Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Body in the Library

The Body in the Library
(A Miss Marple Mystery)
By Agatha Christie (Author's Website)
Publisher: Harper
Published: March 2002
ISBN-13: 9780007120833
224 pages

First sentence: Mrs Bantry was dreaming.

Believe it or not, The Body in the Library is the first Agatha Christie story I read. Even my husband had read almost all her works in his student days. How I come to decide reading Agatha Christie was like this: I was at KLCC on Saturday browsing at Kinokuniya after going about my 'official' business. I came across Joe Vitale's Hynotic Writing, flipped through it, and in one of the chapters it talks about Agatha Christie and her writings—what makes her books so addictive. I decided there and then to pick one of her books. I ended up picking this one under the Miss Marple Mystery series and another one under Hercule Poirot. And what can I say? I am glad I did!

Now, back to the book. When the body of a young blonde girl is found in the library of Colonel Bantry in the early hours of the morning, Mrs Bantry calls upon her old friend, Jane Marple or better known as Miss Marple, for help. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster who lives in the little English village of St. Mary Mead. But she is no ordinary old lady because when it comes to solving mysteries, she is really good. Even the police acknowledge her sharp mind and sleuthing skills.

Miss Marple jumps at the opportunity to help solve a mystery. And of course, the local police are officially involved. Nobody knows how the girl’s body got into the library. The Bantrys have not seen the girl before. The chambermaids have not got a clue. Later it turns out that there is another murder—also of a young girl—and Miss Marple thinks it is related to the current case. Old Mr Jefferson who is a crippled and a widower has a deep liking to this dead girl. He treats her like his own daughter. He had lost his own son and daughter in an accident; the son-in-law and daughter-in-law are close to him. When the girl disappears, it is Mr Jefferson who reports to the police. Many individuals are linked to her death but who is the guilty one?

The story reads in a delightfully old-fashioned way and engaging. I like the plot’s twist and turn, and I do marvel at Miss Marple’s keen observations of human behaviour. She has a sharp eye for details and is very good at connecting the dots so to speak. As the book says, nothing escapes her. Now that I have read one of the books in the Miss Marple series, I am going to give Poirot a shot. I am sure it would be engaging as well.

Are you a fan of Agatha Christie?