Thursday, September 13, 2018

Mrs McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie

Some time ago, I was browsing a thread on Unresolved Mysteries when this book was mentioned. Someone said that Christie was inspired by Hawley Harvey Crippen’s case for this book and I decided to check it out. Turns out I can’t find any corroborating evidence for the Christie-inspiration claim, but there is definitely a resemblance.

In Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, Inspector Spence comes to Poirot to ask for his help. An apparently guilty man (whose case Inspector Spence helped build) is about to hang but the good Inspector has his doubts. Since Poirot has nothing better to do, he decides to investigate the death of Mrs. McGinty.

If you’re wondering, the Crippen’s case (or a case remarkably like it) is one of the several sensational crimes that serve as a possible motive for the murder. There are differences, but the whole “husband murders wife, leaves behind corpse and flees with governess-mistress” part is the same (although Christie probably didn’t know that the ‘corpse’ found in Crippen’s house has been identified as male).

Despite the grim inspiration, I found this to be a classic Poirot mystery and lots of fun. The writer Ariadne Oliver appears here and between her muses on authorship and Poirot’s suffering stomach, there is a fair amount of wry humour. The plot also moves along at a good pace and I found that I reached the end of the story in no time at all.

Fans of Christie (like me!) or Golden Age mysteries will definitely enjoy this book! While it isn’t set in Poirot’s usual setting, seeing him try to navigate a small village that doesn’t know him added a new layer of humour to this book.


  1. I really need to get back into my Agatha Christie books. This sounds so good!

    1. It was! I shoul really start on all the Miss Marple ones because I think I'm almost all out of Poirot mysteries :p


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