Reading the Detectives discussion

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Group Challenges > The Body in the Library - SPOILER Thread

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
This is our main February read for the Miss Marple Challenge.

The Body in the Library was published in 1942. Please feel free to post spoilers in this thread, but not in the general discussion thread for the book. Thank you.


message 2: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 104 comments Since I read had read this a few years ago, I remembered the moving of the body from one house to another. Luckily I didn't remember who was guilty.


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
It does spoil it if you remember the end, doesn't it?!


message 4: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 104 comments Susan wrote: "It does spoil it if you remember the end, doesn't it?!"

For me, it does spoil it. I grabbed it in 2015 and sat in a pontoon boat moared at the dock, and read. Then ran up to the house, grabbed a glass of wine, returned to boat to continue reading. Such a lovely day,

If I can figure out the ending in any mystery, I'm disappointed. I may read one more by that author. If I continue to figure it out, I'm done.


LovesMysteries  | 234 comments Deborah wrote: "If I can figure out the ending in any mystery, I'm disappointed. I may read one more by that author. If I continue to figure it out, I'm done. "

You figured out who did it in The Body In The Library, how it was done, and the motive? You figured out everything? Which mysteries by Christie did you guess whodunit?


message 6: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 104 comments LovesMysteries wrote: "Deborah wrote: "If I can figure out the ending in any mystery, I'm disappointed. I may read one more by that author. If I continue to figure it out, I'm done. "

You figured out who did it in The B..."



No I didn't figure it out the first time I read it. I only remembered a few things on the second reading. I was talking about being disappointed in mysteries, in general, when I can figure it out in response to post no. 3


LovesMysteries  | 234 comments Deborah wrote: "No I didn't figure it out the first time I read it. I only remembered a few things on the second reading. I was talking about being disappointed in mysteries, in general, when I can figure it out in response to post no. 3 ."

Ok, gotcha :)


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
As with so many of these Golden Age mysteries, one of the joys for me is the portrait of a long gone era. I really enjoyed the section in the Majestic Hotel at Danemouth. I was also interested when the butler/valet is interviewed, who works for Conway Jefferson and he mentions that he didn't leave the room much and venture downstairs. So, if you were a servant and went away, you were still very much working and not really given any extra time off to explore yourself. It made me think that even if you worked for someone very wealthy, who went off to the Riviera, say, you didn't really see anything yourself...


message 9: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 362 comments I have read all of the Christies multiple times, but still enjoy them greatly.

As far as this one goes, you will not that Miss M uses a trick to catch the guilty, much as she did in Vicarage. In fact, there was a good bit of similarity between the two, if you think about the solution. Since they were written so many years apart, perhaps she thought no one would notice.


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
Yes, that is a good point, Pghfan. Of course, there were 12 years between books and I suspect that Agatha Christie did not imagine that people would be reading and discussing her work so many years after it was written!


message 11: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 104 comments Pghfan wrote: "I have read all of the Christies multiple times, but still enjoy them greatly.

As far as this one goes, you will not that Miss M uses a trick to catch the guilty, much as she did in Vicarage. In f..."


I agree there's similarities. Miss Marple seems more developed to me in this book.


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
I would agree, Deborah. She seems a really complete character by this novel, doesn't she? There are a number of short stories, and one novel, before this and you get the feeling her character is complete in Christie's mind.


message 13: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 362 comments I noticed that in Vicarage, Griselda was about to give birth. In this book, twelve years later, he is still a small boy, unable to crawl properly. Christie was never one for accuracy in such things, though.


Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review) (knyttwytch) Pghfan wrote: "I noticed that in Vicarage, Griselda was about to give birth. In this book, twelve years later, he is still a small boy, unable to crawl properly. Christie was never one for accuracy in such things..."

The book was written twelve years later but the characters themselves are only a few months or so further on - otherwise by the end of the series I dread to think how old Miss Marple would be!


message 15: by LovesMysteries (last edited Feb 02, 2017 10:54AM) (new)

LovesMysteries  | 234 comments Pghfan wrote: "I noticed that in Vicarage, Griselda was about to give birth. In this book, twelve years later, he is still a small boy, unable to crawl properly. Christie was never one for accuracy in such things..."

The Body In The Library was published 12 years after Murder At the Vicarage in the real world but maybe after Murder At the Vicarage in "book years" not that much time has passed so that could account for Griselda's child still being small. In 1957 when 4:50 From Paddington is published, Griselda's son is a young teenager. Let's say that by the time of The Body In The Library Griselda's son is 1 years old. Well by 1957 (if Christie counted the years between 1942-1957 and decided to be consistent and accurate, instead of going by merely "book years" as I referred to earlier) Leonard would be 15 years old, the right years considered a teenager. We can safely assume that by the progression of the books and towards the end of the series Leonard would have been a grown man. But unfortunately neither Griselda and Leonard are never mentioned again.


message 16: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) | 112 comments I just watched the Mystery version of this, having read it last year. Like so many of the TV adaptations, it is like the book but not like the book, if you know what I mean. One of the problems I had with the book was the believability of a girl scout being taken for an adult, but the movie did it in such a way as to make it easy to see. I don't see how Dame Agatha could write her character novels with such huge gaps in between and maintain continuity. Did she re-read?


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
Possibly the short stories, written over time, helped keep the character fresh in her mind? I am sure she kept notes - or perhaps she didn't! I really need to read a proper biography about her, as I have read some of her memoirs, but she didn't really discuss her writing much in the book that I read. It was more about her life with her second husband and that focused on his work, rather than hers.


message 18: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 362 comments There are a couple of biographies of her, some apparently sanctioned by the family, though they also seem to discuss little of her writing, but more of her life activities. There is a recent book with a title something like "Agatha Christie's Notebooks" where her volumes of book notes and ideas are discussed. I have it be haven't read it yet. That might be of some help with this.


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
Yes, I would like to read "Notebooks..." and also a book about her disappearance, which is so intriguing.


message 20: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1808 comments Just finished this book and I am so glad I read the short stories or I would have thought Miss Marples had, had a personality transplant between this book and Murder at the Vicarage. Although she keeps quite a low profile in this one, she does come into her own, taking some physical activity in this.


message 21: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
I suppose if Christie were going to make Miss Marple a central character in a series, she had to make her a little more active.

I also liked the way that Mrs Bantry was so concerned about her husband and indignant that he would be blamed.


message 22: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8313 comments Mod
Yes - I also like the way Mrs Bantry starts out by thinking it might be "fun", like a murder mystery in a novel, but then gradually realises how awful the reality really is. Interesting how often GA murder mysteries include comments about murder mysteries - like "if this was in a book", etc.


message 23: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
Yes, as someone else has also mentioned, Christie even references herself in this novel...


message 24: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Susan wrote: "It does spoil it if you remember the end, doesn't it?!"

Not so much - I mean while it is better when one doesn't remember it because of the surprise element, I do still enjoy the whole denouement- especially in AC.


message 25: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments LovesMysteries wrote: "Deborah wrote: "If I can figure out the ending in any mystery, I'm disappointed. I may read one more by that author. If I continue to figure it out, I'm done. "

You figured out who did it in The B..."

Only in one (I've forgotten which by now), I had guessed part of the plot but not the who. But with Christie, one hardly ever manages to- she gets you thinking on a completely different track despite putting in clues that point you (or should point you) in the right direction.


message 26: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Deborah wrote: "Pghfan wrote: "I have read all of the Christies multiple times, but still enjoy them greatly.

As far as this one goes, you will not that Miss M uses a trick to catch the guilty, much as she did in..."


In this one, she's more the Miss Marple we 'know'- in the Vicarage, she did as everyone else pointed out feel like a different person.


message 27: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Did anyone suspect Col. Bantry?


message 28: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Susan wrote: "I suppose if Christie were going to make Miss Marple a central character in a series, she had to make her a little more active.

I also liked the way that Mrs Bantry was so concerned about her hus..."

Else she'd have ended up like Mycroft :)


message 29: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments I also liked the village atmosphere in this story- it doesn't come across as strongly as the Murder in the Vicarage (but that was of course set entirely in the village)-the flower show in Mrs Bantry dream, the gossips, the reactions to Basil Blake.


message 30: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Susan wrote: "Yes, I would like to read "Notebooks..." and also a book about her disappearance, which is so intriguing."
Dr Who had an interesting explanation for that :)


message 31: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
I never suspected Colonel Bantry - he just seemed too obvious. Although, he did have to change his tyre or something on the way back home, so his alibi was suspect.


message 32: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Susan wrote: "I never suspected Colonel Bantry - he just seemed too obvious. Although, he did have to change his tyre or something on the way back home, so his alibi was suspect."

I didn't either but was wondering after I finished the book whether this was because one 'knew' him from reading the Thirteen Problems..


message 33: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
That is true, Lady Clementina. He just did not seem the type - besides, why would you strangle a blonde and then just leave her on the rug? Wouldn't you try to hide the body?


message 34: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Susan wrote: "That is true, Lady Clementina. He just did not seem the type - besides, why would you strangle a blonde and then just leave her on the rug? Wouldn't you try to hide the body?"

True- he wouldn't have simply left her there unless he had some complicated plan in his mind to pin it on someone else.


message 35: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
Which is, in fact, what happened - just by somebody else and more a panicked response than a complicated plan...


message 36: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Susan wrote: "Which is, in fact, what happened - just by somebody else and more a panicked response than a complicated plan..."

One wonders what would have happened if Basil hadn't been quite so drunk


message 37: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 179 comments even though I remembered the ending from who knows how many readings, I still enjoyed this book. It still seems like the Son in Law wouldn't be guilty because of how boldly he talks about the murder.
I thought Jefferson killed her the first time I read the book: after being told he would be angry to learn Ruby wasn't "innocent" I thought he would find out she had a boyfriend.
after reading the threads, I plan to read 13 Problems next.


message 38: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
If Basil hadn't been quite so drunk, he may easily have found himself on trial for murder. Even though the body was not found in his house, he was the obvious suspect.


message 39: by Judy (last edited Feb 05, 2017 02:05PM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8313 comments Mod
I've just watched the ITV adaptation of this - I actually meant to watch the Joan Hickson version but couldn't find that one online, so downloaded the more recent version from Amazon.

I liked Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple, plus the star-studded cast in general, but the hotel seemed amazingly glamorous and expensive - gorgeous to look at, but not at all what I'd imagined from the book!

Also, I was a bit taken aback by the fact that the ending is changed - I know there was a warning about this during our discussion last month, but I'd forgotten about it! Apart from the changed ending, which I won't give away to avoid spoiling the show for anyone who watches it, I thought most of the episode was fairly true to the book and I did enjoy it.


message 40: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 540 comments Lady Clementina wrote: "Did anyone suspect Col. Bantry?"

I never did.


message 41: by Jill (new)

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1808 comments Everyman wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Did anyone suspect Col. Bantry?"

I never did."


Nor me.


message 42: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Susan wrote: "If Basil hadn't been quite so drunk, he may easily have found himself on trial for murder. Even though the body was not found in his house, he was the obvious suspect."

That of course- but I meant as to the body- how would he have chosen to dealt with it, gone to the police (which would have got him in trouble) or disposed of it some other way (which would also have the same effect)


message 43: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
Hmmm, now where else would he have left it? The vicarage again would have looked very suspicious on poor Leonard. I think that would have been my choice, had I been Basil.


message 44: by Mark Pghfan (new)

Mark Pghfan | 362 comments Ye gads! Another body in the Vicarage? That would be terrible!


message 45: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 383 comments Everyman wrote: "Lady Clementina wrote: "Did anyone suspect Col. Bantry?"

I never did."


Me neither!


message 46: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
Yes, another body in the Vicarage. Can two be a coincidence - I think not!


message 47: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Susan wrote: "Yes, another body in the Vicarage. Can two be a coincidence - I think not!"

Think of all the "fun" the old ladies would have had with that.


message 48: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9297 comments Mod
I love the way the network of news spreads around the village too - maids seem extremely important in helping the grapevine work.


message 49: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8313 comments Mod
Yes, the gossipy atmosphere is very well done - I'm just reading the next book, The Moving Finger, and it's also the case there, in a different village!


message 50: by Lady Clementina (new)

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore | 1104 comments Susan wrote: "I love the way the network of news spreads around the village too - maids seem extremely important in helping the grapevine work."

And though they did have phones, it happened even when there were none.


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