Book Review: Murder In Mesopotamia

Author: Agatha Christie

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.)

This entry was posted in Agatha Christie Challenge, B Plus Book, Cozy Mysteries, Library Challenge, Vintage Mystery. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Book Review: Murder In Mesopotamia

  1. Beth F says:

    I haven’t read this one but it sounds fun, even if it isn’t your very favorite Christie. You’re almost halfway through!

  2. I’m just amazed that you’re not getting tired of her yet!

  3. Gunnar says:

    I think this is one of her best books. I often wish that I was an author and could get even with some persons. There are quite a few politicians ………

  4. TheBookGirl says:

    I’m really impressed with you doing this challenge. Not having read much Agatha Christie, I’m curious if she successfully avoids the trap of “writing the same book” at some point the further you get into the series.

  5. I admire your ambition. I have read some Christie but in no particular order. Do you observe any development or change in her writing style from the earlier books to the later books?

  6. Annie says:

    I don’t read it, but look at it on the TV with David Suchet. I admire too your ambition ! Courage !

  7. Staci says:

    Sounds pretty good and I would like to read about Iraq and archaeology through Christie’s eyes. Excellent review of this one Margot!

  8. Agatha (and Willa too for that matter) sound like just the thing to read when you’re a bit under the weather. And once again I am in total awe of all of you who are reading Agatha in order of publication.

    I wonder what Ms Christie (or her husband) would think of the mess in that part of the world right now!

  9. Nan says:

    Haven’t read this one yet, but I look forward to it after reading your words, Margot! One of my favorite Agatha books is They Came to Bagdad.
    If you want to read what I wrote:
    http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2008/11/book-reportthey-came-to-baghdad.html

  10. Nan says:

    It would have been nice if I’d spelled Baghdad correctly. :<)

  11. Che says:

    I found your blog through the Agatha Christie Carnival. I liked Murder in Mesopotamia when I read it but it was years ago so I don’t remember much of it. Your review has refreshed my memory somewhat.

  12. Pingback: Review: Murder in Mesopotamia, 1936 (Hercule Poirot #12) by Agatha Christie | A Crime is Afoot

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