4.50 From Paddington

By Agatha Christie

Rating: 4 stars

This was my first Miss Marple story, although I am a firm fan of Ms Christie’s other famous creation, Hercule Poirot. This is a very different kind of book, with Miss Marple herself staying very much in the shadows: being an old lady, she can’t really get around, so she relies on the thoroughly competent Lucy Eyelesbarrow to be her eyes and ears. Lucy is an intriguing character in her own right, and I liked the idea of this very intelligent, well-educated young woman deciding to turn domestic service into a Profession, and charging outrageous amounts of money to come in and ‘look after’ people for a few weeks or months, before moving on.

The central mystery of the story concerns Mrs Elspeth McGillicuddy witnessing a murder as another train pulls up alongside her own for a few minutes. Nobody really believes her, except her old friend Miss Marple, who makes it her business to find out who the murderer is, not to mention the identity of the victim.

I tried yet again to read along and try and figure out who the murderer was in this, and I failed yet again. I was astounded at the end when the reveal happened, as Christie had laid a marvellous false trail. But I wonder if it was too well laid, and there weren’t enough clues to determine the real identity of the killer. But it was a fun novel to read anyway and I enjoyed it.

I did spent the whole novel hearing Miss Marple’s voice as that of Peggy from The Archers though.

Book details

ISBN: 9780330238915
Publisher: Pan; New Impression edition
Year of publication: 1957

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