Saturday, 3 September 2016

Lazy Sunday: The Body in the Library


Following on from a few weeks ago, this Sunday's murder mystery is another favourite of mine and another create of Agatha Christie's, Jane Marple.

Unlike Poirot's stories, which are set during 30s, Miss Marple's are set during the 50's. This opens up to post war stories, more glamorous costumes and even more charming country villages and seaside resorts. Marple is known as the ‘nosey old biddy’ to anyone who doesn’t really know her and her talents as an amateur sleuth. There is probably room for a prequel series of the young Miss Marple but there has never been one in development. Although there was talk of a film being made with Jennifer Garner of all people who, would make Christie turn in her grave. Luckily, as there has been no word of this hideous film again, its dead in the water.

The Body in the Library from the ITV series was the first episode, the Marple series, featuring Geraldine McEwan as the first Marple. The episode actually changes quite a few things from the original book, including the time the story is set, the identity of one of the killers and adding a slight twist, which when you think about it, isn’t so surprising anymore but was for the period. I actually think it works better this way.

Unlike other Poirot, Miss Marple is modest and doesn’t feel the need to gather suspects together to present her findings. Sometimes it works out that way but sometimes she simply informs the police and the detective she had been ‘assisting’. Marple’s skills come from experience and that age-old gift of being able to read people and sometimes, like Poirot, understand and sympathise with them, whether they are the murderer or a victim.

The Body in the Library starts with a body being found in the library of Gossington Hall, the home of Marple’s close friend Dolly Bantry and her husband Arthur. The body is soon identified as Ruby Keene, a dancer at the Majestic Hotel in nearby Danemouth. But no sooner as her cousin identifies the girl, it turns out she was actually reported missing by a guest at the hotel, Conway Jefferson, an old friend of the Bantrys. So Marple and Dolly decide to take an impromptu trip to the seaside to investigate further.

One of the better Marple stories, even if it was altered from the original. It was actually quite relaxing to watch on a rainy afternoon with a coffee and raspberries. Miss Marple has a clear and clever way of conducting her investigations and does so with an impish manner than only she could get away with.  Re-watching this episode has made we want to revisit more tales of Marple, watch this space.

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