The idea of a dead body in the library was a typical of a detective story in the early twentieth century and Ms Christie presents it here as a “Variation on a well-known theme”.
In the most conservative library of Colonel Bantry, a dead body of a young girl is found and to cook-up the mystery she has created a family of an old, crippled man, a tennis player, a young girl guide, a dance hostess, a film man etc. And to solve this, we have our dear Miss Jane Marple. The book was first published in 1942 and has been twice adapted since for Television series.
The story opens as the servants find the dead body of a strangled blonde girl in the library one early morning and the police investigation starts. The first suspect is a man named Basil Blake who is associated with films and is seen with a blonde girl similar to the girl found dead in the library, but his companion is alive. The body is identified as that of a Ruby Keene, by her cousin Jossie who is a dance hostess at the Majestic Hotel, Danemouth. Along with the police, we learn that Ruby had come to act as a dance hostess for a short period in lieu of Jossie who couldn’t dance due to a broken ankle. We meet Mr Jefferson, an old cripple who had lost his wife, son and daughter in an accident and whose family now consists of his daughter-in-law Adelaide and son-in-law Mark Gaskell.
Though Adelaide and Mark respected and took care of Mr Jefferson, they were now ready to move on with their life and Mr Jefferson, feeling a little neglected, had taken a liking to Ruby. Ruby took full advantage of the situation and Mr. Jefferson had decided to adopt her and settle a sum of 50,000 pounds on her. This meant that his son-in-law and daughter-in-law will lose significant amount of money and hence, had a motive to kill Ruby.
To add to the mystery, another dead body is found burnt in a car and is identified as that of a girl guide called Pamela. Were the two murders connected? What actually had happened? Finally, Miss Marple comes up with the solution and along with the police she lays the trap to capture the real murderer. A typical, gripping, Agatha Christie thriller…Enjoy Reading…