Elspeth McGillicuddy is travelling on the 4:50 train from Paddington, London to St. Mary Mead to visit her old friend, Miss Marple. On the way, the train draws to a halt and another train draws alongside it. In the carriage opposite, the window blind suddenly snaps up, revealing a tall, dark man strangling a woman to death. Almost immediately the train chugs away, leaving a shocked Mrs. McGillicuddy to realize that she has witnessed a murder. At St. Mary Mead, Mrs. McGillicuddy loses no time in telling her story--but the police are dismissive. They have no body and believe it was the product of an elderly lady??s confused mind. Miss Marple, however, knows her friend better. Her inquiries lead her to an estate near the railway line. Rutherford Hall is a huge, Gothic mansion and the home of Luther Crackenthorpe, an elderly widower who is cared for by his daughter, Emma.