Gender and Detective Literature: The Role of Miss Marple in Agatha Christie’s The Body in the Library

Berna Köseoğlu


Considering the rise of detective fiction in the twentieth century, it is clear that Agatha Christie plays a very important role in the development of detective novels. As a female author, she achieves producing distinctive works and creating remarkable sleuths. Although her works reflect the conventional characteristics of detective narrative, what makes her fiction distinguished is the female sleuth Miss Marple, who is an unconventional character in terms of her position in Christie’s writings. Particularly, in her The Body in the Library, the character, Miss Marple, comes to the fore as an amateur investigator, who surpasses the power of patriarchal society. Her appearance among the male sleuths changes the route of the investigation when she accomplishes attaining the truth about the murder and revealing the mystery of crimes. In this sense, in a male-dominated setting, Miss Marple establishes order and morality in society and proves that women are as intelligent, reasonable and challenging as men. In this paper, Christie’s contribution to detective fiction by means of her character, Miss Marple in The Body in the Library, will be highlighted. Moreover, the stratagems Miss Marple employs to solve the uncertainties about the criminal case will be explored so as to emphasize the conflict between women and men not only in society but also in the field of criminal investigations, therefore together with her talents in the field of criminal cases, her struggles with the patriarchal values will also be discussed in this study. Thus, in this paper, Miss Marple’s efforts to enlighten the murder, her overcoming the prejudice against women and her prevailing over male-domination will be analyzed.



Detective Novel, Agatha Christie, Female Detective, Miss Marple, The Body in the Library

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