4.50 From Paddington: Miss Marple Series Book 8, by Agatha Christie
Two trains running parallel to each other. A one-in-a-million glance out of a window. And… a murder.
This was all it took to turn the lives of the Crackenthorpe family upside down. Elspeth McGillicuddy was the one who started the chain of events that changed the lives of the Crackenthorpe family forever. It all started one day when she was travelling in a train to meet her relatives. It would have been quite a normal train ride and nothing out of the ordinary had she not looked out of the window. You see, it was one of those rare moments that two trains going in opposite directions slowed down at the same time. This momentary slowing of the trains meant that if the occupants of either train were to glance out of their windows, they would have been able to see into the compartments of the other train.
This was exactly what happened to Elspeth McGillicuddy. She had innocently glanced out of the window but what she saw, made her blood run cold. In the compartment of the other train, was a man slowly strangling a woman. In a daze, she continued to watch until both trains moved away.
A shocked and distressed Mrs. McGillicuddy recounted the same to Ms. Marple, inadvertently presenting Ms. Marple with what might be one of her toughest cases yet. After all, it had been a momentary glance out of a window. There were no clear suspects, no other witnesses, and absolutely no idea who the victim might have been. Worst of all there weren’t any clues. No defining characteristic about the murderer as the man had been standing with his back to Mrs. McGillicuddy. No idea where the murderer had been going or where the body was.
However, Ms. Marple wasn’t one to give up. She started investigating and her inquiries led her to a certain Rutherford Hall. Ms. Marple asks her friend Lucy Eylesbarrow to probe Rutherford Hall. Lucy starts doing so in a subtle and quiet manner, and along the way, she finds out quite a lot about the family residing there, the Crackenthorpes. Secrets are uncovered and family gossip is spread. Lies are told and it’s up to Lucy to find out the truth and most importantly the identity of the murderer.
Well, that is about how much I’m going to say for now. You can obviously read the book and find out on your own. Let me just say, that despite the slow build-up in the first half, when you read the second half your mind will be blown. You’re on the edge of your seat and things move fast - and I mean really fast. The first half isn’t very fast paced but it still holds your attention, mainly because you’re intrigued by the dramatic murder at the beginning. All in all, the book manages to keep you curious and interested throughout. Agatha Christie never fails to surprise me with her writing skills.
The idea for this book was simply genius. It’s quite common to glance out of the window of your vehicle and observe things. Agatha Christie took this everyday event and turned it into a thrilling murder mystery. Most people wouldn’t even make such a connection. To conclude, the diverse Crackenthorpes coupled with the baffling murder and amazing writing makes this book one that you won’t forget easily
© 2020, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.