Cooling Down with AC: 4:50 from Paddington

Mrs. McGillicuddy saw someone murdered on a train that passed the one she was on. She is positive that she saw a man strangling a woman, but after reporting it to the authorities, no body is found. No one seems to believe her, so she turns to her dear friend Miss Marple. Miss Marple listens to the whole story, goes to the local police who find nothing, and then assures her friend that she has done her duty. Mrs. McGillicuddy then goes on her way, but Miss Marple hasn’t done all she can.

As an older woman, Miss Marple cannot do al the necessary running around herself, so she calls on some old friends to help her. She sends Lucy Eyelsbarrow, a professional housekeeper to Rutherford Hall, the place Miss Marple is sure the body is. Of course, Lucy does find the body hidden in a sarcophagus in a barn, putting the Crackenthorpe family who live in the hall under the direct light of a Scotland Yard investigation.

Of course, it’s not spoiling anything to say that Miss Marple does in fact solve the case, but not before a couple more murders are committed. We actually don’t see much of Miss Marple in this story. She’s in the background, learning all she can about the family from Lucy, who is almost too perfect, and an occasional visit, but she knows people too well.

It’s an amusing story. The Crackenthorpe family are just all a little batty. There’s the old miser, the three grown sons, each of whom has problems, a son-in-law who seems at a loss at life, and a daughter who is the only solid member of the family.

I for one didn’t guess who the culprit was before Miss Marple set it up so that Mrs. McGillicuddy identified him, but I rarely even try to figure out whodunnit. There were clues along the way, but Miss Marple is better at putting things together than I am.

I have to admit to a slight bias when it comes to Christie’s stories. I’ve been reading them for like 25 years now. Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Tommy and Tuppence are all old dear, comfortable friends, folks I enjoy visiting.

Purchase at Amazon or an Indie bookstore.

Miss Marple #8
Also known as What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw
First published 1957

4 out of 5 stars

9 Comments

  1. I adore Miss Marple and this is one of my favorites. I loved the idea of witnessing a murder on a passing train. I saw the movie version of this with Margaret Rutherford and while not sticking to the story all the way, it was a lot of fun.

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