Murder In Mesopotamia

Agatha Christie CollectionTitle: Murder In Mesopotamia
Author: Agatha Christie
Publication Year: 1936
Pages: 213
Genre: Mystery
Count for Year: 46

How I discovered

I have joined Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise with her Agatha Christie Reading Challenge and this is part of that. Also this last week was Agatha Christie Week, which coincides with a celebration of Agatha Christie’s birthday, Sept. 15, 1890, and for that, my goal was to read a novel per day and posting a review here. I did read this one last week, along with four others: The Boomerang Clue, Murder in Three Acts, Death In The Air and The A.B.C. Murders.

The setup

Miss Amy Leatheran tells the tale of an archaeological expedition in Iraq, where she served as a nurse and a murder was committed. Just happening by the next day is none other than Hercule Poirot. What luck. If anyone can get to the bottom of the crime, it is he.

The review

This is one of Christie’s first mysteries in the Middle East, along with Murder on the Orient Express and in only a couple of books, Death On The Nile. According to Wikipedia:

…descriptive details derive from the author’s visit to the Royal Cemetery at Ur with her husband, Sir Max Mallowan, and other British archaeologists.

Poirot doesn’t arrive in this one until Chapter 13 and Nurse Latheran is not impressed:

I don’t think I shall ever forget the sight of Hercule Poirot. Of course, I got used to him later on, but to begin with, it was a shock, and I think everyone must have felt the same!

I don’t know what I imagined– something rather like Sherlock Holmes — long and lean with a keen, clever face. Of course, I knew he was a foreigner, but I hadn’t expected him to be quite as foreign as he was, if you know what I mean.

When you saw him, you just wanted to laugh! He was like something on the stage or at the pictures. To begin with, he wasn’t above five foot five, I should think– an odd plump little man, quite old with an enormous mustache and a head like an egg. He looked like a hairdresser in a comic play.

And this was the man who was going to find out who killed Mrs. Leidner!

However, she soon learns that this seeming “hairdresser in a comic play” is no joke after he tells her:

But there are some things that are no joke. There are things that my profession has taught me. And one of those things, the most terrible thing is this:

Murder is a habit….

Naturally, this prediction comes true as another murder occurs.

About halfway through the book, maybe less, I knew who the murderer was. Mrs Leidner had a secret, and that past was returning to haunt her in the most unlikely of people. It almost seemed too obvious despite Christie’s red herrings.

For this reason, I give this one a mere 3 out of 5. This is not like Death on the Nile; you don’t have to own a copy of it. Picking it up at the library will suffice.

My rating system:

5- Classic, must read
4- Worth
owning a copy
3- Worth picking up at library
2- Worth skimming at the bookstore
1- Worth being a doorstop

For others reviews of the book:

This post, part of my Midweek Review here, also can be found on my main blog, Just A (Reading) Fool. If you are interested in getting a more complete picture of this unfinished person, you can subscribe to that blog, if you so choose.

3 responses to “Murder In Mesopotamia

  1. Pingback: What I’ve Read So Far For The Agatha Christie Reading Challenge « Unfinished Person

  2. justareadingfool

    Glad you stopped by and left a comment. Sorry, it took me a bit to respond here. Yesterday was a busy day…

    …anyway, her descriptions are pretty amazing, aren’t they? I’ll have to add a mention of They Came To Baghdad.

    Will be glad to have you back…and I’ll be sure to stop by yours here in the next day or two. I’ll leave a comment there too.

  3. Just stumbled on your blog while book blog surfing.

    You must be really quick to figure out who it was. I just did not get it!

    This has to be one of my favorite AC mysteries though, partly because of the descriptions of the place.

    You missed one middle-east book of hers “They Came to Baghdad”. This is one of her adventure novels, not Poirot.

    Good blog, I will definitely be surfing through some other posts of yours 🙂