Mrs McGinty's Dead


First published: 1952


  • Blow to the Head
  • Strangling

A Hercule Poirot and Ariadne Oliver story


Mrs McGinty's Dead

Mrs McGinty's Dead

‘Mrs McGinty’s dead!’ ‘How did she die?’ ‘Down on one knee, just like I!’ The old children’s game now seemed rather tasteless. The real Mrs McGinty was killed by a crushing blow to the back of the head and her pitifully small savings were stolen. Suspicion falls immediately on her lodger, hard up and out of a job. Hercule Poirot has other ideas – unaware that his own life is now in great danger.

Authors were shy, unsociable creatures, atoning for their lack of social aptitude by inventing their own companions and conversations.

Agatha Christie, Mrs McGinty's Dead

More about this story

Disillusioned with the nature of “senseless cruel brutality” Poirot initially takes no interest in the case of Mrs McGinty, apparently murdered by her lodger for the measly sum of thirty pounds. But the police suspect something is amiss and call on Poirot to discover just what. When it first appeared in a US magazine in 1951, it was under the title Blood Will Tell. It was published as a novel in 1952.

In 1964, MGM adapted the story into the film Murder Most Foul, the third film to star Margaret Rutherford as Marple (here replacing the character of Poirot entirely), directed by George Pollock. In this version Miss Marple is a juror at the trial and is the only one to believe the young lodger’s innocence. Agatha Christie did not approve of this series of films, specifically Margaret Rutherford’s portrayal of Marple. The 2007 the TV adaptation with David Suchet was more faithful to the original story, and saw Zoë Wanamaker returning to the character of Ariadne Oliver. The story was also dramatised for BBC Radio 4 in 2006.

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