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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. 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 -- for there is no corpse, and no one is 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 the mystery, and help unmask a murderer.

Topics: England, Family, Murder, Inheritance, Secrets, Suspenseful, Women Detectives, Private Investigators, Trains, Female Author, British Author, 20th Century, 1950s, and Series

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061738449
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One of the classics -- I've probably read it two or three times, since as Ogden Nash once said, "One Christie book is as good as a lib'ry." Other than Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, I can never remember whodunit!more
There are some interesting aspects of the setting of this novel that place it quite firmly in the mid to late 1950s. The oldest son in the Crackenthorpe family was killed in the war and there is some speculation that he might have had a son who would now be 15 or 16 years old. The house in which most of the action takes place, Rutherford Hall, has seen better days: the grounds are very neglected and there used to be a lot more staff to run it.There are a number of references to Miss Marple being frail and elderly but it doesn't stop her from undertaking quite extraordinary train journeys to establish a timeline for the murder that her friend Elspeth McGillicuddy witnessed. There are also quite a number of references to both Miss Marple and Mrs McGillicuddy carrying out a "duty" in tracking down the facts and culprit in the murder. There's a sense that they have old fashioned values that the younger generation don't share, although we are offered some hope in the "boys" who sleuth the grounds of Rutherford Hall enthusiastically. There's a sense too of the loss that the war caused - the death of the elder son, the poverty that followed the war, the physical/architectural structures damaged and never repaired, the disillusionment, marriages that never took place etc.There's romance in the air too in this novel, a bit unusual for Miss Marple, but there are times when she appears to be playing the matchmaker.I thoroughly enjoyed this read. By comparison with modern day books it is quite short but you'd be wrong if you thought the brevity came at the expense of character development and setting. There are plenty of red herrings - I'd forgotten the solution and it came as a surprise.more
Another one in third person, not first person. It could have been even more fun, I think, if it'd been from a character's point of view -- perhaps Lucy's, since I thought she was a fun character, and I rather hope she shows up again in future... Doubtful, but you never know. She was the most interesting part of it, for me, with her cheerfully getting on with things and working hard and doing detective work at the same time. More of her in general would have been nice -- maybe more of her potential romances, too.

The misdirection was quite well done in this one, since I had no idea who it could be -- I suspected everyone by turns, I think. I knew 'whodunnit' from someone else's review, before I got to the end, so I'm not sure I'd say there were adequate clues to figure it out for yourself, though...more
I was sooo close to figuring this one out!The mystery takes a little while to get rolling. I had to put it aside a couple of times. It took until about page 70 for the story to pick up.more
An elderly lady sees a murder committed on a train passing by. She reports it, but no one believes her. She tells her friend, another elderly lady. The authorities investigate, but no body turns up. Did the killer get away with murder? Not with Miss Marple on the case. A fine mystery indeed.more
This was my first time reading an Agatha Christie novel (after having seen many adaptations on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery program) and I have to say that it was just delightful!

The majority of the novel takes place at a large manor in rural England - the perfect place for a murder mystery in my opinion - and we follow along as Lucy Eyelesbarrow and Dermot Craddock investigate the lives and histories of the Crackenthorpe family, all under the unassuming direction of the elderly Miss Marple, our detective extraordinaire whose age prevents her from doing most of the poking around.

While I would have liked to have seen more of Miss Marple in the story, I understand that this is a later book and that Christie was likely using the opportunity to develop other sleuth characters. She did a wonderful job developing the character of Lucy, and there's plenty of the splendid Miss Marple in the end. I imagine that earlier novels will feature Miss Marple more front-and-center, and might recommend one of those as an introduction to her detective work.

Christie seems to have a way of convincingly leading you on as you try to solve the murder before the reveal, then just when you think you've got it, obliterating all notions of that accusation forcing you to start back at square one. While I was almost certain that I knew "whodunit" even before most of the characters, I was utterly surprised in the final chapters when Miss Marple swooped in to neatly frame and explain what she had deduced. And while it might seem a little fantastical to assume that all but the old lady had wool pulled over their eyes, the entire plot was believable and had no gaping unexplained or implausible holes.

While I can't recommend this book for any sort of intellectually-broadening characteristics, I do very much recommend it as a well-written and entertaining novel (especially for the Anglophile) and as a great alternative to the much inferior cop-dramas that litter the TV listings.more
When I was in my late teens/early twenties I read all Christie's I could find, and I was lucky to find almost all of them, so this, more than twenty years later, was a re-read, which did not matter at all. The pleasure was still there, and I knew there will be a surprising turn out at the end, although I was not sure in which direction. Why do so many people love reading Christie's novels? Hard to say, but I think that one element is the lack of the really dark, evil and gruesome elements. Trying to find out more about a murder is almost like getting ready for a picknick - everyone is having fun in the process, which naturally includes the reader. And when everything turns out all right in the end and the wicked are rightfully punished, the life in the countryside can continue to unravel peacefully...more
This was my first Marple book, and I must admit I prefer the Poirot ones better so far - Miss Marple was hardly in the novel, and she was constantly 'twinkling' and hinting and generally being extremely coy in a situation where lives are on the line. The mystery itself was fairly good, and I did like Lucy a lot. The plot twist reminded me a great deal of the sequel to The Thin Man film, The Thin Man Returns, with Jimmy Stewart.more
Classic Ms. Marple -- what's not to love?more
This is the second book that I've read in the Agatha Christie summer reading challenge. In this novel we find that Miss Marple's friend has witnessed a murder on the opposite train when the two trains were crossing paths. She only got a brief glimpse and so she cannot identify the murderer or his victim. From these tenuous beginnings Miss Maple is able to puzzle out the solution to the mystery. She is joined on her quest by Miss Lucy Eyelesbarrow who is a professional domestic servant and amateur sleuth. Lucy is a really fun character and I really enjoyed reading about her. The thing I especially love about these mysteries is the timeless quality to them. While some things in them are old fashioned the murders themselves never are. I think you could take the case in the this story change the names and come up with something that happened recently. I love Miss Marple and look forward to exploring more. For now I am off to investigate another Agatha Christie character, Hercule Poirot. I hope to finish Three Act Tragedy in time for the airing of the Masterpiece Classic movie this Sunday.more
One of my favorite Christies, partly because she so deftly complicated the story in so many ways, while the answer was right there in front of us. It's a Miss Marple, so that should give you a clue as to the best way to solve it. Marple methods are rather different than those of Poirot or the Beresfords. As always, Jane Marple demonstrates the importance of deduction and intuition, as well as ears that work very very well. A highly entertaining read that may well surprise you when the whodunit is revealed. It certainly did me.more
Fun Christie, the plot seems to get more complicated when really, as Miss Marple insists, it's all rather simple.Mrs. McGillicuddy saw a man murder a woman on a train on a parallel track while traveling to see her friend Jane Marple. The people with the railway and at the police do follow-up, but there is no body, and it is possible she had a dream or didn't see exactly what she thinks she did. But Miss Marple knows her friend, and while there are people who make things up and don't know exactly what they saw, she trusts that Mrs. McGillicuddy is right. With some maps and simple logic, she identifies where the body probably is. Then she enlists a very capable domestic consultant to get a job in the house on that land and search for the body.We meet some interesting characters in the family living in that house, including two teenage boys who find it just smashing that a body has been found. But once someone has murdered once, it's too easy to murder again. Now Miss Marple must find the truth. Classic Christie.more
Classic Agatha Christie with a multitude of suspects. Miss Marple's friend Ellspeth McGillicuddy glimpses what she beleives is the murder of a young woman in a passing train. Marple and friend set up to convince the police, find the body and of course solve the murder. The characters are typical Christie and well developed. The plot becomes more intricate as further deaths occur. The main protagonist is an extremely efficient maid for hire, Lucy Eylesbarrow, great character. The solution to the murder is quite interesting and I completely guessed wrong! I do enjoy a Christie novel.more
What's not to like about Agatha Christie mysteries? I especially like the Miss Marple ones. I like it that one can only guess who is the murderer, because of the last minute facts that are presented to the reader. Of course I always do- and I guessed correctly! (Maybe I'm reading too many Christies?) Like other reviewers on LT, I took a great liking to Lucy Eylesbarrow.more
Basis for the movie Murder, She Said, the first of four with Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple. In the book, Miss Marple is very ancient and virtually immobile,operating very much as an eminence grise , until the very end. During the course of the investigation, she describes her method -- relating the various suspects to "types" resident in her beloved home town. The dark secrets and grim destinies of her neighbors are a most reliable guide to diagnosing crime, it seems. English title: What Mrs. McGillicuddy saw!.more
Mrs McGillicuddy sees a women being murder on a train but no one believes her, with the exception of her friend Jane Marple. When the body doesn't turn up Miss Marple enlists the help of Lucy Eylesbarrow to find the body and discover just who murdered the woman and why. This is classic Christie complete with red herrings and misdirection and the revelation of the murderer is a complete surprise - and I love how Miss Marple manages to identify him.more
April 21, 1999The 4:50 From Paddington (aka What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!)Agatha ChristieMy first Miss Marple mystery (not THE first MM, just MY first). A friend of Miss Marple’s, Mrs. McGillicuddy, is traveling by train to visit with Miss Marple for a few days, and while on the train, witnesses a murder taking place on another train passing by – specifically, a woman being strangled by a man. No one believes her when she reports it, though, and no body is found on the other train. Miss Marple does believe her, of course, and deduces that the body must have been thrown out the train window. She even manages to figure out that it must have been thrown out onto the sprawling grounds of an old estate, and she then engages her brilliant, 30-ish friend, Lucy Eylesbarrow, to infiltrate the grand home of the prominent family who owns the land, find the body, and help solve the murder. Christie perfects her writing “tone” in this story, I think – not too dark, not too light. A perfect “Malice Domestic”.more
While traveling by train, Elspeth McGillicuddy witnesses a murder taking place in a train car that's on an adjacent track. She reports it to the porters and train officials as well as the police when she reaches her destination. However, because there were no other witnesses and no body can be found, no one believes her ... except her good friend Miss Marple. I usually read the Hercule Poirot books. Prior to this one, I had only read two other Miss Marple books and didn't enjoy them as much as I enjoy Poirot. However, this one was definitely an exception. I was hooked on this book right from the start. It seemed like Miss Marple was more of a minor character in this story, but it was still a really good story with a good cast of characters and very well written and a great setting. I will definitely be reading more Miss Marple now.more
This late Miss Marple novel is a fine one. One of Miss Marple’s matronly, clear-eyed friends witnesses what can only be a murder on a train running parallel to her own. No one takes her really seriously except Miss Marple, but who better to engineer a subtle investigation that roots out the sordid truth of this crime?Christie is in fine form here, with a classic manor house setup, a trio of unsavory brothers filling out the suspect line, and a good surprise ending that’s not too contrived. Recommended.more
More fun from the mistress of crime, love the super efficient Lucy Eylesbarrow (what a name!)more
Deadly TrainspottingIn 4:50 From Paddington all the elements that made Agatha's writing so remarkably effective are on display in full force. Suspense builds; characters are interesting, but not too complicated to be confusing; clues are sprinkled throughout; and, perhaps most importantly, Miss Marple is an active presence, rather than a peripheral observer as we've so often seen her lately.4:50 From Paddington was first published in 1957 and originally appeared in the United States under the title What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!. Frankly, I prefer that rather jaunty title; and so that's how I'll refer to it from here on out.And what, exactly, did Mrs. Elspeth McGillicuddy see when she was traveling by train back to her home in Milchester after a day of Christmas shopping? As another train comes alongside and runs parallel to hers for a few moments, she looks out her compartment window and sees…Standing with his back to the window and to her was a man. His hands were round the throat of a woman who faced him, and he was slowly, remorselessly, strangling her. Her eyes were starting from their sockets, her face was purple and congested. As Mrs. McGillicuddy watched, fascinated, the end came, the body went limp and crumpled in the man's hands.It's that word "remorselessly" which Agatha inserts in almost an off-hand fashion, that illustrates just how brutal and determined her killers can be. This murderer is no exception; by the time the book has run its course, bodies will be littering the landscape.Mrs. McGillicuddy immediately reports the murder to the train's ticket collector. Then, when she's disbelieved, she hails a porter and tells him to inform the local constabulary of the crime on the other train. By Chapter 2, she's sitting at Jane Marple's hearth telling her all about the deadly episode of trainspotting. Jane Marple, she knows, will believe her. After all, "Everybody in St. Mary Mead knew Miss Marple; fluffy and dithery in appearance, but inwardly as sharp and as shrewd as they make them." If Miss Marple can't make something out of nothing, then no one can.The two old ladies decide to wait for an announcement about the discovery of the body to appear in the local papers. When nothing hits the press, they tell the police about the incident, but they're still greeted with raised eyebrows and mild skepticism. As one inspector says, "I dare say it's just make believe—-sort of thing old ladies do make up, like seeing flying saucers at the bottom of the garden, and Russian agents in the lending library."Without a body, who can prove a crime has even been committed? Inquiries at the train companies prove equally fruitless.Miss Marple sticks by her friend, determined to get some proof that there's truth behind What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw. Through a clever bit of mathematics and engineering, Miss Marple determines the precise spot along the route where the killer could have conceivably tossed a dead body off the train before it pulled into the station.It's at this point the novel takes a decisive leap forward into the typical patterns of a Christie investigation. On the one hand, you have the police who are initially bemused and skeptical; then there is the amateur sleuthing that takes place, each chapter adding more and more characters to the list of suspects; eventually, Scotland Yard stops smirking and pursues the case with all official fervor and bluster; while dear dithery Miss Marple quietly solves the mystery by paying attention to the small details of human behavior.For this case, Miss Marple enlists the aid of a younger and spryer version of herself to do the actual legwork and gather the clues. Lucy Eyelesbarrow is a smart, sassy girl who has earned a reputation for being one of the best freelance domestic laborers in all of England. "Once she came into a house," we're told, "all worry, anxiety and hard work went out of it." Miss Marple hires Lucy to plant herself in Rutherford Hall, the gone-to-seed estate near the spot where she determined the body must have been tossed. Lucy insinuates herself into the Crackenthorpe clan and is soon doing a good job dusting, cooking, eavesdropping and poking around old, dusty barns.The Crackenthorpes are the typical dysfunctional family we find in many of Agatha's novels. There's a miserly, cantankerous patriarch; there's his long-suffering and devoted daughter who never married; there's the renegade artist son just in from Spain; there's the stuffy son who's a respected financier; there's the ne'er-do-well son who leads a double life; there's the widower of old Crackenthorpe's daughter who was killed several years earlier; and there's the family doctor who also has a tender eye for the spinster daughter. They all have motive (MONEY!) and opportunity (SHAKY ALIBIS!) and they all rotate in and out of the Prime Suspect Number One slot as Lucy gathers clues and feeds them to Miss Marple.Part of the intrigue in What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw is the fact that initially there's no evidence of a crime. And then, once a body is discovered at Rutherford Hall, no one is able to identify the dead woman. This is the big question mark which looms over most of the book-—not only do we not know how the murder was carried out, we don't even know who was strangled (or, indeed, if the corpse is the same one Mrs. McGillicuddy saw through the train window). There are certainly some shady goings-on in the Crackenthorpe family, but Agatha strings us along for most of the novel with what could feasibly be unconnected events.By the end of What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw, all the tumblers are clicking into place in Miss Marple's mind...."I have been wondering whether it might perhaps be all much simpler than we suppose. Murders so often are quite simple, with an obvious rather sordid motive...."At this point, you'd think the murderer would be buying tickets on the next train out of town. But of course that doesn't happen; besides, that would spoil all our fun of watching Miss Marple tighten the noose around the neck of the killer.more
Just finished listening to this one and I still enjoy it!Mrs. McGillicuddy was going to visit her friend in the country when she witnesses a murder in the train next to hers. Trouble is, no one believes her. And when no body is discovered, they all conclude she's one of those batty old ladies with more imagination than sense.All except her friend, Jane Marple. Miss Marple knows her friend has very little imagination and a high regard for the truth. So she sets off to discover a body.more
The 7th in the Miss Marple series (of the novels; I don't count the collections of short stories here), one of the better ones I've read so far. Actually, I have read all of these eons ago, but it's been so very long, I've quite forgotten them all. So I'm rereading them and it's like reading for the first time. I liked this installment, and I'm looking forward to finding the dvd so I can see it played out.A Mrs. Elspeth McGillicuddy is returning home after a long shopping day and takes a seat in the first class section of the train. She falls asleep for a while, wakes up, and as she does so, a train passes by on a parallel track. She looks up just in time to see a man strangling a woman, but she only sees him from the back. She reports it to one of the train conductors, but he thinks she's imagined it -- after all, when he looks at the magazine she's reading, right there is a picture of a man strangling a woman. She writes down the info, however, and turns it in at the station when she arrives. Her next stop is to Miss Jane Marple, to whom she relates the story. Of course Miss Marple believes her, and does some sleuthing of her own, after the papers fail to report a dead woman left on a train. Finally figuring out where the body could have been dumped from the train, Miss Marple hires a young housekeeper to take a position at Rutherford Hall, which lies close to the train tracks at the very spot where Miss Marple deduces the body may have been ditched. From there, it's a case filled with motives, red herrings, and suspects. I did not guess the murderer at all, which always pleases me. Recommended.more
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Reviews

One of the classics -- I've probably read it two or three times, since as Ogden Nash once said, "One Christie book is as good as a lib'ry." Other than Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, I can never remember whodunit!more
There are some interesting aspects of the setting of this novel that place it quite firmly in the mid to late 1950s. The oldest son in the Crackenthorpe family was killed in the war and there is some speculation that he might have had a son who would now be 15 or 16 years old. The house in which most of the action takes place, Rutherford Hall, has seen better days: the grounds are very neglected and there used to be a lot more staff to run it.There are a number of references to Miss Marple being frail and elderly but it doesn't stop her from undertaking quite extraordinary train journeys to establish a timeline for the murder that her friend Elspeth McGillicuddy witnessed. There are also quite a number of references to both Miss Marple and Mrs McGillicuddy carrying out a "duty" in tracking down the facts and culprit in the murder. There's a sense that they have old fashioned values that the younger generation don't share, although we are offered some hope in the "boys" who sleuth the grounds of Rutherford Hall enthusiastically. There's a sense too of the loss that the war caused - the death of the elder son, the poverty that followed the war, the physical/architectural structures damaged and never repaired, the disillusionment, marriages that never took place etc.There's romance in the air too in this novel, a bit unusual for Miss Marple, but there are times when she appears to be playing the matchmaker.I thoroughly enjoyed this read. By comparison with modern day books it is quite short but you'd be wrong if you thought the brevity came at the expense of character development and setting. There are plenty of red herrings - I'd forgotten the solution and it came as a surprise.more
Another one in third person, not first person. It could have been even more fun, I think, if it'd been from a character's point of view -- perhaps Lucy's, since I thought she was a fun character, and I rather hope she shows up again in future... Doubtful, but you never know. She was the most interesting part of it, for me, with her cheerfully getting on with things and working hard and doing detective work at the same time. More of her in general would have been nice -- maybe more of her potential romances, too.

The misdirection was quite well done in this one, since I had no idea who it could be -- I suspected everyone by turns, I think. I knew 'whodunnit' from someone else's review, before I got to the end, so I'm not sure I'd say there were adequate clues to figure it out for yourself, though...more
I was sooo close to figuring this one out!The mystery takes a little while to get rolling. I had to put it aside a couple of times. It took until about page 70 for the story to pick up.more
An elderly lady sees a murder committed on a train passing by. She reports it, but no one believes her. She tells her friend, another elderly lady. The authorities investigate, but no body turns up. Did the killer get away with murder? Not with Miss Marple on the case. A fine mystery indeed.more
This was my first time reading an Agatha Christie novel (after having seen many adaptations on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery program) and I have to say that it was just delightful!

The majority of the novel takes place at a large manor in rural England - the perfect place for a murder mystery in my opinion - and we follow along as Lucy Eyelesbarrow and Dermot Craddock investigate the lives and histories of the Crackenthorpe family, all under the unassuming direction of the elderly Miss Marple, our detective extraordinaire whose age prevents her from doing most of the poking around.

While I would have liked to have seen more of Miss Marple in the story, I understand that this is a later book and that Christie was likely using the opportunity to develop other sleuth characters. She did a wonderful job developing the character of Lucy, and there's plenty of the splendid Miss Marple in the end. I imagine that earlier novels will feature Miss Marple more front-and-center, and might recommend one of those as an introduction to her detective work.

Christie seems to have a way of convincingly leading you on as you try to solve the murder before the reveal, then just when you think you've got it, obliterating all notions of that accusation forcing you to start back at square one. While I was almost certain that I knew "whodunit" even before most of the characters, I was utterly surprised in the final chapters when Miss Marple swooped in to neatly frame and explain what she had deduced. And while it might seem a little fantastical to assume that all but the old lady had wool pulled over their eyes, the entire plot was believable and had no gaping unexplained or implausible holes.

While I can't recommend this book for any sort of intellectually-broadening characteristics, I do very much recommend it as a well-written and entertaining novel (especially for the Anglophile) and as a great alternative to the much inferior cop-dramas that litter the TV listings.more
When I was in my late teens/early twenties I read all Christie's I could find, and I was lucky to find almost all of them, so this, more than twenty years later, was a re-read, which did not matter at all. The pleasure was still there, and I knew there will be a surprising turn out at the end, although I was not sure in which direction. Why do so many people love reading Christie's novels? Hard to say, but I think that one element is the lack of the really dark, evil and gruesome elements. Trying to find out more about a murder is almost like getting ready for a picknick - everyone is having fun in the process, which naturally includes the reader. And when everything turns out all right in the end and the wicked are rightfully punished, the life in the countryside can continue to unravel peacefully...more
This was my first Marple book, and I must admit I prefer the Poirot ones better so far - Miss Marple was hardly in the novel, and she was constantly 'twinkling' and hinting and generally being extremely coy in a situation where lives are on the line. The mystery itself was fairly good, and I did like Lucy a lot. The plot twist reminded me a great deal of the sequel to The Thin Man film, The Thin Man Returns, with Jimmy Stewart.more
Classic Ms. Marple -- what's not to love?more
This is the second book that I've read in the Agatha Christie summer reading challenge. In this novel we find that Miss Marple's friend has witnessed a murder on the opposite train when the two trains were crossing paths. She only got a brief glimpse and so she cannot identify the murderer or his victim. From these tenuous beginnings Miss Maple is able to puzzle out the solution to the mystery. She is joined on her quest by Miss Lucy Eyelesbarrow who is a professional domestic servant and amateur sleuth. Lucy is a really fun character and I really enjoyed reading about her. The thing I especially love about these mysteries is the timeless quality to them. While some things in them are old fashioned the murders themselves never are. I think you could take the case in the this story change the names and come up with something that happened recently. I love Miss Marple and look forward to exploring more. For now I am off to investigate another Agatha Christie character, Hercule Poirot. I hope to finish Three Act Tragedy in time for the airing of the Masterpiece Classic movie this Sunday.more
One of my favorite Christies, partly because she so deftly complicated the story in so many ways, while the answer was right there in front of us. It's a Miss Marple, so that should give you a clue as to the best way to solve it. Marple methods are rather different than those of Poirot or the Beresfords. As always, Jane Marple demonstrates the importance of deduction and intuition, as well as ears that work very very well. A highly entertaining read that may well surprise you when the whodunit is revealed. It certainly did me.more
Fun Christie, the plot seems to get more complicated when really, as Miss Marple insists, it's all rather simple.Mrs. McGillicuddy saw a man murder a woman on a train on a parallel track while traveling to see her friend Jane Marple. The people with the railway and at the police do follow-up, but there is no body, and it is possible she had a dream or didn't see exactly what she thinks she did. But Miss Marple knows her friend, and while there are people who make things up and don't know exactly what they saw, she trusts that Mrs. McGillicuddy is right. With some maps and simple logic, she identifies where the body probably is. Then she enlists a very capable domestic consultant to get a job in the house on that land and search for the body.We meet some interesting characters in the family living in that house, including two teenage boys who find it just smashing that a body has been found. But once someone has murdered once, it's too easy to murder again. Now Miss Marple must find the truth. Classic Christie.more
Classic Agatha Christie with a multitude of suspects. Miss Marple's friend Ellspeth McGillicuddy glimpses what she beleives is the murder of a young woman in a passing train. Marple and friend set up to convince the police, find the body and of course solve the murder. The characters are typical Christie and well developed. The plot becomes more intricate as further deaths occur. The main protagonist is an extremely efficient maid for hire, Lucy Eylesbarrow, great character. The solution to the murder is quite interesting and I completely guessed wrong! I do enjoy a Christie novel.more
What's not to like about Agatha Christie mysteries? I especially like the Miss Marple ones. I like it that one can only guess who is the murderer, because of the last minute facts that are presented to the reader. Of course I always do- and I guessed correctly! (Maybe I'm reading too many Christies?) Like other reviewers on LT, I took a great liking to Lucy Eylesbarrow.more
Basis for the movie Murder, She Said, the first of four with Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple. In the book, Miss Marple is very ancient and virtually immobile,operating very much as an eminence grise , until the very end. During the course of the investigation, she describes her method -- relating the various suspects to "types" resident in her beloved home town. The dark secrets and grim destinies of her neighbors are a most reliable guide to diagnosing crime, it seems. English title: What Mrs. McGillicuddy saw!.more
Mrs McGillicuddy sees a women being murder on a train but no one believes her, with the exception of her friend Jane Marple. When the body doesn't turn up Miss Marple enlists the help of Lucy Eylesbarrow to find the body and discover just who murdered the woman and why. This is classic Christie complete with red herrings and misdirection and the revelation of the murderer is a complete surprise - and I love how Miss Marple manages to identify him.more
April 21, 1999The 4:50 From Paddington (aka What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!)Agatha ChristieMy first Miss Marple mystery (not THE first MM, just MY first). A friend of Miss Marple’s, Mrs. McGillicuddy, is traveling by train to visit with Miss Marple for a few days, and while on the train, witnesses a murder taking place on another train passing by – specifically, a woman being strangled by a man. No one believes her when she reports it, though, and no body is found on the other train. Miss Marple does believe her, of course, and deduces that the body must have been thrown out the train window. She even manages to figure out that it must have been thrown out onto the sprawling grounds of an old estate, and she then engages her brilliant, 30-ish friend, Lucy Eylesbarrow, to infiltrate the grand home of the prominent family who owns the land, find the body, and help solve the murder. Christie perfects her writing “tone” in this story, I think – not too dark, not too light. A perfect “Malice Domestic”.more
While traveling by train, Elspeth McGillicuddy witnesses a murder taking place in a train car that's on an adjacent track. She reports it to the porters and train officials as well as the police when she reaches her destination. However, because there were no other witnesses and no body can be found, no one believes her ... except her good friend Miss Marple. I usually read the Hercule Poirot books. Prior to this one, I had only read two other Miss Marple books and didn't enjoy them as much as I enjoy Poirot. However, this one was definitely an exception. I was hooked on this book right from the start. It seemed like Miss Marple was more of a minor character in this story, but it was still a really good story with a good cast of characters and very well written and a great setting. I will definitely be reading more Miss Marple now.more
This late Miss Marple novel is a fine one. One of Miss Marple’s matronly, clear-eyed friends witnesses what can only be a murder on a train running parallel to her own. No one takes her really seriously except Miss Marple, but who better to engineer a subtle investigation that roots out the sordid truth of this crime?Christie is in fine form here, with a classic manor house setup, a trio of unsavory brothers filling out the suspect line, and a good surprise ending that’s not too contrived. Recommended.more
More fun from the mistress of crime, love the super efficient Lucy Eylesbarrow (what a name!)more
Deadly TrainspottingIn 4:50 From Paddington all the elements that made Agatha's writing so remarkably effective are on display in full force. Suspense builds; characters are interesting, but not too complicated to be confusing; clues are sprinkled throughout; and, perhaps most importantly, Miss Marple is an active presence, rather than a peripheral observer as we've so often seen her lately.4:50 From Paddington was first published in 1957 and originally appeared in the United States under the title What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!. Frankly, I prefer that rather jaunty title; and so that's how I'll refer to it from here on out.And what, exactly, did Mrs. Elspeth McGillicuddy see when she was traveling by train back to her home in Milchester after a day of Christmas shopping? As another train comes alongside and runs parallel to hers for a few moments, she looks out her compartment window and sees…Standing with his back to the window and to her was a man. His hands were round the throat of a woman who faced him, and he was slowly, remorselessly, strangling her. Her eyes were starting from their sockets, her face was purple and congested. As Mrs. McGillicuddy watched, fascinated, the end came, the body went limp and crumpled in the man's hands.It's that word "remorselessly" which Agatha inserts in almost an off-hand fashion, that illustrates just how brutal and determined her killers can be. This murderer is no exception; by the time the book has run its course, bodies will be littering the landscape.Mrs. McGillicuddy immediately reports the murder to the train's ticket collector. Then, when she's disbelieved, she hails a porter and tells him to inform the local constabulary of the crime on the other train. By Chapter 2, she's sitting at Jane Marple's hearth telling her all about the deadly episode of trainspotting. Jane Marple, she knows, will believe her. After all, "Everybody in St. Mary Mead knew Miss Marple; fluffy and dithery in appearance, but inwardly as sharp and as shrewd as they make them." If Miss Marple can't make something out of nothing, then no one can.The two old ladies decide to wait for an announcement about the discovery of the body to appear in the local papers. When nothing hits the press, they tell the police about the incident, but they're still greeted with raised eyebrows and mild skepticism. As one inspector says, "I dare say it's just make believe—-sort of thing old ladies do make up, like seeing flying saucers at the bottom of the garden, and Russian agents in the lending library."Without a body, who can prove a crime has even been committed? Inquiries at the train companies prove equally fruitless.Miss Marple sticks by her friend, determined to get some proof that there's truth behind What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw. Through a clever bit of mathematics and engineering, Miss Marple determines the precise spot along the route where the killer could have conceivably tossed a dead body off the train before it pulled into the station.It's at this point the novel takes a decisive leap forward into the typical patterns of a Christie investigation. On the one hand, you have the police who are initially bemused and skeptical; then there is the amateur sleuthing that takes place, each chapter adding more and more characters to the list of suspects; eventually, Scotland Yard stops smirking and pursues the case with all official fervor and bluster; while dear dithery Miss Marple quietly solves the mystery by paying attention to the small details of human behavior.For this case, Miss Marple enlists the aid of a younger and spryer version of herself to do the actual legwork and gather the clues. Lucy Eyelesbarrow is a smart, sassy girl who has earned a reputation for being one of the best freelance domestic laborers in all of England. "Once she came into a house," we're told, "all worry, anxiety and hard work went out of it." Miss Marple hires Lucy to plant herself in Rutherford Hall, the gone-to-seed estate near the spot where she determined the body must have been tossed. Lucy insinuates herself into the Crackenthorpe clan and is soon doing a good job dusting, cooking, eavesdropping and poking around old, dusty barns.The Crackenthorpes are the typical dysfunctional family we find in many of Agatha's novels. There's a miserly, cantankerous patriarch; there's his long-suffering and devoted daughter who never married; there's the renegade artist son just in from Spain; there's the stuffy son who's a respected financier; there's the ne'er-do-well son who leads a double life; there's the widower of old Crackenthorpe's daughter who was killed several years earlier; and there's the family doctor who also has a tender eye for the spinster daughter. They all have motive (MONEY!) and opportunity (SHAKY ALIBIS!) and they all rotate in and out of the Prime Suspect Number One slot as Lucy gathers clues and feeds them to Miss Marple.Part of the intrigue in What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw is the fact that initially there's no evidence of a crime. And then, once a body is discovered at Rutherford Hall, no one is able to identify the dead woman. This is the big question mark which looms over most of the book-—not only do we not know how the murder was carried out, we don't even know who was strangled (or, indeed, if the corpse is the same one Mrs. McGillicuddy saw through the train window). There are certainly some shady goings-on in the Crackenthorpe family, but Agatha strings us along for most of the novel with what could feasibly be unconnected events.By the end of What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw, all the tumblers are clicking into place in Miss Marple's mind...."I have been wondering whether it might perhaps be all much simpler than we suppose. Murders so often are quite simple, with an obvious rather sordid motive...."At this point, you'd think the murderer would be buying tickets on the next train out of town. But of course that doesn't happen; besides, that would spoil all our fun of watching Miss Marple tighten the noose around the neck of the killer.more
Just finished listening to this one and I still enjoy it!Mrs. McGillicuddy was going to visit her friend in the country when she witnesses a murder in the train next to hers. Trouble is, no one believes her. And when no body is discovered, they all conclude she's one of those batty old ladies with more imagination than sense.All except her friend, Jane Marple. Miss Marple knows her friend has very little imagination and a high regard for the truth. So she sets off to discover a body.more
The 7th in the Miss Marple series (of the novels; I don't count the collections of short stories here), one of the better ones I've read so far. Actually, I have read all of these eons ago, but it's been so very long, I've quite forgotten them all. So I'm rereading them and it's like reading for the first time. I liked this installment, and I'm looking forward to finding the dvd so I can see it played out.A Mrs. Elspeth McGillicuddy is returning home after a long shopping day and takes a seat in the first class section of the train. She falls asleep for a while, wakes up, and as she does so, a train passes by on a parallel track. She looks up just in time to see a man strangling a woman, but she only sees him from the back. She reports it to one of the train conductors, but he thinks she's imagined it -- after all, when he looks at the magazine she's reading, right there is a picture of a man strangling a woman. She writes down the info, however, and turns it in at the station when she arrives. Her next stop is to Miss Jane Marple, to whom she relates the story. Of course Miss Marple believes her, and does some sleuthing of her own, after the papers fail to report a dead woman left on a train. Finally figuring out where the body could have been dumped from the train, Miss Marple hires a young housekeeper to take a position at Rutherford Hall, which lies close to the train tracks at the very spot where Miss Marple deduces the body may have been ditched. From there, it's a case filled with motives, red herrings, and suspects. I did not guess the murderer at all, which always pleases me. Recommended.more
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