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Mrs. McGinty's Dead [Paperback]

Agatha Christie
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2002 Poirot

The new-look series of Hercule Poirot books for the 21st century.

Mrs McGinty died from a brutal blow to the back of her head. Suspicion fell immediately on her shifty lodger, James Bentley, whose clothes revealed traces of the victim's blood and hair. Yet something was amiss: Bentley just didn't look like a murderer.

Poirot believed he could save the man from the gallows – what he didn't realise was that his own life was now in great danger…

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'So simple, so economical, so completely baffling. Every clue scrupulously given, with superb sleight of hand.' Sunday Times 'The plot is perfect and the characters are wonderful.' San Francisco Chronicle 'The best Poirot since such pre-war classics as Cards on the Table.' New York Times

From the Back Cover

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 text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hercule Poirot has been enjoying his retirement. His main concern of each day is planning the menu for his next meal - it is a pity that one can only truly enjoy three meals a day! His old friend Inspector Spence asks him to look into a case for him. Mrs. McGinty, a charwoman in a small village was brutally murdered. Spence has already caught the murderer, (the woman's lodger) a jury has found him guilty and the date for the execution has been set. The only problem is that the good inspector has doubts.
Poirot agrees to look into the matter and sets off for the village of Broadhinny, where the crime took place. He takes up residence in the only available lodging in town, a very disorganized bed and breakfast, suffering dreadfully from the terrible accomodations and worse meals and begins working on the case. While there Poirot mets an old friend, Ariadne Oliver, famous mystery novelist who was in Broadhinny working on a stage adaption of her work. In the end of course, Poirot solves the crime and sees that justice is served.
The mystery here is a recurring theme of Christie's, an old crime that has resurfaced years later and requiring many old secrets to be revealed. The only problem with this particular novel is that it is quite complicated with many characters and their stories that tend to become a bit difficult to keep straight. On the plus side we are treated to yet another visit with Ariadne Oliver, always a delight. We are also introduced to the Summerhayes family, a wonderfully disorganized group that really diserve their own book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too complex, maybe� April 22 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Death comes to the town of Broadhinny. On November 22, Mrs. McGinthy, a widow of sixty-four who worked in various village houses as a daily domestic, is found murdered, knocked in the back of the head, in her cottage parlour. Her bedroom has been ransacked, the floorboards pried up. Police find her savings, thirty pounds' worth, hidden under a stone behind the house. Suspicion falls immediately on her boarder, the "sometimes cringing and sometimes truculent" James Bently. But Superintendent Spence is not sure James did it, so he calls his dearest friend Hercule Poirot to help.
Mrs. McGinthy's Dead is a very complex story. Maybe a bit too complex to be good. The story evolves on a high pace, but in my opinion the outcome is one of the most disputable of Agatha's long and successful career. What seems to be a clear case at first, becomes a hodgepodge of intrigues and secrets. Finally, just a few pages before the end, a certain vital clue is discovered. Without this clue, it is truly impossible to find the murderer - unless your first name is Sherlock, of course. So "fairness" is not directly a word I would associate with this book. "It had not been an interesting murder," the Belgian sleuth things to himself at a certain point, but it gave me a nasty headache to find out what really happened. Next time I will read something lighter, I guess.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review Dec 5 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
James Bentley was condemned to death for the murder of his landlady, elderly charwoman Mrs. McGinty (whose Christian name, by the way, we never learn), bludgeoned to death in her cottage at a time when Bentley claimed to be out walking´¿yet why was blood found on his coat-sleeve, and why was Mrs. McGinty´¿s money found buried in the garden? Superintendent Spence, who arrested Bentley, does not feel that Bentley was guilty, and turns to Hercule Poirot for help. Poirot, aged and bored, jumps at Supt. Spence´¿s request for help, and travels to the village of Broadhinny (one of Christie´¿s few working-class backgrounds), going as himself, ´¿pretending that [he] know[s] a great deal ´¿ [is] not satisfied about the verdict in the McGinty case ´¿ [has] a very shrewd suspicion of what really happened [for] there is a circumstance that [he], alone, estimate[s] at its true value´¿ And then, having made [his] effect, [he shall] observe the reactions. For there should be reactions.´¿ Unfortunately, the most immediate reaction is that he is nearly pushed underneath a train´¿one of the few cases in Christie, outside of the execrable The Big Four, where Poirot himself is endangered. And to what avail? For Poirot, like the reader, has no sympathy for Bentley, ´¿a pathological case if ever there was one, a self-centred creature who had never thought much of anyone but himself. A man ungrateful for the efforts that were being made to save him´¿almost, one might say, uninterested in them.´¿ Coupled with this unprepossessing suspect, Poirot also has to stay at an amusingly bad guesthouse, where he suffers ´¿the cooking of Mme. Summerhayes ´¿ [which] is not cooking at all. Read more ›
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