Today I’m reviewing my most recent read, Mrs. McGinty’s Dead by Agatha Christie. Mrs. McGinty’s Dead features Hercule Poirot.
Mrs. McGinty died from a brutal blow to the back of her head. Suspicion falls immediately on her shifty lodger, James Bentley, whose clothes reveal traces of the victim’s blood and hair. Yet something is amiss: Bentley just doesn’t seem like a murderer.
Could the answer lie in an article clipped from a newspaper two days before the death? With a desperate killer still free, Hercule Poirot will have to stay alive long enough to find out. . .
This is one of my favourite types of Poirot novels because it takes place in a relatively isolated area and everyone is a suspect.
Mrs. McGinty’s Dead takes place in a small village called Broadhinny that has very few inhabitants. The village itself isn’t very exciting and the idea of a murder happening there is almost unthinkable. I thought that Broadhinny was a great setting for this story because it was such a small village and it was clear that the village and the villagers had its secrets.
While in Broadhinny, Poirot stays at Long Meadows. I loved the descriptions of the chaos that was Long Meadows and how full of life it was.
The star of the book is Hercule Poirot, but it also features a familiar face Ariadne Oliver. Ariadne Oliver is a mystery novelist who first appears in Cards on the Table. Mrs. Oliver is a fun character and I especially enjoyed the chapters told from her perspective.
As far as Poirot goes, he seemed a bit flat in this one. He’s still the same quirky Belgian detective and he’s still incredibly clever, but it’s clear he’s also winding down.
I also enjoyed Superintendent Spence in this novel. This is the investigator who asks Poirot to get involved with the case. A lot of times in Poirot novels the police aren’t very helpful or appreciative of his talents, but Spence knows how brilliant Poirot is.
As far as the rest of the characters in this book go, they all kind of blended together and they weren’t very memorable. There were times where I would have to go back and reread a paragraph or two because I lost track of who was who.
While I enjoyed the mystery in this book, I did find that it went around in circles. There were a lot of clues and they all seemed to come back to figuring out the significance of a newspaper clipping that Mrs. McGinty had saved a few days before she died. It was clear that most people in the village were hiding something, the question was who was hiding the fact that they were a murderer?
I don’t want to spoil anything about the mystery, but I will say that I appreciate how significant a single comment in a conversation was to helping Poirot piece everything together.
Overall, this was an enjoyable mystery. There wasn’t very much about it that made is special, but as a fan of Poirot, this was a perfect weekend read.