the body in the library

Vintage Mystery Challenge 2012 – Completion

I participated on the Vintage Mystery Challenge 2012 hosted by the wonderful Bev Hankins of My Readers Block.

I had chosen to read from two Vintage Themes (16 books). The themes were,

Deadly Decades: 8 books, one from each time period plus one of your choice (Pre-1900s; 1900-09; 1910-19; 1920-1929; 1930-1939; 1940-1949; 1950-59).

Golden Age Girls: 8 books by female authors OR 8 books with female detectives.

And drumroll, please! I completed the challenge last month! It took me on an average two books per month. I could have done it faster but I didn’t want to. I wanted to savour it as much as possible. But here we are at the end of the road.

Once again, I’d like to thank Bev for hosting this challenge! 🙂

Completed Books:

Deadly Decades: 

Pre-1900s: The Big Bow Mystery. Israel Zangwill. (1892)

1900-09: The Hound of the Baskervilles. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (1902)

1910-19: At the Villa Rose. A.E.W. Mason. (1910)

1920-1929: Behind That Curtain. Earl Derr Biggers. (1928)

1930-1939: The Thirteen Problems. Agatha Christie. (1932)

1940-1949: The Body in the Library. Agatha Christie. (1942)

1950-59: 4.50 from Paddington. Agatha Christie. (1957)

Decade of my own choice: 1900-09: In the Fog. Richard Harding Davis. (1901)

Golden Age Girls: 8 books by female authors.

1. The After House. Mary Roberts Rinehart.

2. The Lodger. Marie Adelaide Belloc.

3. A Pocket Full of Rye. Agatha Christie.

4.  The Old Man in the Corner. Baroness Orczy.

5. The Moving Finger. Agatha Christie.

6. Evil Under the Sun. Agatha Christie.

7. Death And The Dancing Footman. Ngaio Marsh.

8. The Beckoning Lady. Margery Allingham.

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Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2012 – Completion

I participated in the Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2012 hosted at the Book Chick City. My participation level was TWELVE (12) mystery & suspense novels.

And I have completed my first challenge of 2012! I thought it would take me at least six months to finish 12 mystery & suspense books but I did it in five. So yay me! 🙂

So glad to have participated in the Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2012! Thanks to everyone in Book Chick City for hosting this fabulous challenge!

Completed Books:

1. The Big Bow Mystery. Israel Zangwill.

2. The Hound of the Baskervilles. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

3. At the Villa Rose. A.E.W. Mason.

4. Behind That Curtain. Earl Derr Biggers.

5. The Thirteen Problems. Agatha Christie.

6. The Body in the Library. Agatha Christie.

7. 4.50 from Paddington. Agatha Christie.

8.  In the Fog. Richard Harding Davis.

9. The After House. Mary Roberts Rinehart.

10. The Lodger. Marie Adelaide Belloc.

11. A Pocket Full of Rye. Agatha Christie.

12. The Old Man in the Corner. Baroness Orczy.

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie was first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company and in the UK by Collins Crime Club in 1942.

Agatha Christie, in the foreword of the present book, explained how she always wanted to write a detective novel featuring the cliché of the body in the library, making the library a highly conventional one and the body a highly implausible one. She did just that and wove an engaging mystery with the unparalleled Miss Marple around the classic theme of an exotic blond woman, dead in a drab and highly respectable library in The Body in the Library.

The book features the recurring characters of Colonel and Mrs. Bantry, the former head of the Scotland Yard Sir Henry Clithering, Colonel Melchett and Inspector Slack. The Bantrys and Sir Henry had previously been seen in the Miss Marple short story collection, The Thirteen Problems. Colonel Melchett and Inspector Slack appeared in The Murder at the Vicarage. The vicar and his wife from The Murder at the Vicarage make a cameo appearance.

The theme of class difference plays a prominent role in The Body in the Library. For example statements like,

“…-well, to put it bluntly-… wasn’t  a lady. She belonged to the class that wear their best cloths however unsuitable to the occasion…”

(to be fair the character does admit to not wanting to sound snobbish but says that it couldn’t be avoided) are made frequently in the book.

Miss Marple’s experiences with young girls comes in very handy during the course of the investigation. Also her being a woman gives her an advantage over the male detectives as they know nothing about dresses, make up and fashion- all of which play a crucial role in solving the mystery. The police represented by Colonel Melchett, Inspector Slack, Superintendent Harper and also Sir Henry Clithering do provide a lot of information but the solution ultimately hinges on Miss Marple, who presents the link that unravels the whole mystery.

None of the characters really stand out. Everyone seemed uniformly bland to me.

Among all the recurring characters Mrs. Bantry is as usual delightful. The teasing way Sir Henry interacts with Miss Marple is funny.

The identity of the criminal is not really that surprising but the twists that take the story there are surprising. The confusing, twisted clues does leave one’s head reeling a bit. I must confess that although I wasn’t surprised by the identity of the criminal I never saw the fundamental, big point of the mystery till Miss Marple explains it at the very end.

In the end, Christie did manage to put a very interesting spin on the cliché of the body in the library. The plot is very clever and Miss Marple is as good as ever. Very much recommended.

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a bookish meme hosted by Freda’s Voice.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link up at Freda’s site

Today’s sentence comes from The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie.

“It’s upset him. All these policemen looking about. He’s gone down to the farm. Looking at pigs and things always sooths him if he’s upset…

Teaser Tuesdays (April 3)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 My Teaser:

“Mrs Bantry reflected a minute and then applied an urgent conjugal elbow to her sleeping spouse.

‘Arthur, Arthur, wake up.’ 

Colonel Bantry grunted, muttered and rolled over on his side.

‘Wake up, Arthur. Did you hear what she said?’ 

‘Very likely,’  said Colonel Bantry indistinctly. ‘I quite agree with you, Dolly,’  and promptly went to sleep again.”

The Body in the Library”  by Agatha Christie.