In the novel 4.50 from Paddington, Cedric Crackenthorpe is the eldest living child of Luther Crackenthorpe. He is a bohemian painter, living in Ibiza. He travels back home to the family estate, Rutherford Hall. As the eldest son, he will inherit Rutherford Hall when his father dies.
Cedric is described as a "big man with a weather-beaten rugged face, unkempt dark hair and a jocund manner". His clothes are disreputable and almost threadbare, but they had originally been of good cut and excellent material.'
Cedric says that he lives in a permanent mess in Ibiza, and he likes it. There is dust everywhere, smears of paint, and chips of stone, and no one is allowed to touch anything.
Emma Crackenthorpe asks Cedric whether she should tell the police about the letter she had received from Martine, who claimed to have married Edmund Crackenthorpe, and had a son with him. Cedric advises Emma not to say anything to the police, saying that his motto is "Never go halfway to meet trouble".
Cedric initially tells the police that he left Ibiza on the 21st of December, and arrived in England that same day. This would have meant he was still in Ibiza on the 20th, the day the murder was committed. However, the police find out that he had actually entered England on the evening of the 19th. He then says that he met an attractive woman on the plane, and stayed in a London hotel with her. He says that on the 20th, he went to a show at the National Gallery, and out drinking with the woman he had met. Then on the 21st, the woman left to catch a plane to America, and he went to Rutherford Hall. He pretended to have just arrived in England because he thought Emma would be upset if she found out that he had not come straight home upon arriving.
While Cedric is recovering, he begins making plans for what to do with Rutherford Hall when he inherits it. He says that the land is very valuable for industrial purposes. He says that if he sells the land, the money will be capital and not income, so he will not have to pay takes on it.
He also begins to pay attention to Lucy, saying that she is a lovely girl. He wonders whether he only thinks this because he has not seen any good-looking women for such a long time.
In BBC's 1987 adaptation of 4.50 from Paddington, the part of Cedric is played by John Hallam. In this adaptation, he also develops an interest in Lucy Eyelesbarrow, thus becoming a rival with Bryan Eastley. Bryan told the police that he had seen Cedric arriving at Northolt Airport on the day of the murder of Anna Stravinska. He had not be overseas as he claimed. When challenged by the police, Cedric admitted that he was in London and told them that he had checked into a hotel with a married woman with whom he had an adulterous affair. Lucy had at first responded to Cedric's attentions but she rejected him after overhearing Cedric disclosing his peccadillos to the police.
In NHK's anime adaptation 4:50 from Paddington, the character is voiced by Akio Ôtsuka. In this adaptation he normally resides in Mallorca rather than Ibiza.