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The Girl in the Train is the third episode of The Agatha Christie Hour and is based on the Agatha Christie short story of the same name.


George Rowland comes to work late (again) and his Uncle William fires him from the family investment firm. George decides to leave home. In the train guide he spots a place named "Rowland's Castle" and on a whim decides to go there since it is named after him. As he settles in his train compartment, a beautiful young girl dashes into his compartment and asks him to hide her. Just moments later a man comes demanding for the girl. George manages to have the man removed with the help of the porters and guards and the train departs. The girl tells George she can't explain... but this only delights George all the more for this is exactly how the adventure stories in the books go. He promises to help her and do whatever she wants, and she gives him a small parcel to safeguard with his life and to follow a bearded man....

Comparison with Original Novel[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

Except for a few minor changes, the adaptation is quite faithful to the original story.

  • The action all the way to Portsmouth follows the original plot closely.
  • At Portsmouth, George follows the man with the beard (his name Mardenberg is not used in the show) out onto the streets at night. But here, it is not a non-event. Some things do happen:
    • At a fish and chips stand, George sees someone slip a piece of paper into the bearded man's coat pocket.
    • Next, the bearded man goes to the harbourfront where he signals with a torch to someone offshore (who is probably on a ship of some sort). There are answering signals.
  • The segment where George sets an alarm, follows the bearded man to the bathroom and watches him hiding the paper is accurately depicted. George then takes the paper and slips it into his pocket.
  • In the morning, the maid knocks loudly at the bearded man's door and then tells George there is no answer. George offers to climb out onto the ledge from his room and then into the bearded man's room. There is a bit of a continuity error here because George is shown going slightly downwards to reach the room whereas the two rooms should be on the same level.
  • Inside the bearded man's room, George is not set upon by Jarrold who is hiding in the wardrobe as in the original story. Instead George hears muffled voices and he finds Jarrold tied up and gagged inside a wardrobe. George releases him and then tells him the whole story.
  • George goes back to his room to fetch the bearded man's paper and finds that his room has been ransacked. Probably by the bearded man or his accomplice who are trying to find the paper. Still George manages to produce the paper--it had been in his pyjamas pocket all along!
  • On the way back to London, George doesn't encounter Elizabeth by chance. She meets him at Portsmouth Harbour Station. She tells him she heard Sturm and Prince Karl declaring that they found George at Portsmouth but that he denied all knowledge of the Grand Duchess. Elizabeth then travelled to Portsmouth to look for George and to explain.
  • As the train is about to leave the station, Jarrold shows to tell George the police had been successful. He introduces Betty Brighteyes, who is handcuffed to him. She looks like the maid in the hotel. This makes sense since she would have access to George's room to ransack it. Also she had turned up to clean the bathroom just after the bearded man left--presumably to retrieve the paper. The bearded man is also shown, handcuffed to a constable.
  • George doesn't examine Elizabeth's hand for a wedding ring. He doesn't propose or discuss marriage in this adaptation but it is implied: the show ends with them kissing.
The girl in the traain


Research notes[]

  • Flowers - there is a running gag in the show which is not present in the original story. After losing his job, a flower seller gives him some white heather. George believes this will bring him good luck. At Portsmouth, a cab driver tells him it's erica vagans and laughs. George is puzzled. Later, Prince Karl and Sturm manage to track George down by mentioning the white flower to the cabbie. At the end of the show, George tells Elizabeth he is puzzled that a cabbie would know the latin name for white heather, erica vagans. Elizabeth tells him it is not white heather but "pale mauve" which in latin is erica vagans. Still, George thinks it is very, very lucky.