almost timid, but self-possessed and amused tone. Of course it's always so fun to have the case solved by the most unlikely, unimposing person imaginable. And prim little Miss Marple is a wonderful sleuth. Many times it's her womanly eye that catches the little details that the male policemen fail to notice. Poirot has long been a favorite detective of mine, but Miss Marple is definitely gaining on him!This story has less to do with libraries than the title implies, which was a bit of a disappointment to a library-lover like myself. But I certainly enjoyed it as a well-rounded, well-written mystery, and would recommend it (especially the audiobook version). If you haven't yet made Miss Marple's acquaintance and heard her theory of village parallels, The Body in the Library is a good place to start.
madamejeanie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Colonel and Mrs. Bantry wake up one morning to find a dead body in their library on the hearth rug, it is a complete puzzle as to who this woman was and how in the world she got into the library! The Colonel called the constabulary, but Mrs. Bantry called her friend, Miss Jane Marple, because she has this incredible knack for solving puzzles like this one. Something always reminds Miss Marple of something similar that happened in her village years back, and Miss Marple always says that you can see just about anything in an English village if you live there long enough. This puzzle takes the two elderly ladies to a seaside resort hotel in Danemouth with an interesting set of suspects and Miss Marple solves the puzzle just a few steps ahead of Inspector Slack, who finally learns a healthy respect for the old gal's talent for unraveling a mystery.This was a very light and fast read filled with twists and turns before the solution became as clear to me as it was to Miss Marple. 4
BooksForDinner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another fun mystery by the queen.
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once again, Miss Marple is back on the case in this the second novel of the Miss Marple series. This time she is called by her friend Dolly Bantry, who lives in Gossington Hall, because Dolly's maid woke her up in the morning screaming that there was a body in the library. It turns out to be the body of a young girl, dressed in evening finery, and a quick search of missing persons turns up the name of Ruby Keene, who fits the description of the dead girl. Ruby was a dancer at a local resort, and had recently caught the eye of one Jeffrey Conway, an elderly man confined to a wheelchair, who wanted to "adopt" Ruby. But there were several people who didn't want to see that happen, and getting rid of Ruby seemed a good idea at the time. But wait! Just when you think you've got it, Dame Agatha throws you a curveball and you have to go back to square one in your thinking! I tell you, she is a master at her game.Recommended; if you like British mysteries or the English-village cozy type novel, you'll very much enjoy this one.
tapestry100 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'Oh ma'am, oh ma'am, there's a body in the library!' And so starts Col. and Mrs. Bantry's day. It seems that the body of a young, platinum blonde girl has shown up in the library, and no one knows how she got there. By the end of the day, there are plenty of suspects, but still no answers. Enter Jane Marple. In typical Miss Marple fashion, she cuts to the quick of the problem and discovers the secrets that everyone is hiding and helps find the killer.I have to admit, having finished The Thirteen Problems not that long ago, I can say that Christie's strength lies when she is writing a full novel. Her short stories seemed so strained after reading this. The Body in the Library was a fairly easy read, and was quite enjoyable. I also like the fact that Christie does carry over several of the local characters of St. Mary Meade from one story to the next.
sszkutak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Agatha Christie, when I was in middle school this was the first book of hers given to me by my mother. My mom isn't a huge reader like myself, by she introduced me to this wonderful mystery writer. Body in the Library encompassed everything I ever wanted from a mystery, the twists and clues and may people that could have done it. Agatha Christie is classic and all of her mysteries keep me intrigued.
15Sophie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book Review:The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery by Agathat ChristieThis book takes place in a little village called Denemouth, England. The book is a mystery genre and it tells the story of a murder that occured in the areas of Denemouth and the hotel Majestic. One night when Mrs. Bantry was asleep up stairs and Mr. Bantry had come home around midnight a complicated but simple murder had occured right under their noses. They only found out the next day when the maid came through the library to dust the books. What I thought of Agatha Christie's book: I thought that she lead into the book extremely well by captivating the reader into thinking 'wow, what is going on?'. I the book I found that there were many characters to keep in mind all the time and it was difficult to keep up with all of their personalities at the same time. I rather liked how she made you think to your self while reading; 'What are the possibilites of this person commiting the crime?, What would this clue mean in the mystery?' and so on. She used beautifully descriptive words such as sullenly,outrageous, willingly, rebellious and dumbfounded. Naturally there were many more and these were just a few examples. I personally think that this book would do well for readers that are 15 or 16 years and older so it is easier to follow along with the complicated wording and all the characters. I enjoyed this genre very much and will read more of these fantastic books.
victorianrose869 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
September 27, 1999The Body in the LibraryAgatha ChristieAs usual after reading a Christie book, I came away confused at the end. I always have a hard time understanding how the mystery is unraveled! Christie seems fond of ¿timing¿ tricks, and they always elude me. Just don¿t have an analytical or methodical mind for details, I guess. Love the stories anyway. The title alone was irresistible. The Bantrys have found the dead body of an attractive young woman in their library, someone unknown to them. There¿s body-switching involved, and it confuses me even now as to why it was necessary ¿ something to do with timing and alibis. Then there¿s the rich old man and the cunning young woman who squirms her way into his fatherly affections, etc. I¿ll really need to read it again more carefully, so I can understand it.
eleanorigby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites. I prefer Miss Marple to Hercule Poirot. Christie is the master of Golden Age British mysteries.
ostrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one is delightful to read because Christie has such fun with the conventions of a village-cozy, almost-locked-room mystery. The local police and "film people" add much amusement.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
It's not as good as the one I'm reading now, which is pretty interesting. There was only one twist, but it was good nevertheless. The murderer(s) were quite a surprise, as usual. It was interesting, but could be better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt this was an interesting and clever, although rather short, mystery. Sadly it got very confusing as this edition, put out by Appletons, was missing several paragraphs and even a full page or two.