Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

4:50 from Paddington

Sunday, November 20, 2022

4:50 from Paddington (1957) Agatha Christie (Miss Marple)

4.50 from Paddington

This might be one of my favorite Miss Marple mysteries. It’s definitely one of the most memorable.

At that moment another train, also on a downline, swerved inwards towards them, for a moment with almost alarming effect. For a time the two trains ran parallel, now one gaining a little, now the other.

As someone who love watching other people, I can easily imagine this happening. You’re staring out the window and see something unexpected–because people forget that trains and cars are public vehicles not private spaces.

I recollect myself being interested when a train ran parallel to one in which I was travelling, to notice what a vivid and intimate picture one got of what was going on in one or two of the carriages. A little girl, I remember once, playing with a teddy bear, and suddenly she threw it deliberately at a fat man who was asleep in the corner and he bounced up and looked most indignant, and the other passenger looked so amused. I saw them all quite vividly. I could have described afterwards exactly what they looked like and what they had on.”

I also adore how Miss Marple acknowledges how frail she has become, but still works to resolve the mystery.

But the next step involved action – a good deal of action – the kind of action for which she, herself, was physically unfit.

One thing I did forget, however, was the element of romance with Lucy Eyelesbarrow. Not that she was looking for romance, but that the men around her noted her many qualities and were interested.

Her competence I clearly remembered.

Lucy Eyelesbarrow was thirty-two. She had taken a First in Mathematics at Oxford, was acknowledged to have a brilliant mind and was confidently expected to take up a distinguished academic career.

But Lucy Eyelesbarrow, in addition to scholarly brilliance, had a core of good sound common sense. She could not fail to observe that a life of academic distinction was singularly ill rewarded.

I think what I found (and find) so fascinating is how she she has taken something that is often seen as menial and looked down upon, and not only made a success of it, but did so on her own terms.

And despite being a “domestic” she knows her worth and doesn’t take guff from anyone.

“What were you looking for in the sarcophagus?”

“I was looking for a body,” said Lucy.

“You were looking for a body – and you found one! Doesn’t that seem to you a very extraordinary story?”

“Oh, yes, it is an extraordinary story. Perhaps you will let me explain it to you.”

“I certainly think you had better do so.”

Rating: 9/10


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