Publisher: Originally published in the UK by Collins Crime Club, 1936/ Cover on the left is a copy of the original dust jacket
My Rating: B+
Summary: Amy Leatheran is a nurse. She’s just finished a job in Baghdad but, before she can return to London, she secures another position. This time it’s at Tell Yarimjah, an archeological dig outside Bagdad. She’s to help care for Louise Leidner, the wife of the chief archeologist.
Louise Leidner has “fancies” which means she’s afraid of unknown things. She’s also been receiving threatening letters. It’s no surprise when she is the one murdered. It is obvious that the murderer is one on the members of the archeological team. The question is: Which one?
The local police begin their investigation but the police captain invites Hercule Poirot to also help out. (He just happens to be traveling through Baghdad.) Poirot in turn calls upon Nurse Amy to be his assistant. Poirot believes nurses are good observers and so make good witnesses. She’s the one who narrates the story.
My Thoughts: While reading this story I caught Agatha Christie’s fascination with archeology. This was a fairly new world to her. She’d accompanied her new husband, Max Mallowan, to one of the most famous digs in Iraq where he was assistant to the head archeologist. Ms. Christie based her story’s setting on that dig.
Although she was fascinated, she was not a blind observer. She saw all the details and tried to paint a realistic picture of life at the dig and in the area. She told her readers what Baghdad was like by using Nurse Amy. Here is Amy’s opinion of Baghdad, which I think is Agatha’s opinion:
“The dirt and the mess in Baghdad you wouldn’t believe – and not romantic at all like you’d think from the Arabian Nights! Of course, it’s pretty just on the river, but the town itself is just awful – and no proper shops at all.”
Agatha Christie also modeled the murdered victim after a real person on the dig — the wife of the head archeologist. The woman “was a charming, creative. but imperious woman who ruled with an iron hand her husband and all his archeological associates.” (page 123 of Gillian Giles’ Agatha Christie: The Woman and her Mysteries) Because Ms. Christie couldn’t rock the boat against the wife of her husband’s boss, she found another way to get even. I think she had great fun “killing off” the woman – only in print, of course.
Murder In Mesopotamia was a fun story to read. I liked the voice of Amy Leatheran. It was not quite so heavy-handed as some of Ms. Christie’s other narrators. This book won’t fall into my list top Christie reads, but it was still a good mystery.
Here are my challenge statistics: 24 down – 63 to go. I read this book as part of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge. I’m reading all of her books in publication order. For more information on the challenge, visit Kerrie at Mysteries In Paradise.
Check your local library or your local bookstore for copies of this book. Murder in Mesopotamia is also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)