Just one Agatha Christie book was it took to make me a fan and now I’m anxious to read as many of them as I can. So when I saw the ITV series from 2004 was available to view on Sky, I decided to treat myself to an hour and a half on the couch with The Body in the Library just to see how the TV series compares to the book experience.
And I have to admit I loved it. It was quirky and fun. Ok maybe the acting was a bit ott and even camp at times but it was still great fun. I loved the vintage feel with the costumes and settings and it was full of old-fashioned British charm.
It all kicks off with a maid finding the body of platinum blond girl in the library of a manor house. The body in the library just screams detective book cliché but I feel Agatha Christie has added a unique spin to it. There is the puzzle of who the girl is, how did she end up in the library in this particular house and how the heck does all this fit together. Lucky Miss Marple is on hand with her excellent detective skills to give a hand to the bumbling police team.
I loved Miss Marple; it is refreshing to have the heroine be an older lady. Her mind is razor sharp and you can all but see the wheels turning over in her brain as she interprets what we fail to see. And I love that she is partial to a shot of scotch or gin as well. She looks like a feeble old dear and proves over and over that she is anything but.
I also loved the police superintendent who is played by Jack Davenport. He adds a snarky humour that I really enjoyed. Another highlight was the setting; from the sleepy village to the grand, old hotel at the sea-side; it is quintessentially British. It makes me want to make tea and eat scones while watching it and I don’t even like tea!
So the burning question? Read the book or watch the movie? Well I’d recommend both! I do think the books are superior but watching the movie captures all the surprise of the plot twist and I love the eccentric atmosphere that was created. In this case, the movie has changed the ending which I’m never impressed with but as I only discovered this afterwards it didn’t ruin my enjoyment.
Who should watch The Body in the Library?
First off, if like me you have only watched snippets here and there of Miss Marple before, don’t judge the movie by that. You need to take time to sit down and watch it all come together. That moment when Miss Marple reveals all is just genius, my jaw hit the ground! If you love plot twists and red herrings, then I’d recommend this one to you.