A to Z Blogging Challenge — ” G ” — Mrs McGinty’s Dead by Agatha Christie

A middle aged cleaning lady is killed in a small English village. The woman’s lodger is suspected and arrested for the crime. The motive for the crime seems to be the two hundred pounds that the woman kept under a loose floorboard and that the lodger, James Bentley knew about. Superintendent Spence, officer in charge of the case is not satisfied. He seeks expert consultation: he goes to Hercule Poirot.

Even though it is several months since the murder took place, Hercule Poirot in his expert way manages to trace the dead woman’s actions in the last few days preceding her murder. In doing so, he manages to uncover uncomfortable secrets in the past of several of the residents of Brodhinny. As the murky depths of their past lives are stirred, more than one of them seem to have a motive for killing Mrs. McGinty.

Hercule Poirot further discovers that one or more of this cast of characters has a connection with some widely publicized murder trials in the past. As Poirot is following the thread of possible blackmail in connection with these past crimes, another old lady is murdered. This time it is one of the women who employed Mrs. McGinty. As can be expected of him, Poirot makes astute observations and asks pertinent questions ultimately succeeding in unmasking the killer.

As in most other Agatha Christie novels, human reactions and responses to various events run throughout the book. Through Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie manages to put forth admirable psychological analyses of the various characters, their motives and actions. Look at this example

‘Hercule Poirot had heard many people say the much same thing. It was one of the most convenient assumptions, this knowledge of what the dead would wish. The bereaved had never any doubt about their dear ones’ wishes and those wishes usually squared with their own inclinations.’

Although not occurring in a grand old country mansion, this novel can be classified as part of the Country House Mystery Genre. As in this genre, this novel has a limited cast of characters all of which interact with each other in a small village during a given time period.

Agatha Christie uses one of her favourite motifs in this novel – reference to a nursery rhyme. The rhyme in question is:

“Mrs. McGinty’s dead. How did she die?            

Down on her knees just like I.

Mrs. McGinty’s dead. How did she die?

Holding her hand out just like I.

Mrs. McGinty’s dead. How did she die?

Like this……”

Mrs. Ariadne Oliver makes an appearance in this book. She is a crime fiction author who sometimes takes Poirot’s help / assists him in solving cases.

Featured image courtesy Google

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