The Bodies in the Library
© 2019 Marty Wingate
Hayley has a secret: she doesn’t know a blessed thing about Agatha Christie’s fiction. Or Dorothy Sayer’s. Her literary expertise is all things Austen, but thanks to a friend on the board, she’s just landed a cozy position as curator at a private home turned library, the First Edition Society. She’s filled with ideas for how to help the Society fulfill its founder’s dream, to share the glories of Golden Age Mystery literature with the public, but first there’s a slight…problem. The dead guy, that is. A member of an Agatha Christie fanfiction club is dead, lying in repose in the library, and with her job on the line, Hayley turns to reading Agatha Christie to inspire her in her quest to find out whodunit and save the library .
So…that’s a fun premise, especially if you like Agatha Christie novels. The title of this is an obvious play at Christie’s own The Body in the Library, and there are other references to Christie novels throughout. Ordinarily this isn’t the sort of thing would appeal to me, aside from the books-about-books idea (always fun!), but it’s been making the rounds at Book Bunch*, and I thought it would be fun to try. Ultimately that’s where The Bodies in the Library‘s virtue lies, fun; it’s an entertaining book, but not one I ever took too seriously. Everything was a little too convenient for me – -the ease with which cops gave up information to Hayley so she could solve the mystery, the fact that everyone seems to know each other, the speech the villain gives at the end to revel in how they’d done it – -but those may be part of the ‘cozy mystery’ subgenre itself, I’m not sure. I was especially underwhelmed by the murder itself and its motivations. The premise goes a long way, though, as it did with Camino Island — another mystery filled to the brim with chat about authors and boosk.
*A group of people at my local library who meet on a weekly basis to talk about the books we’ve read in the last week, over hot tea and baked goods. My contribution? Science and rasberry-drizzled lemon squares.