After my previous read I was reminded how much I love a good Agatha Christie. I am not the biggest fan of Poirot however I absolutely love a good Miss Marple, so I went to the TBR pile and the 4.50 From Paddington beamed out at me – how could I resist? I don’t think I need to tell people what the premise of a Miss Marple novel is but I should anyway, just in case. Miss Marple is a lovely retired lady living in the delightful small village of St Mary Mead, she unfathomably ends up embroiled in murders, and decides she should go out and solve the cases in a slightly nosey busybody kind of way. I think she’s great.
The tale starts as Mrs McGillicuddy takes the 4.50 from Paddington to visit her friend Miss Marple. ON her journey and being slightly nosey herself she is looking at another trains carriages when she sees a woman being throttled by a man. She naturally reports this and no one believes her, no one of course except Miss Marple. After no body is found and nothing is reported in the papers Miss Marple hires her friend Lucy Eyelesbarrow (some of the names are corking) to become a cleaner in a house near where the murder seems to have happened and where a body might just have been hidden. Lucy then has to report back to Miss Marple on regular occasions as she figures it all out coming to the correct conclusion of course.
Agatha Christie sometimes gets unfairly criticized for her prose. No it isn’t flowery and never ending, she is blunt and gets to the chase whilst chucking in a few good red herrings which is what all good crime fiction should do. Also she looks at society and the human mind which has become incredibly fashionable again in crime fiction as it merges into popular literature. I had forgotten though how well she can weave a plot, after putting down the book having finished it you cannot help but marvel at how she came up with the idea in the first place, sent on so many wrong turns and then got you to a thrilling conclusion.
Sadly like with ‘At Bertram’s Hotel’ Miss Marple isn’t in the book as much as I would have liked. I simply love the character of Miss Marple and though Lucy seemed a younger Miss Marple in her own way it was slightly like an understudy and with the secondary characters sometimes Agatha makes them slightly one dimensional but that’s me being really, really picky. You actually cannot fault Agatha’s work, she was ahead of her time I believe and now she is still one of the best selling authors every year, despite people saying she’s no longer fashionable.