The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery

The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery

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by Agatha Christie
     
 

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It’s seven in the morning. The Bantrys wake to findthe body of a young woman in their library.She is wearing an evening dress and heavy makeup,which is now smeared across her cheeks. But whois she? How did she get there? And what is theconnection with another dead girl, whose charredremains are later discovered in an abandonedquarry? The respectable Bantrys

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Overview

It’s seven in the morning. The Bantrys wake to findthe body of a young woman in their library.She is wearing an evening dress and heavy makeup,which is now smeared across her cheeks. But whois she? How did she get there? And what is theconnection with another dead girl, whose charredremains are later discovered in an abandonedquarry? The respectable Bantrys invite Miss Marpleto solve the mystery . . . before tongues start to wag.

Editorial Reviews

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.”
Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Professional detectives are no match for elderly spinsters… it is hard not to be impressed.”
Birmingham Post
“One of the most ingeniously contrived of all her murder stories.”
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

ISBN-13:
9780062073617
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/12/2011
Series:
Miss Marple Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
222,454
Product dimensions:
7.78(w) x 5.38(h) x 0.58(d)

Related Subjects

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?"

"Mary."

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?"

"Yes."

"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?"

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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 is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976. Sophie Hannah is the internationally bestselling author of nine psychological thrillers, which have been published in more than 20 countries and adapted for television. Sophie is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, and as a poet has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 15, 1890
Date of Death:
January 12, 1976
Place of Birth:
Torquay, Devon, England
Education:
Home schooling
Website:
http://www.agathachristie.com

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The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Agatha Christie never disappoints. I always fail to find out "who done it" until the very end when she finally explains it all. Love her! Love Miss Marple!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keeps you interested throughout the novel! Great book that makes you the detective too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cool book..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
If you love reading Agatha Christie, you will enjoy this one. Keeps you guessing. Well edited.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The new arrival in the agatha christe series takes place in the well known england. Christe has doen a great job yet again of hinting for readers at the answer to the mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Borrow then buy a print used for reread
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jhigbie More than 1 year ago
She is one of the most published mystery crime writers of all time, only surpassed by the Bible itself or so I'm told. However, I always come away feeling cheated at her endings which require hidden information, things you weren't told and couldn't have known. Too bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When a body turns up in the library of a colonel and his curious wife, the police take the lead in the investigation but the colonel’s wife and her sleuthing friend cannot help but do their own investigating and they just might close the case.   “A Body in the Library” by Agatha Christie has plenty of plot twists that can keep any reader interested.  Though it is not lengthy, it is thrilling and I truly enjoyed reading it.  The writer keeps the mystery going until the very end so you are kept in suspense.  Though, the thing to remember while reading this book is that it is placed in London in the mid-1800s, since Agatha Christie was born in 1890.  Agatha Christie has a great way of keeping the story interesting but still keeping the same basic characters so you don’t get confused over who is who.  Each character has their own unique personality that is hard to forget throughout the novel and it’s interesting how they all tie together.  The author frequently uses detail so it is not too difficult to picture the scene or person in your mind when you are reading.  Even with murder as the main subject of the book, Christie adds in a good amount of humour to mix in with the drama.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth reading. Highly recommended
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i could not put it back :) really good story :)
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so interesting that it literally kept me at the edge of my seat! In the middle, it got kind of slow but then picked right back up with the discovery of Pamela Reeves! I couldn't put it down!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An old friend, and thus enters the heroine of our story. Ms. Jane Marple. Of course she wraps up the mystery in no time!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a fun easy read. I thoroughly enjoyed it to the very end. I am "new" to reading Agatha Christie and her Miss Marple Series - Now I cannot get enough! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.