December 9, 2011

4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

As is often the case with Christie's mysteries, 4:50 from Paddington begins with a strange event.  When her friend Mrs. McGillicuddy comes to her with a startling story that no one else seems to believe, Miss Marple vows to investigate. While taking the train back from a shopping trip, Mrs. McGillicuddy looks out of her compartment window at a train running parallel--only to see a woman being strangled to death. Yet days pass and no evidence of a crime emerges.  

Miss Marple's investigation soon focuses on the wealthy, constantly feuding Crackenthorpe family.  The suspects are numerous, but the true challenge is identifying the woman whose death Mrs. McGillicuddy witnessed.  As always, the character of Miss Marple is a delight, although she is not in as many scenes of this mystery as the reader might hope.

4:50 from Paddington was the first book I tackled in last weekend's readathon. As always, Christie's writing is charming and the mystery is more complicated than it seems. It's a fun read, with several red herrings and an ending that took me by surprise.  Christie mysteries are always entertaining, and this one is no exception.

4:50 from Paddington © Agatha Christie and Signet Books, 1957.


  1. I actually reviewed this a couple of days ago. I enjoyed it as well, but it wasn't one of the best Christie's for me. Miss Marple didn't play a central enough role for me... and there was just something that I didn't connect with, although I find it hard to put my finger on exactly what it was

  2. I agree that it wasn't one of Christie's best. I think the circumstances in which I read it (the readathon) allowed me to enjoy it without searching for flaws that a slower read might have helped me find.

    I was way off in picking the murderer, so the surprise ending did make me like it more at the end.


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