4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

4:50 from Paddington, Agatha Christie, 1957


My favorite quote: “The truth is people are an extraordinary mixture of heroism and cowardice.” (Except me — I’m a total hero. Everyone says so)

Most interesting characters: Elspeth McGillicuddy, a train passenger who saw something she shouldn’t have; Miss Marple, the local busybody who not only believes Mrs. McGillicuddy’s story, but sets out to get to the bottom of it — because that’s what Miss Marple does … 

Opening scene: Mrs. Elspeth McGillicuddy is boarding the train that will not only take her to her desired destination but lead her down a dark path of lies, deceit, and MURDER! (I feel bad for what poor Mrs. McGillicuddy had to see on that train, but like I’ve always said: You can’t be a character in an Agatha Christie novel without expecting someone to die. Mrs. McGillicuddy should just count her lucky hens that she isn’t the corpse in question …)  

The gist: Mrs. Elspeth McGillicuddy takes the train on her way home from a shopping trip. As she’s riding along, another train momentarily runs beside hers, and in those few moments as she’s minding the business of the passengers on the other train instead of doing a crossword puzzle or something equally old-lady-ish like she should have been, she witnesses a murder. She gets home and tells her friend, Miss Marple, all about it. Unlike myself, who would have been like, “Oh, please, Elspeth! Get a grip. You didn’t see shit, you old bat — you just need a hobby!” Miss Marple believes her and decides it’s up to her find out who died, why, and most important of all, whodunit    

Greatest strengths: Of all the Agatha Christie books I’ve read, 4:50 from Paddington was one of the most fun. Agatha Christie’s morbid sense of humor shines here, especially in the scenes concerning the two young boys who really, really want to see the corpse 

Standout achievements: Unlike many of Agatha Christie’s novels, in 4:50 from Paddington, the sleuth (in this case, it’s Miss Marple) can’t just go down the street and start interrogating all the neighbors. They don’t even know where the body was dumped, so this time, Agatha Christie makes Miss Marple start from scratch — but she figured it out. I’ll tell you what, though: I wouldn’t so much as sneak a cookie out of the jar unless I was certain Miss Marple was on another continent. And even then, I’d have reservations …  

Fun Facts: 4:50 from Paddington was originally titled, What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw, which I think is the better title. I don’t know why they insist on re-titling all of Agatha Christie’s books (except for the unfortunate case of And Then There Were None, of course — that one, I agree with)

Other media: To be honest, I’m too tired to go look. I think we can just say there’s probably a million various film, television, radio, and stage adaptations of everything Agatha Christie ever wrote and leave it at that

Additional thoughts: 4:50 from Paddington is one of the first Agatha Christie books I read — after And Then There Were None and Death on the Nile — further cementing my status as a total Agatha Christie fan-boy. I love Agatha Christie so much that if she were alive today and I had the chance to meet her, I’d wear panties just so I could take them off and throw them at her and make her feel like the rockstar she is

Hit or Miss: Hit

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Read 450 from Paddington

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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