Agatha Christie publishes The Body in the Library

In her Author's Foreword, Agatha Christie describes "the body in the library" as a cliché of detective fiction.

She states that when writing her own variation on this theme, she decided that the library should be a completely conventional one while the body would be a highly improbable and sensational one. In light of these remarks, and the evidence of the novel as it is written, it can be considered a conscious parody of the genre. For the most part the novel is distinctly light-hearted in style, and even broadly comic in places, particularly in its portrayal of the idiosyncrasies of the British upper and lower classes.

An unusual feature of The Body in the Library is that it has almost as many detectives as it has suspects. Although Jane Marple is the most famous character in the novel, and the person who ultimately solves the mystery, she does not fully enter the action until the half-way point of the novel. Even then she is not always the driving force of the investigation. The police are represented by Colonel Melchett and Inspector Slack of the Radfordshire force, and Superintendent Harper of Glenshire. In addition, a second "amateur detective", the retired head of Scotland Yard Sir Henry Clithering, gets involved at the request of Conway Jefferson. Melchett, Harper and Sir Henry all play significant roles in advancing the investigation, and, through them, the reader often has access to significant information before Miss Marple does. In addition, Adelaide Jefferson's son Peter Carmody plays at being a detective and inadvertently provides a unique source of information.