First published in 1957, 4:50 from Paddington is a delightful post-war era English country house mystery that left me guessing until the surprise reveal, making this a perfect first experience reading a Miss Marple Mystery and my first book by Agatha Christie as well.
Witnessing a murder on a passing train, Elspeth Miggilicuddy diligently reports what she saw to the proper authorities only to be dismissed out of hand. Until, that is, she arrives at her friend Jane Marple’s home. Trusting her friend’s veracity, Miss Marple deduces where an investigation should proceed and soon puts an unexpected investigator into play – the indomitable Miss Lucy Eyelesbarrow, a formidable organizer and freelance housekeeper, of sorts, who chose the profession after completing her Maths studies at University. As Miss Eyelesbarrow obtains the desired employment and begins to do the ground work as directed by Miss Marple, we meet the Crackenthorpe family and the list of suspects grows.
While I was surprised that Miss Marple herself takes more of a back seat in the story, I very much enjoyed the character of Lucy as she attempts to locate the missing body and navigate the eccentricities, proposals, and propositions of the male members of the Crackenthorpe household. I do enjoy a competent, intelligent character. In contrast to independent Lucy, Emma is the long suffering Crackenthorpe daughter who does her best to accommodate her family at the expense of having her own life and home. In general, 4:50 from Paddington is highly enjoyable, deftly plotted, well written, and a bit of a cozy that features four different and interesting women.
Having now read my first Agatha Christie, I see that she is a natural fit to the part of my home library that is focused on classic 20th Century women authors. I see more Miss Marple in my reading future.
This review refers to a paperback copy that I purchased, inspired by The Comfort Book Club led by Miranda Mills. 4:50 from Paddington was her January pick.
About the Book
In this beloved classic from the Queen of Mystery, now with a new beautiful series look, a woman witnesses a murder while peering through the window of one train into another train passing . . . and only Miss Marple believes her story
For an instant the two trains ran side by side. In that frozen moment, Elspeth McGillicuddy stared helplessly out of her carriage window as a man tightened his grip around a woman’s throat. She watched on as the body crumpled. Then the other train drew away. But who, apart from Mrs. McGillicuddy’s friend Jane Marple, would take her story seriously? After all, there are no other witnesses, no suspects, and no case. How could there be, with no corpse and no one missing?
Miss Marple asks her highly efficient and intelligent young friend Lucy Eyelesbarrow to infiltrate the Crackenthorpe family, who seem to be at the heart of this mystery, and help unmask a murderer.
4:50 from Paddington A Miss Marple Mystery by Agatha Christie | William Morrow Paperbacks, 2022 reprint | paperback, 288