4.50 from paddington

Vintage Mystery Challenge 2012 – Completion

I participated on the Vintage Mystery Challenge 2012 hosted by the wonderful Bev Hankins of My Readers Block.

I had chosen to read from two Vintage Themes (16 books). The themes were,

Deadly Decades: 8 books, one from each time period plus one of your choice (Pre-1900s; 1900-09; 1910-19; 1920-1929; 1930-1939; 1940-1949; 1950-59).

Golden Age Girls: 8 books by female authors OR 8 books with female detectives.

And drumroll, please! I completed the challenge last month! It took me on an average two books per month. I could have done it faster but I didn’t want to. I wanted to savour it as much as possible. But here we are at the end of the road.

Once again, I’d like to thank Bev for hosting this challenge! 🙂

Completed Books:

Deadly Decades: 

Pre-1900s: The Big Bow Mystery. Israel Zangwill. (1892)

1900-09: The Hound of the Baskervilles. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (1902)

1910-19: At the Villa Rose. A.E.W. Mason. (1910)

1920-1929: Behind That Curtain. Earl Derr Biggers. (1928)

1930-1939: The Thirteen Problems. Agatha Christie. (1932)

1940-1949: The Body in the Library. Agatha Christie. (1942)

1950-59: 4.50 from Paddington. Agatha Christie. (1957)

Decade of my own choice: 1900-09: In the Fog. Richard Harding Davis. (1901)

Golden Age Girls: 8 books by female authors.

1. The After House. Mary Roberts Rinehart.

2. The Lodger. Marie Adelaide Belloc.

3. A Pocket Full of Rye. Agatha Christie.

4.  The Old Man in the Corner. Baroness Orczy.

5. The Moving Finger. Agatha Christie.

6. Evil Under the Sun. Agatha Christie.

7. Death And The Dancing Footman. Ngaio Marsh.

8. The Beckoning Lady. Margery Allingham.

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Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2012 – Completion

I participated in the Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2012 hosted at the Book Chick City. My participation level was TWELVE (12) mystery & suspense novels.

And I have completed my first challenge of 2012! I thought it would take me at least six months to finish 12 mystery & suspense books but I did it in five. So yay me! 🙂

So glad to have participated in the Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2012! Thanks to everyone in Book Chick City for hosting this fabulous challenge!

Completed Books:

1. The Big Bow Mystery. Israel Zangwill.

2. The Hound of the Baskervilles. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

3. At the Villa Rose. A.E.W. Mason.

4. Behind That Curtain. Earl Derr Biggers.

5. The Thirteen Problems. Agatha Christie.

6. The Body in the Library. Agatha Christie.

7. 4.50 from Paddington. Agatha Christie.

8.  In the Fog. Richard Harding Davis.

9. The After House. Mary Roberts Rinehart.

10. The Lodger. Marie Adelaide Belloc.

11. A Pocket Full of Rye. Agatha Christie.

12. The Old Man in the Corner. Baroness Orczy.

Musing Mondays (Apr.16)

This week’s Musing Mondays from Should Be Reading asks…

“This week’s musing asks…

What are you currently reading? And, is it better, as good as, or worse than your last read?

I am currently reading In the Fog by Richard Harding Davis and Bleak House by Charles Dickens. In the Fog is a quick little read. Frankly I am enjoying it more than I thought I would. Dickens, as you all may know, is one of my favourite authors. I am really irritated by the characters of Mr. Skimpole and Richard Carstone but other than that I am enjoying Bleak House.

My last read was 4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie. Now Christie is, again as you all may know, one of my favourite authors. Bleak House is so very different from 4.50 from Paddington . It’s like comparing apples and oranges.

In the Fog, on the other hand, is a mystery. But it is from a very different era. 4.50 from Paddington is modern when compared to In the Fog, which is set during the Victorian era.

So, I can’t say that Bleak House or In the Fog is any better or worse than 4.50 from Paddington. All are good in their own way, which is great for me as a reader. A good read is always welcome!

4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

4.50 from Paddington is a detective novel written by Agatha Christie. It was first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in 1957 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in the same year under the title of What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! A paperback edition by Pocket Books in 1963 changed the title to Murder, She Said to tie in with the feature film release of the same name.

Elspeth McGillicuddy, on her way to visit her old friend Miss Marple, has been having a rather uneventful journey. But that changes when she looks out the window of her train carriage and sees a woman being strangled in a passing train. The problem is no one believes her. Only Miss Marple does. But if there has been a murder where is the body? It’s up to Miss Marple to find that out.

The unusual way in which Mrs. McGillicuddy witnesses the crime has long been one of my favorites in detective fiction. I’m yet to discover a better way in which the commencement a crime is seen through the eyes of the witness.

One of the main characters of this mystery (and Miss Marple’s right hand woman) is Lucy Eyelesbarrow. She is a professional housekeeper and a very unusual woman. She is efficient and organized. The way she handles the investigation and all the household duties at the same time dealing with her own inner emotional confusion, is remarkable. She is definitely not a damsel in distress.

In fact, all of the female characters in this story are unusually strong. For example, another female character, Emma Crackenthorpe, is not a push over and holds her own pretty well against a pack of scowling brothers and a cantankerous father.

Detective-Inspector Dermot Craddock reappears in this book after A Murder Is Announced. He is the godson of Sir Henry Clithering, who is an old friend of Miss Marple. In fact, the case from A Murder Is Announced is discussed at least on two separate occasions in this book.

Also, reappearing is the Vicar and his family from The Murder at the Vicarage and The Body in the Library. I love how all of these familiar character grow old as time goes by in Miss Marple’s universe, makes the reader feel like as if s/he has known them all their lives.

Among the other characters Luther Crackenthorpe, the Crackenthorpe family patriarch is a nasty old man who relishes the thought of out living all of his children. He is one strange man. All of Luther’s sons, Cedric, Harold and Alfred, are greedy, unpleasant and definitely unlikable. Christie is much more sympathetic in her portrayal of Luther’s only surviving daughter, Emma Crackenthorpe.

Luther’s son-in-law, his deceased daughter Edith’s husband, Brian Eastley, is like so many of other Christie creations. Christie definitely had a theory about war time heroes not being fit for day to day life. Peace time doesn’t suit them. They find real life too tame and become restless. This theme reoccurs in many of her stories. For example, Pat Fortescue’s first husband in A Pocketful of Rye.

The relationship between Brian Eastley and his son Alexander was touching and the interaction between Alexander and Lucy was fun to read. The characters of Alexander Eastley and his friend James Stoddard-West definitely brighten up the narrative.

Miss Marple and her unlimited stock of ‛village parallels’ are as fresh as ever. One might say that Miss Marple does not do all the sleuthing herself and it’s not fair but the story is so nicely paced that I hardly felt her absence at all. She is, as she herself says in the book, old and physically weak. It is impossible for her to physically do what Lucy Eyelesbarrow does.

I always talk about Agatha Christie’s little insights about psychology of murderers. Here is an interesting one,

“Yes, of course ______ was a little peculiar, as they say, but I never see myself that that’s any real excuse. I mean you can be a little peculiar in so many different ways. Sometimes you just go about giving all your possessions away and writing cheques on bank accounts that don’t exist, just so as to benefit people. It shows, you see, that behind being peculiar you have quite a nice disposition. But of course if you’re peculiar and behind it you have a bad disposition…”

I was surprised by the identity of the killer. I really didn’t think (after having read way too many Christie mysteries) that the person was the murdering type at all.

One little thing I’ve always wanted to know is ‘Who does Lucy Eyelesbarrow end up with?’ Miss Marple says she knows but we the poor readers are left very much in the dark. I’m still wondering.

The central mystery of 4.50 from Paddington is rather a common one. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. Because I don’t expect uncommon stories from Christie. What I expect is a feeling of satisfaction, the comfort of having read a good cozy mystery. I always come back to Christie for comfort and am never disappointed.

Teaser Tuesdays (April 10)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 My Teaser:

“ ‘Dr. Quimper’s coming to tea. Father. It’s his birthday today and…’

‘Birthday?’ snorted the old man, ‘what’s he doing with a birthday? Birthdays are only for children. I never count my birthdays and I won’t let anyone else celebrate them either.’

‘Much cheaper,’ agreed Cedric. ‘You save the price of candles on your cake.’

‘That’s enough from you, boy,’ said Mr. Crackenthorpe.”

4.50 from Paddington”  by Agatha Christie.