Susan in NC's Reviews > 4:50 from Paddington

4 by Agatha Christie
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it was amazing
Read 2 times. Last read February 11, 2017 to February 13, 2017.

I've seen the BBC Joan Hickson version of this very enjoyable mystery, and I thought I had read it, but now I'm not so sure...well, it was a five-star mystery for me! I started reading Christie in middle and high school and my library had more Poirots than Marples, and I was hooked. I still enjoy Hercule and his little grey cells, but I've come to appreciate Miss Marple for her ruthless grasp of the darkest side of human nature and her mind "like a sink", as she admits. Miss M. is sharp as a tack but can come across as a fluffy, dithery old lady with Victorian morals if need be, disappearing into the background and hoodwinking suspects as she gathers information and weaves her web to trap the killer. She's never shocked and doesn't shy away from the motives that drive men and women to desperation and murder, relying on her bottomless store of knowledge about human nature to suss out the bad guys...

This book opens as a friend of Miss Marple, Elspeth McGillicuddy, is on the train home after a busy day of shopping; she just happens to glance sideways at a train running on the parallel track and is treated to the horrific tableau of a man strangling a woman to death...

As soon as she tells Jane Marple what she has seen, the two decide it must be reported to the police. Nothing comes of it, though; no missing person, no dead body found, and of course the police think it's a batty old dear with an overactive imagination. But Miss Marple knows her friend and knows she doesn't have that sort of imagination - so Jane Marple decides to pursue the case as only she can, and what a ride it turns out to be!

I am so enjoying reading and rereading Miss Marple's adventures in order; I think I saw BBC versions of many of these stories and as good as they were, Christie's tight plotting, excellent characters and dry humor are a real treat! Of course in my mind's eye Miss Marple is Joan Hickson, and I love to envision the point in the plot where her innocent blue eyes lose their dithery vagueness and turn to cold blue ice as she dons the mantle of Nemesis and reveals the killer- she's truly a mystery lover's treasure!
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 16, 2009 – Shelved
February 11, 2017 – Started Reading
February 13, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Barb in Maryland Ah, good ol' Miss Marple--perfect for taking your mind off various post-op aches, pains, etc.
I didn't read a whole lot of Christie as a teen--I was going face down in 500 page historical fiction, Alistair MacLean and Gothic Romances at the time. As I got older I read some Marples, some stand alones but no Poirots. It took David Suchet for me to appreciate Poirot, though I've never gone back to read any of them.


Susan in NC I'm finding I appreciate Christie's dry humor and subtle commentary on post-war British society as an adult reader; as a teen I would've missed a lot of that and Miss Marple's unflinching insights into human nature - she's a sharp old gal! And I love how pragmatic and unsentimental the British are about relationships and family matters - so different from Americans, very interesting.


message 3: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Marple is my absolute favorite of Christie's creations. And yes Joan Hickson IS Miss Marple!!!


Susan in NC Yes, since I'm supposed to take it easy for another week or so I mY have to supplement my reading with viewing the Joan Hickson Marple DVD collection I bought myself for my 50th birthday!


message 5: by Teresa (new)

Teresa I'm jealous!! I'd love to have the series on dvd.


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