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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Body in the Library

"There are certain cliches belonging to certain kinds of fiction. The bold bad baronet for melodrama, the body in the library for the detective story. For several years I treasured up the possibility of a certain variation on a well know theme. I knew that the library had to be highly  orthodox and conventional. The body, on the other hand, must be widely improbable and highly sensational." Agatha Christie talking about, The Body in the Library.

The Body in the Library was first published in 1942 and was another case for the author's second most popular character, Miss Marple. When the book was published World War II was raging, and Christie, feeling that her readers needed some nostaligia to take their minds off the horrors in each days' newspaper, decided to bring back Miss Marple and set the story around the English seaside - the book was a celebration of the very essence of English life - "Everything we were then fighting to defend with a cryptic crime thrown in for good measure." Agatha Christie

Classic Marple
When the war broke out Christie and her second husband, Max moved from Devon and went back to London so Max could take up a position in the Home Guard. He initially served with the Home Guard before being drafted into the air force and stationed in the Middle East where his knowledge of Arabic would prove indispensable. Christie herself had trained as a dispenser for her war work during the first world war, and so she took up a position at a London University hospital. She missed her husband terribly and during this period threw herself into writing two novels - N or M? and The Body in the Library. The title for The Body in the Library had been with the author for some time and was first mentioned in the Poirot novel, Cards on the Table as one of the novels penned by the fictional writer, Ariadne Oliver, a particular favorite of Poirot.

The book was reviewed favorably with the Times rejoicing that Mrs Marple was back - "Professional detectives are no match for elderly spinsters and their old maid logic."

Miss Marple and her old maid knowledge was just what readers wanted and Agatha Christie had another iconic crime novel on her hands.


Oscar said...

I enjoyed reading The Body in the Library and others by A. Christie in the late 40's and 50's, although I don't remember much about 'em.

Joanne Walpole said...

I love Agatha Christie books. I've been eating my way through Poirot this year and am looking forward to devouring more of her stories over time.