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4:50 from Paddington [Hardcover]

Agatha Christie
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 2007 Miss Marple Mysteries
While two trains idle next to each other, Elspeth McGillicuddy sees a strangulation taking place from her compartment. Only the persistent Miss Jane Marple takes Elpeth's report seriously. Reader Joan Hickson was personally selected by Christie to play Miss Marple on the stage.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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'Never a dull moment.' The Times

From the Back Cover

For an instant the two trains ran together,side by side. In that frozen moment, Elspeth witnesseda murder. Helplessly, she stared out of hercarriage window as a man remorselessly tightened hisgrip around a woman’s throat. The body crumpled.Then the other train drew away.

But who, apart from Miss Marple, would take herstory seriously? After all, there were no suspects,no other witnesses . . . and no corpse.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this one! April 25 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Elspeth McGillicuddy had spent a busy day Christmas shopping in London so when she settled into her comfortable 1st class train compartment on her way to visit her friend it was natural that she dozed off for a few minutes. It was most unsettling that she woke up just in time to see a murder being committed in a passing train. It was understandable that the train conducter did not believe this elderly lady's fantastic story. It was fortunate that Mrs. McGillicuddy's friend was none other than Jane Marple.
Miss Marple believed her friend was not imagining whole thing. When the police found no evidence of the crime Miss Marple began to investigate for herself. She located the most likely place a body could be disposed of, a large estate owned by the Crackenthorpe family and arranged for a confederate, Lucy Eyelesbarrow to work for the family.
The Crackenthorpe family is another of Christie's large dysfunctional families dominated by a disagreeable father (Luther), downtrodden daughter (Emma), ambitious son (Harold) and a pair of blacksheep - the artistic Cedric and the slightly crooked Alfred. Two other siblings have died, Edmund and Emma. Emma's husband, Bryan and son, Alexander are also part of the household.
The body is found, more murders commited, the culprit unmasked and the true motive revealed in dramitic fashion by Miss Marple.
Along the way romance flourishes and leaves the reader with an unanswered question.
The family is very much like characters from similiar families in other books, (HERCULE POIROT'S CHRISTMAS, A POCKET FULL OF RYE, CROOKED HOUSE and others). This, coupled with the various titles this story has had over the years - WHAT MRS. McGILLICUDDY SAW, EYEWITNESS TO MURDER and MURDER SHE SAID, could lead a reader to think they had read this one before. Do not pass this one by, it is worth reading for the delightful Lucy Eyelesbarrow alone!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Joan Hickson reads one of Christie's best Sept. 23 2003
Format:Audio CD
In the 1961 mystery-comedy "Murder She Said," Margaret Rutherford plays a feisty version of Miss Marple (an interpretation that infuriated author Agatha Christie) who takes a job as a domestic to solve a murder she saw committed as her train was passing another. Rutherford shared a scene or two with another character actress named Joan Hickson, who was to play Miss Marple in a series of television mysteries that were far more faithful to their originals than were the films. So if you have already seen the two dramatic treatments of "4:50 From Paddington" or (as it was called over here) "What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw" and love comparisons, you might want to make a triple one with what Christie actually wrote by either reading the book itself or hearing an authoritative reading of it by Joan Hickson herself on an Audio Partners set on 5 audio cassettes or on 6 CDs.
In a houseful of potential murderers, the very interesting Christie character named Lucy Eyelesbarrow takes a position in order to find the body. As one commentator mentions, she is Christie's strongest independent woman to date and possibly in all of the mysteries. So where Rutherford simply was given a fatter role, the original story is that of Lucy with some fancy brainwork by Miss Marple, of course.
A very good entry in Audio Partners readings.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Three great dames make a terrific story Oct. 14 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
In this classic Jane Marple story, Joan Hickson, who portrayed Jane Marple perfectly on the BBC series, wonderfully dramatizes all the parts in this fascinating murder mystery. Elderly Elspeth McGillicudy witnesses a murder on the 4:50 train from Paddington Station. She reports it but no one believes her as there is no body to be found. When she tells her old friend, Jane Marple the story, Jane does believe her and re-enacts the so-called crime to see how and where the body could have been hidden. When Miss Marple pinpoints the most likely spot, she engages the young Lucy Eyelesberry to take up a post at that place, Rutherford Hall, to look for the body. The ensuing story is one of the best of Agatha Christie's with Jane Marple taking an important, though supporting role to the plucky Lucy. Not only does she find the body but she engages all the members of the dysfunctional family and serves as a foil to ferret out information about motives and alibis. Of course, all family members remind Miss Marple of someone in her village of St Mary Mead but that is the charm of the story and character. Elspeth McGillicudy does enter the plot again at the end and is instrumental in identifying the murderer.
This audio book is just perfect for a long car trip or even for many short commutes. I couldnt wait to get back to my car and engage the traffic because I so looked forward to Joan Hickson, Miss Marple and Lucy. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What Miss McGillicuddy Saw! Sept. 30 2002
Format:Audio CD
----is the original title of this Jane Marple offering, a much better choice than "4:50 From Paddington" which is a little bit deceptive and a lot more lackluster. Miss McGillicuddy, while riding the entitled train, saw a woman being strangled on a train running parallel to her own.
Miss McG. reports this shocking occurrence to her hostess Miss Marple, the police and the train authorities. No body is found, and the authorities chalk up the report to an elderly lady's vivid imagination. But Miss Marple knows that one thing rock-solid Elspeth McGillicuddy lacks is a "vivid imagination." If Miss McG says she saw a murder, Miss Marple is certain a murder did, in fact, take place. Her curiosity aroused, Miss Marple enlists the aid of young Lucy Eyelesbarrow. Lucy is a delightful character who combines fearsome organizational abilities with all consuming charm and tact. In a fine bit of sleuthing, Miss Marple ascertains the only area where the body could have been dumped from the train is on the Crackenthorpe (don't you just love these names?) estate, Rutherford Hall.
Lucy gets herself hired at Rutherford to find out about the people, and hopefully locate the body. The head Crackenthorpe is the old, miserly father who enjoys his poor health and depriving his grown children with equal enthusiasm. The family consists of his martyred spinster daughter, three sons, a son-in-law and a grandnephew schoolboy. Clever Lucy finds the body residing in a sarcophagus in a falling down barn on the property. The murderer would have to be very familiar with Rutherford Hall and its environs to have found such a resting place.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Miss Marple rules!!!
Agatha Christies Marple series are all the top of the heap for me when it comes to murder mysteries. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bootsy Bass
4.0 out of 5 stars Hidden crime within quintessential British ordinariness
The 4:50 from Paddington, the life of a country house and a crime which didn't even convincingly take place...until the intrepid Miss Marples reveals all. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2009 by M. J. Fenn
4.0 out of 5 stars Back Loaded Plot
4.50 to Paddington takes a while to get started with much of the book centered around trying to decide if a murder actually took place. Read more
Published on May 10 2004 by Sarah Sammis
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder Without A Corpse Challenges Miss Marple
In "The 4:50 From Paddington" Agatha Christie gives us another in her long list of detective stories involving a large family at their estate. Read more
Published on April 27 2002 by Antoinette Klein
5.0 out of 5 stars AwesoME...!!
I am an Agatha Christie fan and i'm working on to read all 80something books written by her, and I'm almost halfway through it. Read more
Published on March 12 2002 by "merrysallahbar"
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Christie Puzzler
When police dismiss an unimaginative woman's claim of seeing a murder in a passing train, elderly Jane Marple feels duty-bound to explore the possibilities--and the result is a... Read more
Published on Dec 5 2001 by Gary F. Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the Weaker of the Miss Marple mysteries...
I think my title prettty much sums this book up!! Now, don't get me wrong, I love Miss Marple!! Hercule Poirot does not even come close in comparison!!! Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2001 by John
5.0 out of 5 stars From the first word to the last. . .
Being my third Miss Marple (after the five- star Body in the Library and the slow- moving Carribean Mystery) I simply loved it. Mrs. Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars 4:50 From Paddington
Please don't be thrown off by the 4-star rating I gave this book, if it had been a bit longer, it would have been 5-stars! Read more
Published on July 18 2000 by Alphia D. Larkins
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