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Murder in Mesopotamia

Page history last edited by Jon 12 years, 6 months ago

Christie, Agatha - Murder in Mesopotamia (1936)


Review by Nick Fuller


This highly ingenious crime passionel is, if my memory serves me correctly (and it probably doesn't), the first Agatha Christie novel I ever read; I had discovered the short story collection, Poirot Investigates, a week or so before.


The archaeological Expedition House at Tell Yarimjah is based on Christie's own experiences in Iraq and Syria, and it is clear that, for example, the R. Austin Freeman narrator Nurse Leatheran is Christie herself, that David Emmott is her husband Max Mallowan, and that the American archaeologist Dr. Leidner and his enigmatic Belle Dame Sans Merci wife Louise, bludgeoned to death in her room in what would have been impossible circumstances had it not been for the work routine of a certain character, are modelled on Leonard Woolley and his domineering wife. It is Mrs. Leidner who is responsible for the "queer tension", the atmosphere of sorrow and strained nerves. Having received anonymous letters from the husband she believed to have been executed as a German spy, she fears for her life; Dr. Leidner calls in Nurse Leatheran, who serves as Hercule Poirot's assistant once Mrs. Leidner has been murdered. Poirot's ingenious solution to the crime is purely psychological, but we can see all his reasoning, and it is fair-play.


See also: http://onlydetect.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/agatha-christie-murder-in-mesopotamia-1936/


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