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The Body in the Library is the first episode of the TV film series Miss Marple starring Joan Hickson. It was broadcast in three parts by the BBC from 26-28 December 1984. The screenplay was written by T.R. Bowen, and the episode was directed by Silvio Narizzano. It is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name.


Amateur detective Miss Jane Marple investigates the murder of a young woman whose body is found in the library at Gossington Hall, home of Colonel and Mrs. Arthur Bantry.

Comparison with original novel[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

  • The character of Superintendent Harper was omitted.
  • Bartlett's car was changed from a Minoan 14 to a Vauxhall Coaster. This was found in a quarry like in the original novel. There was no mention of the person who found it. Here, there is a non-canonical character, Malcolm, who finds it.
  • The amount of money left to Ruby was changed from £50,000 to £100,000.
  • The clue of the hearthrug is also repeated. In the original, Blake had to get rid of it because spangles from the dead girl's dress got on to it but the police recovered it and linked it to Blake. In the adaptation, there were white hairs on the dress which the police then matched with hairs on the upholstery in Blake's car (he had burnt the rug).
  • The clue of the wrong dress: just as in the original, Miss Marple felt that the dead girl (who at that time was thought to be Ruby Keene) was wearing the wrong dress. It was too shabby and worn to be used for the supposed purpose of meeting a boyfriend. In this adaptation there is an additional clue when Miss Marple hears Mozart's Susanna's Aria from the Marriage of Figaro. Susanna was dressed as the countess (i.e. the wrong dress).



  • Fletcher (mentioned by Inspector Slack)
  • Pringle (mentioned by Inspector Slack)
  • Nichols (mentioned by Inspector Slack)
  • Tommy Bond (mentioned by Miss Marple)
  • The Naylors (mentioned by Arthur Bantry)
  • Mrs Duffy (mentioned by Arthur Bantry)
  • Mr Harbottle (mentioned by Miss Marple)
  • Mr Badger (mentioned by Miss Marple)
  • Griselda Clement (mentioned by Dolly Bantry)

Tropes and Themes[]

Filming Locations[]

  • Nether Wallop - St Mary Mead scenes
    • Pear Tree Cottage, High Street SO20 8EZ - Basil Blake's house
    • Entrance to Winton House on Five Bells Lane (a care home at 51.1282371, -1.5760596) - entrance to Gossington Hall
  • Wherwell Priory, Hampshire - Gossington Hall
  • Bournemouth - Danemouth scenes
  • Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel, Bournemouth - Majestic Hotel exteriors
  • Carlton Hotel, Bournemouth - some Majestic Hotel exteriors
  • Royal Bath Hotel, Bournemouth - Majestic Hotel interiors, for example the dance hall
  • West Cliff Lift, Bournemouth - Miss Marple goes up a cliff in a lift
  • Bob Hann House (former Council Buildings) Shillito Road, Poole - police station

Research notes[]


Promotional Videos[]

See Also[]