Monday, December 16, 2013

“Mrs. McGinty’s Dead” by Agatha Christie – The Dirt of a Cleaner

Mrs. McGinty’s Dead by Agatha Christie – Front Cover
Throughout her illustrious career Agatha Christie has delivered to us many unforgettable and moving classics in the crime mystery genre, but that happens to be a two-sided coin; though nearly everyone may be familiar with her popular works, her lesser-known efforts are overshadowed, and not for a lack of quality. It seems to me that Mrs. McGinty’s Dead is one of those novels, following Hercule Poirot as he leads an investigation inside a small village into the murder of an elderly cleaning lady who wouldn’t dare hurt a fly. Though the police already have a very fitting suspect with evidence and a motive, Poirot knows that there is something bigger going on behind the scenes, leading him on a thrilling investigative trail where the answers may very well lie in newspaper clippings from a few days ago.

As you can guess, this is a classic Agatha Christie novel, presenting us with a clear and well thought-out mystery which simultaneously provides answers and raises new questions, up until the final climax where Poirot reveals the fruits of his labor. As is usual, the reader has a fair chance at guessing who the criminal is, though I guarantee it won’t exactly be easy, especially those who aren’t used to the murder mystery genre. Though there isn’t really anything ground-breaking that changed the face of literature, this book is top-notch as far as delivering entertainment is concerned.

The story is paced quite evenly with very few useless moments, if any at all. Each character is recognizable and has a certain degree of individuality, even if it is true that many of them have become somewhat clichéd and stereotyped after so many years. The intrigue will keep you guessing and on your toes, especially considering that Christie nailed the atmosphere in this one, making you feel as if anything terrible could be lurking behind the corners of a small and idyllic British town.

Though it isn’t exactly usual for Christie to dwell on social commentary and hidden meanings (she has done so on a few occasions), it feels as if she partially used this book as a vehicle to explore issues of class-based racism and discrimination in Britain. There are numerous instances when we see someone’s social class influence their fate, and one can’t help but feel as if she is taking a stand against such a system, leaning more towards the idea that all humans are really born without a class or a place in hierarchy.

All in all, Mrs. McGinty’s Dead is one of the many overshadowed novels penned by Agatha Christie, being simply magnificent in virtually every aspect, from the mystery itself to the little details and characters populating the world. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a good murder mystery or trying to get better acquainted with Christie’s body of work.

Agatha Christie
(September 15, 1890 – January 12, 1976)

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Agatha Christie is thought of by many as being the grandmother of murder mysteries. Throughout her novels, which include the classics And Then There Were None and Death on the Nile, Christie developed many groundbreaking techniques for her time, most of which are being used in one way or another by modern murder mystery writers.

More of Agatha Christie's book reviews:
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
And Then There Were None

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