The story goes something like this: something strange is happening when the Bantry's are awoken one morning with the surprise news that a dead body has been found in library. Neither Colonel nor Mrs Bantry know the young platinum blonde who was murdered, but suspicion naturally falls on Colonel Bantry for having an 'indiscretion'. Only Miss Marple can solve the mystery before anyone else suffers at the hands of the killer. She and Mrs Bantry go to stay at the Majestic Hotel, where the murdered girl has been working as a dancer and it is here that the scene is set for an exciting murder investigation.
The reason I prefer a Hercule Poirot mystery to a Miss Marple one, is that I feel like it is often easier to work out the solution to the mystery. Hercule uses is "little grey cells" and I too can use my little gray cells to put the clues together. Miss Marple on the other hand, draws comparisons with little events she witnesses about St Mary's Mead, and I find that not know the people who form part of her anecdotes means that I find it a lot harder to draw parallels between her stories at the murder mystery at hand.
With A Body in the Library, however, I was able to use her anecdotes in order to assist me to solve the mystery. Having said that, I didn't figure it out – but all the clues were there for me to do so.
The characters in A Body in the Library are so well drawn, especially Dolly Bantry who I just loved. She was such a lovely old country lady – sufficiently happy with her town gossip and her gardening but very excited to be given the opportunity to investigate a murder that took place in her own home. I would love to be like her one day, retired in the country and focusing on the smaller joys in life like time in the garden and lunch with friends.
I also loved that there were almost more police and other detectives (Miss Marple included) attempting to solve the crime. There were the amateurs (Miss Marple), retired detectives called in for a favour by the family and the actual police that were investigating the murder. So many people working to solve the mystery made for some fun times and some great variation in the different ideas about who the murderer could be.
Not to mention the fact that the title, A Body in the Library, reminds me so much of the game Cluedo – "It was Rev. Green, with the rope, in the library" – a genuine murder cliché!
But you know what the best thing about this book is – Agatha Christie mentions herself in it! One of the characters in this story is a young boy who is very excited to have been involved in a murder mystery. He tells everyone that he loves reading detective stories, and had the autographs of Dorothy Sayers, HC Bailey, John Dickinson Carr….. and Agatha Christie!
All in all, A Body in the Library is murder mystery that you shouldn't miss out on!