RogerBW's Blog

The Body in the Library 28 September 2021

1999 audio adaptation of Christie's 1942 mystery, in one 90-minute episode. The blonde dressed for a party turns up, stone dead, on the floor of the library at Gossington Hall…

Everyone suspects the terribly fast young man who has Girls down for the weekend, but of course it's not that simple. This is a fairly decent mystery, the second full-length Miss Marple story, and she's well-served here by June Whitfield, carefully blending nice old lady and cunning student of human nature: it's a hard mixture to get right, and she does.

"Her hair was… unnaturally fair."

The younger female voices in particular tend to blend into each other, which matters on a few occasions, but otherwise this is a decent production that doesn't try to add much if anything to the basic story. Perhaps it should; there's a strong strain of "the conventional approach to life is Right and lower-class people should Know Their Place" which gets quite tedious at times. The story tries to modify what was already a detective-story cliché, by having an unusual body in an entirely normal library; but at this remove, of course, it has itself become the cliché.

It has a few good moments but it's probably not worth going to any trouble to track down.

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