Miss Marple fans can rejoice. The Body in the Library is a book where she is idolized by three big policemen – a prior head of Scotland Yard, a Superintendent and the Chief Constable. The village of St. Mary Mead is in a furor when a young girl’s body is found in the library of its top citizen.
Arthur and Dolly Bantry have appeared in other Miss Marple books. So have some of the characters in St. Mary Mead. The Bantrys wake up one morning with the shocking news that a dead body lies in their library. Miss Marple is summoned without preamble by Mrs. Bantry and the police also get there. The investigation leads to a nearby seaside town where the young girl was a substitute dancer. Who killed Ruby Keene and why?
Like any Agatha Christie story, there is a large cast of characters. The important one is Conway Jefferson, an invalid rich man who is staying at the Majestic Hotel with his family. He was quite taken with the young girl. Mark Gaskell is the shady son in law and Adelaide the obedient daughter in law. There is a child in the picture who has been raised as a grandson. Raymond Starr is the flamboyant tennis pro and Josie is the dance hostess. Josie is the one who got Ruby hired at the hotel and is sad at her demise.
To make things worse, another body of a young girl is found close by, burnt to a cinder. She turns out to be an even younger teenager who went missing. Miss Marple wants to follow the money trail. She has a very good idea of who the culprit is but is not saying anything yet.
As the police ask questions, it appears that Jefferson was about to adopt Ruby and settle a sum of fifty thousand pounds on her. Almost everyone else seems to have known her as a gold digger. Miss Marple is quick to find several parallels between Jefferson-Ruby and other folks in her village.
The Body in the Library has a slightly refreshing point of view. That is because no one thinks of Miss Marple as senile. Almost everyone is eager to know what she thinks and solicits her services. At some times, it feels as if they expect something fantastic from her. But Miss Marple does not disappoint.
A must read for Miss Marple fans!