Hercule Poirot is feeling bored, so he is delighted when he is visited by his old friend Superintendent Spence of the Kilchester Police. Spence has recently been in charge of murder case, an old charwoman, Mrs McGinty, has been brutally bludgeoned to death. Her lodger, James Bentley, has been convicted of her murder and is due to hang. But Spence is convinced Bentley didn't do it, and he wants Poirot to find out who did.
So Poirot goes to stay in the village of Broadhinny, where the grizzly deed was done, and he soon begins to uncover reasons why other people might have wanted Mrs McGinty dead. While striving to discover the real murderer, he also has to cope with the appalling conditions at the truly terrible 'guest house' he is staying at. The Summerhayes, whose house it is, have no idea how to run a guest house, nor even how to prepare an edible meal.
The scenes where Poirot's sufferings at the Summerhayes's horrible guest house are described are among the funniest in the book, which is replete with humour. There are many interesting characters, especially the scatty but charming Maureen Summerhayes, whom Poirot likes in spite of her atrocious cooking. The character of the convicted murderer Jame Bentley is particularly good, he is utterly unprepossesing, which makes Poirot all the more determined to prove him innocent.
The best exchange in this very entertaining book comes near the end:' "Bon Dieu, how stupid I have been" said Hercule Poirot. "The whole thing is simple, is it not?" It was after that remark that there was very nearly another murder - the murder of Hercule Poirot by Superintendent Spence'. Enjoy it.