“A man strangled a woman!  In a train.  I saw it.”

Mrs. McGillicuddy – 4.50 from Paddington

Elspeth McGillicuddy was not a woman usually given to hallucinations.  But when she witnesses a woman being strangled on a train, no-one believes her.  With no other witnesses and no corpse, she turns to the one person who can help, but how can Miss Marple solve a murder that appears not to have happened?

4.50 from Paddington (1957) is one of Christie’s most celebrated novels.  It was here she introduced Miss Marple’s great-nephew, David, to assist her in the investigation.  This was also the only time Christie would introduce a female ‘sidekick’ for Miss Marple; Lucy Eyelesbarrow, the young girl who infiltrates the Crackenthorpe family.  Critics lauded the appearance of Lucy though this would be the only time she appeared in a Marple novel.

4.50 from Paddington was published in America under the title, What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! MGM adapted the novel into the film, Murder She Said in 1962.  Starring Margaret Rutherford, a friend of the Christie family, it is loved by fans the world over.  In 1988 it was adapted by the BBC in a more faithful adaptation starring Joan Hickson.  In 2004 it was filmed with Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple.

In all the American editions of this book the train time given is 4.54 rather than 4.50.  The original title was going to be 4.54 from Paddington but at the last minute the UK publishers changed it to 4.50 from Paddington. It was too late for Dodd Mead to make these changes as the manuscript had already gone to press.

4.50 from Paddington is included in The Complete Miss Marple – a world record breaking book of over 4000 pages.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

I want to know everyone’s thoughts on this book.

What was your “huh” moment?

What was your “ahah” moment?

Is there a character you really disliked and happy to see “fall”?

Which character would you play in the tv adaptation?

What would you say to Agatha Christie about this book in your “fan girl/boy” moment?

 

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