Tuesday, June 02, 2020


Title: Mrs McGinty's Dead
Author: Agatha Christie
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 240
My GoodReads Rating: 

I’ve always considered Hercule Poirot’s lines to be worthy of compilation into a separate book of their own. They have so much charm.

In this book, we are back with the great Belgian detective. The Cast of Characters section informs those who have never had the pleasure of meeting Poirot that there are only two things in life he took seriously: the study of crime and his stomach.

When Poirot first comes to know of the murder of the widow, Mrs McGinty, an elderly small-time charwoman, he thinks it had not been an interesting murder.

Mrs McGinty had been cleaning at the homes of nearly all the large houses in the village. The weapon used to bash her head in is never found, but the 30 pounds that she had hidden beneath the floorboards in her house leads the police to suspect her paying guest, James Bentley who is sentenced to death.

But the superintendent is unconvinced of Bentley’s guilt, even though all clues point that way. He requests Poirot to take on the case, and either confirm or disprove Bentley’s guilt.

When he first makes the claim that he is closing in on the culprit, it appears to be an egotistical claim. But then we see how he closes in on the culprit. Drawing them all out together for the final denouement, he begins by suspecting them all one by one, and they are all certainly worthy of suspicion. In true Christie style, everyone has something to hide.

I like the way we find ourselves suspecting every character but the right one. How Christie makes the real killer hide in plain sight.

One line from the book that stood out for me:

Authors were shy, unsociable creatures, atoning for their lack of social aptitude by inventing their own companions and conversations.

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