February 4th was National Libraries Day, one of their celebratory events was a mass tweet of Agatha Christie's classic The body in the library. I missed out on the tweetathon, but it seemed a good reason to me to re-read it. First published in 1942, it is truly classic Christie, with all the elements that made her most popular. A mysterious glamorous blonde is found dead in a country house library, she appears to have no link to the owners of the house (Miss Marple's friends Colonel and Dolly Bantry) and the local police are baffled. It's going to take all of Miss Marple's skill to solve the murder and to prevent an innocent man from being hanged for the crime.
It's a decent enough read - not one of Christie's very best, but it's a clever, if perhaps overly complicated crime, with some wonderful dashes of dark Christie humour. The grisly village gossips are a delight, as is the gruesome schoolboy with a taste for death. It's also one of Christie's most human tales. The crime is extraordinary (as Miss Marple herself points out - it's like something out of a book!), but the malicious gossip and its effect on innocent people is very believable, and sometimes quite moving. I really felt for the Bantrys. It's an enjoyable light read, and a great introduction to Christie.