Oh to be friends with Miss Marple where you will either be murdered, be implicated in a murder, or witness a murder. When Miss Marple’s friend sees a man murdering a woman on a passing train, she tells her friend and they begin to investigate who, what, when, and most importantly where. Where did the body go? To help figure this out, Miss Marple hires on a savant of sorts, one Miss Eylesbarrow, who after finishing college crafted herself into one of the most sought after caretakers who could book out three years in advance for her services. Miss Marple hires her to work for a family who owns the property Miss Marple believes the body must have been stashed.
The novel then turns into a kind of possible audition for Miss Eylesbarrow, who is a amateur mini-detective in this story. This happens a number of times in Agatha Christie novels where a guest star shows up to help solve the mystery or possibly become a new avenue for her to explore in future novels. The figure herself as a person works, but the set up for who she is and why she’s so sought after does feels a little silly.
It’s a nice take on the murder on a train novel that obviously Christie has a lot of experience with, and it’s a continuation of the very consistent success of the Miss Marple stories. It takes a mountain to make Poirot give up the stage in his own novels, but Miss Marple loves to step aside and let events unfold and mystery unravel themselves.