The Body In The Library: a Miss Marple mystery by Agatha Christie
It is quite a surprise to Colonel and Mrs. Bantry when, as they prepare to start another day at their country house in the village of St. Mary’s Meade, the corpse of a murdered young woman is found in their library. It certainly isn’t anyone they know, (in fact, the body is quickly identified as a dancer at one of the nearby hotels (that is, she dances with the customers, not for the customers–well, she doesn’t dance with anyone anymore, I guess)) but if the case isn’t solved quickly it will reflect badly on the Colonel, not to mention anyone else caught up in the affair. Fortunately, Mrs. Bantry is a good friend of Jane Marple, who is both smart enough and wise enough to see the truth, eventually.
So far, I’ve been pleased with the Marple mysteries, and this one continues the trend. The crime is deeper and darker than it at first seems, the characters are well-written and worth spending time with, and the revelation doesn’t involve any cheating on Christie’s part. And of course for all that it’s part of a series, you don’t have to have read any other Marple stories — or, indeed, any other Christie at all — to understand and enjoy this one. Recommended.
Due Or Die: a library lover’s mystery by Jenn McKinlay
I’m gonna be honest with you: I have a thing about mysteries featuring librarians. You might have noticed that. This one’s hero is one Lindsey Norris, Library Director for the Briar Creek, Connecticut, USA, public library. Lindsey’s relatively new to Briar Creek, but she’s made some good friends, including some of her co-workers and her landlady. She’s also dealing with the issue of her attraction to tour-boat captain Mike “Sully” Sullivan, though both of them are taking it slowly, Lindsey being recently divorced and Sully presumably having reasons of his own.
Lindsey attends the latest meeting of the Friends of the Library as they hold a presidential election, and the result is a surprise upset, with former president Bill Sint being unanimously voted out in favour of Lindsey’s friend Carrie. Bill takes it badly, blaming Lindsey for his loss. which triggers a mentally unstable woman who has a crush on him to go after Lindsey. Lindsey is scared but not hurt, which is more than can be said for Carrie’s husband, who is shot through a window one night while Carrie is at a FOL meeting.
Or was she? As the spouse, Carrie is the first suspect for the police. There’s no shortage of other suspects, Carrie’s husband having been an unlikeable SOB, but they all have unbreakable aliases, and Carrie doesn’t so much. It’s down to Lindsey and her friends to find out the truth.
Tension is added when a nor’easter buries the town under a ton of snow. A dog is dumped into the Library’s bookdrop, and Lindsey has to find a new home for him. Bill Sint’s charming nephew keeps asking Lindsey out to lunch and since Sully isn’t making his move she isn’t sure if she should go for it. And a variety of weird accidents keep happening around and to Lindsey and Carrie. Carrie’s husband might not be the last victim, if Lindsey doesn’t solve the case quickly.
This is the second “library lover’s mystery”, but as I don’t seem to have read the first one I can truly say that you don’t have to read them in order. Lindsey’s a likable young woman and the rest of her friends all have their charm. The villain, when revealed, is both surprising and logical (in retrospect). All things considered, this will never be one of the great mystery novels, but it’s a decent enough read. Mildly recommended.