Time for our third book for the month, a quick reminder…..
The awesome Jay Cudney is hosting an Agatha Christie Readathon! The plan is simple. We have a week to read one of Christie’s fabulous novels and we post a review at the end of the week.
My approach to this Readathon
I am new to Agatha Christie, and I am also embarrassed to admit that! She is such a well known author, yet I have waited 5 decades to read her classic mysteries. What make this admission even worse for me, is that this is my favorite literary genre! When Jay launched this readathon, I saw it as an opportunity to right a horrible wrong in my life (too bad Jay can’t fix all of those!😢 )
These stories have been discussed, reviewed, studied and examined by minds far greater than mine. You can find many a brilliant, detailed and thorough review in numerous places. So, rather than focus on the storyline, I would like to take some time to discuss my thoughts on each of the novels. I suppose this is my chance to have a book club discussion without the actual book club meeting. Dang, I will miss the wine and cookies 🍷 🍪 !
Now, onto the review!
The Body in the Library
A Miss Marple Mystery
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
The Bantrys are a wealthy, upper class couple enjoying their social status, when they get the shock of their lives. The dead body of a young, blond woman is found on the hearthrug in their library. Who is she? Why is she in the Bantry’s library and who killed her? People begin to talk, naturally they believe Colonel Bantry must be involved, why else would a young woman be in his home?
The gossip mill is out of control and Mrs. Bantry looks to do some serious damage control. She calls for her friend and village busy body, Miss Marple. Jane Marple, the village spinster, is dialed into everyone’s business, and is a human lie detector. Her many years of observing her neighbors’ behavior has left her with the uncanny knack of seeing connections that others miss. She delves into the lives of local dancers, film makers and bridge players in order to find the truth, to identify the girl, and learn the truth of her death. Of course the police have it all wrong and Miss Marple sets it right!
This was a tough one for me. I have no trouble believing that the elder woman is clever, astute and observant. Jane Marple could easily be a brilliant detective. And, I appreciate that Ms. Christie created such a literary character during an age when an older woman would never be cast in that light. However, I struggled with this novel. I was immediately turned off by the gossipy nature of the story. Probably because it mirrors real life, even present tense, too closely. The majority of Miss Marple’s intel was pure hearsay, and she seemed to pick and choose at random, which “facts” were to be believed and which were summarily discarded. She really had a small role in the story, as the police and inspectors were the ones conducting the actual investigation. Miss Marple would just pop in every so often to make a comparison to someone she used to know in the village. From that one example of human behavior, she would negate all the facts. To draw such powerful and apparently, always correct inferences was a bit of a stretch for me. These inconsistencies made the ending difficult for me, as I felt it was borne from a fragmented line of reasoning.
I found it entertaining, and I do love reading the language of the time. I have already read a third of the next novel “The Murder at the Vicarage” and am hopeful that I might find it a more believable story. It may just be that this series is too much of a suspension of belief for me. 😊💕