March 8, 2021

Book Review: Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie

Murder in Mesopotamia
(Hercule Poirot #14)

by Agatha Christie

Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Detective, Thriller, Murder Mystery, British Literature
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (HarperCollins)
Length: 288 pages
Published: December 2001 (originally published July 6, 1936)
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Official Book Summary:

"Suspicious events at a Middle Eastern archaeological excavation site intrigue the great Hercule Poirot as he investigates Murder in Mesopotamia, a classic murder mystery from Agatha Christie.

Amy Leatheram has never felt the lure of the mysterious East, but when she travels to an ancient site deep in the Iraqi desert to nurse the wife of a celebrated archaeologist, events prove stranger than she could ever have imagined. Her patient's bizarre visions and nervous terror seem unfounded, but as the oppressive tension in the air thickens, events come to a terrible climax--in murder.

With one spot of blood as his only clue, Hercule Poirot must embark on a journey not just across the desert, but into the darkest crevices of the human soul to unravel a mystery which taxes even his remarkable powers"


“I'm not often bored,' I assured her. "Life's not long enough for that.”


"I suppose I ought to say a word or two about myself. I’m thirty-two and my name is Amy Leatheran. I took my training at St. Christopher’s and after that did two years maternity. I did a certain amount of private work and I was for four years at Miss Bendix’s Nursing Home in Devonshire Place. I came out to Iraq with a Mrs. Kelsey. I’d attended her when her baby was born. She was coming out to Baghdad with her husband and had already got a children’s nurse booked who had been for some years with friends of hers out there. Their children were coming home and going to school, and the nurse had agreed to go to Mrs. Kelsey when they left. Mrs. Kelsey was delicate and nervous about the journey out with so young a child, so Major Kelsey arranged that I should come out with her and look after her and the baby. They would pay my passage home unless we found someone needing a nurse for the return journey.

Well, there is no need to describe the Kelseys—the baby was a little love and Mrs. Kelsey quite nice, though rather the fretting kind. I enjoyed the voyage very much. I’d never been a long trip on the sea before."

My Book Review:

Nurse Amy Leatheran is hired by an archeologist to attend to his wife, Louise Leidner, who is becoming increasingly paranoid, seeing faces at windows, and believes she's going to be murdered. When she's found dead and only the members of the archeological dig are suspects, Hercule Poirot pieces together the clues to solve this variation on the locked room mystery tradition.

My jaw literally dropped when the truths behind the mystery were revealed.

Over the last several years, I've been working my way through the Hercule Poirot series. It's commonly known which are the most famous installments in the series--The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, etc.--but I absolutely love it when I come across a new favorite that I hadn't anticipated.

Fans of Agatha Christie likely know that her marriage to her second husband welcomed a new period of adventures abroad into her life, including a lot of time spent on location at archaeological digs in the Middle East. Christie's first-hand experience with areas like Baghdad allows her to add so much to the setting of this novel, creating a strong sense of mood and place just as strong as her celebrated tales set in the English countryside.

If you're a fan of Christie or murder mysteries in general, I definitely recommend reading Murder in Mesopotamia. The Hercule Poirot series can be enjoyed by anyone and you do not have to read them in order to appreciate their plots.

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