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The Body in the Library (Miss Marple Series)

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple Series)

3.6 20
by Agatha Christie

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These are the initial eight volumes in what will grow to 24 over two years in Black Dog's new "Agatha Christie Collection." The books are all decent-quality hardcovers for a bargain price. If you're regularly replacing your Christies, gives these more durable editions a try. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Professional detectives are no match for elderly spinsters… it is hard not to be impressed.”
Time magazine
“Genuine old-crusted Christie.”
Birmingham Post
"One of the most ingeniously contrived of all her murder stories."
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."
Time Magazine
"Genuine old-crusted Christie."
Time Magazines Literary Supplement (London)
"Professional detectives are no match for elderly spinsters… it is hard not to be impressed."

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Miss Marple Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.76(w) x 4.26(h) x 0.61(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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?"

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.”

Meet 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.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 15, 1890
Date of Death:
January 12, 1976
Place of Birth:
Torquay, Devon, England
Home schooling

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The Body in the Library (Miss Marple Series) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 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.
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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 3 months 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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Personally, I am a big fan of Agatha Christe's work, and I didn't like this very much. It was dull, had no twists and turns, just plain old mystery. If you like that kind of stuff, then I guess you'll like this. They say the same things over and over. I don't really recommend this to any of Christe's fans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How disappointng! How could Agatha Christie make such a horrid book, it's just not like her! I could put the book down! And I'm not the only one who thinks this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was the worst Agatha Christie yet!i wasn't shocked at all about who did it. it was just so obvious! and there was like one twist and that was about the 2 bodies. if you buy this book you're wasting your money! This is a Don't read.i don't even think anyone who likes slow mysteries would like the book. It is very, VERY disappointing and very, very, very, VERY boring. I assure you that when you read this book, you'll want your money back!!I give this book a one-star which means poor. It was not poorly written but it had a poor plot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Delightful Story, ending was a bit confusing. There was too much going on. Though, novel is quite appealing
Guest More than 1 year ago
Agatha Christie set of 1,000 copies and the 70 novels. But each Agatha Christie likes cozy mysteries. However, The Body in the Library is a cozy mystery novel. We kill by a man and Miss Marple has a detective series by Agatha Christie.