Agatha Christie’s 4:50 from Paddington is a brilliant detective novel from the queen of mystery. It may not be her most popular work but it is a great mystery novel nonetheless. Find out why you should make this your next read!
4:50 from Paddington summary
Mrs. Elspeth McGillicuddy is on the train returning from shopping and is headed to meet her friend Jane Marple. As her train passes another train that is running parallel, Mrs. McGillicuddy looks at the other train and a blind flies up and she sees the back of a man while he is strangling a woman.
Mrs. McGillicuddy reports it to a ticket collector who is skeptical and doesn’t believe her. When she meets up with Jane Marple, she tells her everything and Marple believes her friend. But no crime has been reported and no body has been found on a train.
That begins Marple’s investigation as to whether a crime was committed and where the body is. By using the times of the train, Marple is able to guess which train it was and where the most likely place the body would be disposed of. As she follows her leads, she heads into danger and a string of crimes that is still ongoing. Can she solve the mystery before anyone else dies?
First published in 1957, this novel was released in the United States under a different title. The original title was What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw and even in the United Kingdom, the novel was released under the title 4:54 from Paddington. A last-minute change of the title to 4:50 led to a communication error resulting in the original title being used.
This is my first time learning about the horrible title that was used in the United States. It makes sense because who would even know what Paddington is outside of the U.K.! But they could have chosen a better title. The name Mrs McGillicuddy is ridiculous and should never have been used. I blame Agatha more so because she came up with that silly name. Goof thing Christie’s name sold the books and not the title of her novels.
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. Yes, the way Ms Marple solves the mystery seems like a stretch at times. I would be more than happy to guess the correct killer. If you have read a Christie novel, then you know there is a lot of misdirection and you will change your guess a few times and be angry afterwards. But that is also what makes it so much fun!
If you are a fan of mystery novels or have read any Agatha Christie novels, then this is a book that you should read. She is called the queen of mystery for a reason. A lot of authors have been inspired by her and this novel showcases exactly why. Happy reading!