BOOK: The Body In The Library
AUTHOR: Agatha Christie
FIRST PUBLISHED: 1942
PUBLISHER: Dodd, Mead and Company
BOOK MARATHON: BOOK 4; THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY
Mrs Bantry is woken up by Mary, her house-help one morning. Mary rushes to the room to inform her that the body of a dead girl had been lying in the library. For a moment there, Mrs. Bantry is not sure whether she has been dreaming, or it was true that Mary had walked to the room. Mrs. Bantry wakes her husband colonel Bantry to tell him of what Mary had said. The husband is still half asleep and so he does not quite get what Mrs. Bantry had said. He thinks his wife must have imagined things. Colonel Bantry later awakes to go see for himself. A call is placed for police constable Palk who proceeds to dial his superior’s number. Mrs. Bantry calls her friend Miss Marple and asks her to come over to her house to see the murder. Miss Marple is an old woman who lives at the village. She is known for acting as a detective. Mrs. Bantry takes Miss Marple to the hall to see the murdered girl. She is a young blonde girl. As they converse, Miss Marple suggests that Basil Blake, a young man who lived nearby could have been connected to the murder. Basil works for the film industry and is known for loving parties, and hosting girls in his cottage on Lansham Road. At first the dead girl is suspected to be Basil’s girlfriend Dinah Lee who is also a blonde. When colonel Melchett pays Basil a visit for questioning, his girlfriend Dinah shows up and so it’s known that Basil’s girlfriend could not be the dead girl.
As the investigations went on, Colonel Melchett received a call at the station. A girl had gone missing from a hotel in Danemouth. The girl was an eighteen year old professional dancer, five feet four inches tall, platinum-blonde and had blue eyes, the caller went on describing her. Josie Turner, a relative of the dead girl, identifies the body as that of Ruby Keene. She informs Miss Marple and the chief constable that Conway Jefferson had talked to the cops about the disappearance of Ruby. Colonel Melchett asks Josie who was the last man to be seen dancing with Ruby and Josie responds it was Bartlett. Melchett inquires whether they were on friendly terms and Josie replies that they weren’t. He goes on and asks whether she has heard of Gossington Hall or a MR. Basil Blake. She responds that she has heard of the latter. Melchett then asked Josie Turner to accompany him to Gossington hall. When they reached Gossington Hall, Mrs. Bantry led Josie to where the dead girl had been found. Miss Marple’s ‘detective instincts’ don’t seem to trust Josie.
It was Conway Jefferson, a rich old man who had called at the station. Conway’s wife, son and daughter had died in a plane crash and his legs were amputated. Through an interview, Superintendent Harper and colonel Melchett later learn that Conway had planned on adopting Ruby and settle £50,000 on her when she came of age. He had planned on leaving all his wealth for her and disinheriting Mark and Adelaide.Mark (Conway’s son in law) and Adelaide (daughter in law) were not happy about it. Adelaide and mark never liked Ruby, they felt he was only after Conway Jefferson’s money.
Miss Marple finds out that Josie had been married to Mark. They had decided to kill Ruby and frame Basil after they knew of her relationship with Conway. Josie was Ruby’s killer. The book covers the themes of murder, infatuation, and money as it starts with the blonde’s murder. It is a sort of detective novel as we are taken through the whole process of investigating the murder.