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In the novel 4.50 from Paddington, Lady Martine Stoddart-West (née Dubois) is the mother of James and the wife of Robert. She is the Martine that Edmund Crackenthorpe wrote about.

She is described as a "tall elegant woman". She is about thirty-five years old, and is attractive. She has dark hair, and is "expensively and beautifully made up".

During the war, Edmund had been a British soldier billeted at her family's house. They fell in love, and intended to be married. However Edmund was subsequently posted as missing and then confrimed as killed during the retreat to Dunkirk.

After the Germans occupied France, Martine became a worker for the Resistance. She was assigned to pass Englishmen escaping from the Germans through France back to England. This is how she met her current husband, who was an Air Force Officer who had parachuted into France as a secret agent for the Special Operations Executive. They got married when the war ended.

During the war, Martine had also met Squadron Leader Eastley, who had been shot down and then hid in the loft at her family home in France while trying to escape. When Martine visited Rutherford hall, she saw him standing on the terrace, and remembered the way he stood and the set of his shoulders. She had wanted to meet him again, but she and Lucy Eyelesbarrow could not find him later.

When Lady Stoddart-West found that her son's greatest friend at school was Alexander Eastley, Edmund's nephew, she was very pleased. She also noticed that Alexander was very like Edmund.

Plot in Book

Spoilers Ahead

After the body of the unnamed victim is found in the Stables, her clothes are identified as French, Emma reveals about Martine who wrote to the family stating that she has mothered Edmund's son and wants him to have the benefits that his Father had.

This has the police declaring that Martine is the victim on the train and that one of the family might have murdered her as to silent her, however soon after Alexander's school friend James Stoddart-West's Mother reveals that she is the Martine and she denies writing the said letter and that after Edmund's death she married Robert a SOE.

Her reason for speaking out was because her son told her of the letter.

Portrayals

Murder She Said

In the 1961 MGM adaptation Murder, She Said, Martine is referred to a lot as the supposed writer of the letter in which she claims to be Edmund's wife. This distracts the police for a while but nothing could ever be proven as the records in the French town where they were supposedly married were destroyed during the war. The character of James Stoddart-West has also been cut out completely. However Miss Marple becomes certain that Martine could not be the dead woman found in the barn. Martine was supposedly a French peasant girl but the victim's hands showed that she had never worked on a farm.

1987 BBC Version

The storyline of Martine as Mrs Stoddart-West and mother of James was cut completely from the BBC's 1987 adaptation. Here, Martine is used as part of the real name of Anna Stravinska, the murder victim. For a while this serves as misdirection, suggesting that her killer could be one of the family, out to eliminate her because, as Edmund's supposed wife, she was a competing claimant on the will.

2004 ITV Version

In ITV's 2004 adaptation, Martine and Edmund actually married in London. In a flashback, she was actually brought to Rutherford Hall by Edmund some time after they were married to meet the rest of the family. Bryan Eastley reveals he had met her again after Edmund's death. She had told him Harold sexually assaulted her. We see this in another flashback but it is ambiguous how far it went. Later, Miss Marple hears James Stoddart-West speaking impeccable French, and in a rather implausible leap of logic, surmises that his mother is French and might be Martine. She brings her down to Rutherford Hall where she reveals her backstory to Inspector Campbell and others. Inspector Campbell orders Harold to leave the property after hearing her account of what happened during her visit.

NHK 2005 Anime adaptation

In NHK's anime adaptation 4:50 from Paddington, the character is portrayed fairly closed to the original novel with only a small adjustment. Her son James had come home from Rutherford Hall. He knew his mother's name was Martine and wanted to know his own backstory. This leads Mrs Stoddart-West to visit Emma Crackenthorpe to tell her the truth. She reveals that she is in fact the "Martine" who married Edmund Crackenthorpe. He died shortly thereafter but by then she was pregnant, and James is actually Edmund's son. In the original Martine did not confirm that she had married Edmund, only that she had loved him. Nor did she affirm that James was Edmund's son.

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