4.50 From Paddington

  • Miss Marple
  • Novel
  • 1957

For an instant the two trains ran together, side by side. In that frozen moment, Elspeth witnessed a murder. Helplessly, she stared out of her carriage window as a man remorselessly tightened his grip around a woman’s throat. The body crumpled. Then the other train drew away. But who, apart from Miss Marple, would take her story seriously? After all, there were no suspects, no other witnesses… and no corpse.

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Don’t go. Murder has made you practically one of the family.

Cedric Crackenthorpe, 4.50 From Paddington

More about this story

The story went through more title changes than any of Christie’s other books. The time in the title changed from 4.15 to 4.30 then 4.54 before becoming 4.50, although the original manuscript has the title 4.54 From Paddington. It was originally published in the US as What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw!

Christie introduces Lucy Eyelesbarrow, a young professional housekeeper who helps Miss Marple do her leg work. Together they solve the mystery.

A model detective story; one keeps turning back to verify clues, and not one is irrelevant or unfair.
The Times

Four years after its release in 1961, Margaret Rutherford played her first role as Miss Marple in a TV adaptation of 4.50 From Paddington. It was later adapted by the BBC in 1988 starring Joan Hickson as Miss Marple, and then again in 2004 for ITV where Geraldine McEwan played the much-loved sleuth. June Whitfield starred as Miss Marple in BBC Radio 4’s dramatisation in 2005. The story was adapted into a Tommy and Tuppence adventure titled Le Crime est Notre Affair for French cinema in 2008 by Pascal Thomas. In 2010, this story became one of the first Miss Marple PC games in a seek and find challenge.

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