Mrs McGinty’s Dead (Hercule Poirot #30) by Agatha Christie #ClassicCrime @HarperCollins #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Agatha Christie

Performed by Hugh Fraser

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Released on Audible November 2006

Category: Murder, Mystery, Classic Crime, Audiobook, Review

Mrs. McGinty is dead and everyone suspects James Bentley, her slightly shifty lodger, but Superintendent Spence is suspicious enough to ask for Hercule Poirot’s assistance. Soon, the seemingly simple situation turns into a complex web of lies and hidden identities. 

I couldn’t resist this when it came up on Audible. One of my favourite Agatha Christie stories, despite the lack of Captain Hastings, but compensated by a superb narration and comic timing from Hugh Fraser. There’s chances of a few more finding their way into my Audible library.

Mrs McGinty is dead. The question is by whose hand. Who would want to harm the local charwoman who, although she kept herself to herself, was somewhat of a busy body. Superintendent Spence is concerned the man now facing the death penalty may not be the true culprit. James Bentley was Mrs McGinty’s lodger, the only suspect and all the evidence pointed towards him. Due to retire in six months and already with a new case to investigate, Spence didn’t want to be responsible for an innocent man, if that’s what he was, going to the gallows. He asked for Hercule Poirot’s help. Only too happy to be of service, with too much leisure time breeding boredom in his own retirement, Poirot agrees.

So, once again Hercule Poirot is on the case, taking himself off to the village of Broadhinny where Mrs McGinty lived, to begin his investigation.

‘I don’t know what you’ll go there as,’ continued Spence doubtfully as he eyed Poirot. ‘You might be some kind of an opera singer. Voice broken down. Got to rest. That might do.’

‘I shall go,’ said Hercule Poirot, speaking with accents of royal blood, ‘as myself.’

Spence received this pronouncement with pursed lips. ‘D’you think that’s advisable?’

The best aspects of this story are the characters, their interactions and the humour. The plot is almost secondary. Agatha Christie seemed to be having fun at Poirot’s expense with this book. He is not a lover of the country, yet he finds himself in a small village, staying in a less than salubrious guest house run by the scatty Maureen Summerhayes. The food is dreadful, the house cold and draughty and the comfort nothing like he is used to.

Hercule Poirot closed his eyes in agony. ‘If I suffer, I suffer,’ he said. ‘It has to be.’

The cast of colourful and eccentric characters is quite large and includes the fabulously hilarious Ariadne Oliver, also in the village to consult with a playwright who is adapting one of her books for the stage, while bemoaning her own depiction of the main character. She and Poirot meet on the road as Mrs Oliver is driving into the village in a car that’s quite a tight fit.

Murmuring in an explanatory voice, “Stiff after the long drive,” Mrs. Oliver suddenly arrived out on the road, rather in the manner of a volcanic eruption.

Mrs Oliver is determined to help Poirot solve the case and introduces him to the locals. It’s fun to see Poirot completely out of his comfort zone and among people who, to his dismay, have no idea who he is.

The clues centre around a newspaper article found at Mrs Mrs McGinty’s, something the police missed first time round, about four women who were involved in sensational murder cases a couple of decades previously. What follows is a classic Poirot investigation, with several options for the murderer and much misdirection with false clues, until finally the light dawns and all the loose ends are tied up.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US | Hive

About the Author

Born in Torquay in 1890, Agatha Christie began writing during the First World War and wrote over 100 novels, plays and short story collections. She was still writing to great acclaim until her death, and her books have now sold over a billion copies in English and another billion in over 100 foreign languages. Yet Agatha Christie was always a very private person, and though Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple became household names, the Queen of Crime was a complete enigma to all but her closest friends.

5 thoughts on “Mrs McGinty’s Dead (Hercule Poirot #30) by Agatha Christie #ClassicCrime @HarperCollins #TuesdayBookBlog

  1. Oh, I just listened to this one recently too and should be reviewing it next week hopefully – isn’t it a fun one? I love Ariadne Oliver – she’s one of my favourite Christie characters, and I love how she gets used to poke fun at the great Poirot. These Hugh Fraser narrations are too tempting – I’m currently listening to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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