Hercule Poirot finds retirement rather boring, so in Mrs. McGinty’s Dead by Agatha Christie, he is pleased to be visited by Superintendent Spence even though he thinks it is a social call. But then the superintendent asks Poirot for help. A man he had arrested for murder and who had just been convicted just doesn’t feel guilty to Spence. So Spence asks Poirot’s help to investigate in order to set an innocent man free. A major problem is that James Bentley, convicted of murdering the charwoman with whom he lodged, is just a very unpleasant man within a town of “all very pleasant people,” as Poirot refers to those in the town of Broadhinny.
Poirot soon discovers that the murdered woman bought ink the day before her murder in order to write a letter in response to a trashy newspaper’s article about four tragic women. Mrs. McGinty claimed in her letter to have seen the original of one of the photographs from the article, but as the woman who cleaned almost every house in Broadhinny, this does not help much. There are just Poirot’s suspicions that the murder could be related to one of these photographs.
This book has a lot of humor in it, especially compared to other Hercule Poirot books. Many of the characters are especially fun, with my favorite character in the Poirot books, the famous author Ariadne Oliver giving a fun performance. I also loved Mrs. Summerhayes, the owner of the most uncomfortable house where Poirot is boarding. A delightful woman with terrible housekeeping skills, she figures that serving fruit with some mold on it is fine because it’s “almost penicillin” and doesn’t worry about having bled all over the beans because she is just going to boil them anyway.
Hugh Fraser narrates this fun book and does his usual excellent job at reading.
Mrs. McGinty’s Dead is a great book. The plot is well thought out and creative. The humor adds quality to the book and makes it a lot of fun. I give this book five stars!
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