4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

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4:50 from Paddington is exactly what I hope for from a Christie novel. It was cute and enjoyable even though it’s about murder. If you’ve never read a Christie novel you may be surprised by the absolute acceptance the characters have of death and dead bodies. Very British “oh dear another dead body.” Their behavior is startling if you don’t expect it. In this one there were children and they actually acted like children. They played and ran around playing detective and never once realized the danger they could be in. Compared to the adults the accuracy of the children’s behavior was a bit shocking.

It does start out a little slow with McGillicuddy worrying about random things and Miss Marple soothing her, but after that we get Lucy. Lucy is in some ways the star as she goes undercover to find a body. We get to learn about her life as a sort of maid, and see her adjusting to being undercover, and her plans for her life afterward.  She is a force to be reckoned with.

Christie had me fooled more or less the whole time which is what I want from a mystery novel. I considered the correct killer, but I hadn’t fully decided that they were the right person. I did guess the motive correctly, but I was wrong about the number of people involved. I won’t say if I thought there were more or less than there actually were.

The names in this one are so delightful. On the more ridiculous side we have Lucy Eyelesbarrow, Elspeth McGillicuddy, Luther Crackenthorpe, and Dr. Quimper. Wow those are some names. And following up the funny names are the funny proposals. Lucy can’t stop getting proposed to and they get more and more absurd as the story goes on. It adds a cute little side story to keep up with.

The way the body ended up where it did was very strange but fit well with everything. It was perfect in how everything tied together so unexpectedly. Every once in a while a Christie novel will not hold up to expectations because she doesn’t give enough hints for anyone to figure it out. This wasn’t one of those, thankfully. It was a well-done surprise that didn’t disappoint me or my husband.

If you like Agatha Christie or cozy mysteries this is definitely one to keep on your radar if only because of the sarcophagus that features so prominently.

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