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Agatha Christie Wiki

The Body in the Library is the first episode of the first series of Agatha Christie's Marple. It was broadcast on 12 December 2004. The script was written by Kevin Elyot, and the episode was directed by Andy Wilson. It is the second adaptation of the novel by Agatha Christie of the same name for television.


A young woman's corpse is dumped in the library of Gossington Hall, home of Jane Marple's friend Dolly Bantry and her husband Arthur. Pompous Chief Constable Melchett suspects a connection with Basil Blake, an arty young man who lives locally but Blake is dismissive when Melchett visits him. Then Superintendent Harper rings from the coastal town of Danemouth. Ruby Keane, a young girl employed as a dancer at the Majestic Hotel there, has gone missing, and her cousin Josie Turner identifies the corpse as Ruby's. Ruby is in favour with millionaire Conway Jefferson, whose own son and daughter were killed in a wartime air raid, and he wants to adopt her. His son-in-law Mark Gaskell, and daughter-in-law Adelaide react variously to the news. Miss Marple is convinced that the solution to Ruby's murder may be found at the hotel and she and Dolly book into a suite to investigate. There is no shortage of suspects, not only family members but the handsome Raymond Starr, another of the hotel's dance professionals, and George Bartlett, the last person to see Ruby before her disappearance.

Comparison with the original story

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

  • There is a scene at the beginning showing the members of the Jefferson family at a birthday party for Frank Jefferson. This was during the later years of World War Two. Jefferson makes a speech, saying that the war would be ending soon and then Frank could return to his wife and home. The house is struck by a V2 rocket attack and many members of the family are killed and Conway Jefferson becomes wheelchair bound. In the original novel, the family members had died in an air crash.
  • Inspector Slack and Sir Henry Clithering, who played large roles in the original story, are not featured here. Colonel Melchett takes a larger personal role in the investigations, which in fact leads Superintendent Harper to speculate if Melchett was doing this because Colonel Bantry was his friend.
  • The identity of one of the killers is changed. Josie Turner is not secretly married to Mark Gaskell. Instead, she has a lesbian affair with Adelaide Jefferson. As such, Miss Marple's denouement does not depend on her research at Somerset House. Instead, here, she simply commented that she believed the killings had to have a feminine touch.


Tropes and Themes

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

  • A murderous couple.
  • Disguising a corpse.
  • Disguising the time of death.
  • A murder in a Hotel.

Filming Locations

  • Dorney Court, Buckinghamshire - Gossington Hall
  • Grand Hotel, Eastbourne - Majestic Hotel, Danemouth
  • Shrubs Wood, Chalfont St. Giles - Basil Blake's house

Research notes

  • Pamela Reeves went to watch the film "A Place in the Sun".[1] This was a 1951 film starring Montgomery Clift, which is appropriate to the setting of the show. In questioning Florence Small, Miss Marple remarks about Clift's portrayal of the lead character and also says the content likely not so appropriate for someone of Florence's age. This suggests that she might have seen it herself.


Promotional Videos

See Also