Romance, adventure, and train travel can all be a little bit dangerous, especially in the hands of Agatha Christie.
The Man in the Brown Suit: Pretty young Anne came to London looking for adventure. In fact, adventure comes looking for her - and finds her immediately at Hyde Park Corner tube station. Anne is present on the platform when a thin man, reeking of mothballs, loses his balance and is electrocuted on the rails.
The Scotland Yard verdict is accidental death. But Anne is not satisfied. After all, who was the man in the brown suit who examined the body? And why did he race off, leaving a cryptic message behind: "17-122 Kilmorden Castle"?
4:50 From Paddington: For an instant the two trains ran together, side by side. In that frozen moment, Elspeth witnessed a murder. Helplessly, she stared out of her carriage window as a man remorselessly tightened his grip around a woman's throat. The body crumpled. Then the other train drew away.
But who, apart from Miss Marple, would take her story seriously? After all, there were no suspects, no other witnesses...and no corpse.
This title was previously published as What Mrs. McGrillicuddy Saw!
Keep the mystery alive with more stories from Agatha Christie.
©1957 Agatha Christie Limited (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd.
I only listened to The Man in the Brown Suit, which I found to have particularly uninteresting characters. I did not listen to 4:50 from Paddington, although the story sounded very interesting, because I thought the audio was terrible. The narrator sounds recorded from very far away. Additionally, the narrator reads the story very slowly. I stopped listening after 10 minutes. I have listened to probably 20 Agatha Christie novels so far, all of which I enjoyed, so this set of books was a disappointment.
Both stories are good but I really like the Man in the Brown Suit. It is fun to listen to a book with so many changes of locale. Emilia Fox is a good narrator. I always think I will like Joan Hickson's narration as she is great in the old BBC Miss Marple's, but I don't think she's a good choice. Her speaking style seems so affected, and I can never get the volume loud enough to properly hear her. I don't have that issue with any other readers.
I switched to audio books due to migraine issues with reading. Having never read these two, I can't say if the narration is better than the print version. However I enjoyed the narrations of both readers. The first by a young woman who accurately conveyed the enthusiasm of the young female protagonist and the second by an old woman who doesn't vary as much in voice character but still carries the emotions of the characters. Agatha Christie is often an easy read.
The Man in the Brown Suit: 4/5
Emilia Fox did a good job, and the story is full of mystery, adventure and romance with charming characters.
4:40 from Paddington: 3/5
While Joan Hickson was well suited to voicing Miss Marple, that character doesn't appear in much of the book, and the other voices were indistinguishable, making it a bit hard to follow at times. The audio quality was also quite low.
Wonderful stories. I thought I had one figured out. I was wrong.
The narrator did a good job of creating feeling and inflection but once and a while it's hard to differentiate which character is speaking.
The Man in the Brown Suit is a perfect example of a second string Christie story. My personal theory is that Agatha was given a pamphlet on red flags for domestic abuse and mistook it for one expounding the signs of true love. Tip for the ladies and gents out there: if someone slightly throttles you while explaining how easy it would be to murder you, or tells you they'll murder your hypothetical spouse then kidnap and assault you THIS IS NOT ROMANCE. Unless you're Agatha Christie.
4:50 From Paddington is a classic.
Enjoy the ridiculousness! But please don't take the author's take on gender politics or domestic violence to heart.
As others have said the sound quality of 4:50 from Paddington is poor. I found it difficult to understand the narrator, due to a combination of her thick British accent and the recording equipment. In fact, it sounded like she was in her living room reading into a tape recorder.
I found both stories delighful and well-written--both were full of the usual Agatha Christie wit, humor, and intrigue.
The performance of Ms Fox in The Man in the Brown Suit is great. I wasn't a big fan of the story.
Opposite for 4:50, I know she playing Miss Marple years ago but I found her voice wasn't pleasant and I had to strain to understand often. But I loved the story line in this one.
This was a rare thing for me: an Agatha Christie story that I had not read. While Ms. Fox does an excellent job with the female characters, she tends to read her male characters as exaggerated whispers. The story is very good, and definitely worth a listen. Just a warning to the listener, you may get confused as to which male character is speaking.
Miss Marple always keeps me hanging on to see if I can beat her to the solution--of course, I never have--yet!
There were so many differing personalities--I kept finding myself so involved in cheering some of them on while booing at others.
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