Nurse Amy Leatheran was staying in Iraq which was relatively peaceful at the time for the simple reason that the great fighter for democracy George W Bush had not been born yet A local doctor offered her a position to take care of a wife of an archeologist Dr Leidner at a dig site Before even coming to the place the nurse heard about uneasiness and strained relationship between the members of the party When she finally came she realized it is even worse as there was sense of impending doom in the air The atmosphere of the place was outright Gothic with yellow distorted faces appearing in windows at night, somebody messing up in the artifact room spooking people, etc Quite soon a dead body appeared The preliminary investigation revealed that every member of the expedition could commit the crime but also nobody at all could it is complicated, as expected from an Agatha Christie story Fortunately Hercule Poirot was passing nearby in his travels and obviously he could not refuse to investigate a nice juicy mystery The mystery was great and fairly complicated, the atmosphere before the murder was even greater Speaking about the characters they were interesting enough I still cannot make up my mind whether to feel pity for the victim, or whether to consider that she deserved her fate she was a complex character which could not be said to be either all good, or all bad In other words, she was well written Nurse Amy Leatheran who was a narrator made an adequate substitute for Hastings she even had similar mental abilities, in other words she was not in danger of getting a Nobel Prize in science She was a stereotypical no nonsense British lady of the kind often found in Agatha Christie s books in my understanding it was a recurring satirical description Poirot was great as usual Even though he was not in a rush to appear the tale before he came was interesting enough so I did not miss him much I pains me to say that somebody else arrived at the solution before him and Poirot came to the truth only because he knew somebody else solved the mystery before him, in other words it was solvable Whatever happened to the grey cells Yes, dear Poirot, you must indeed This is the only reason I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 One additional nitpick both the way the crime was committed and the villain were so unusual that they stuck in my memory after the first read, so some wow factor was missing during the reread This is both praise and criticism, by the way If you have not read the book before, it is one of the best Poirot s mysteries Not the best one, but quite close to the top P.S I seems to cannot shut up One interesting fact in the end of the book it was mentioned that Poirot took a train an Oriental Express and encountered yet another murder According to the latest numbering of the series this is book 14 and Murder on the Orient Express is book 10 the chronology is messed up for these two. Agatha Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan in 1930 she was 40, he was only 26 Go Agatha and thereafter spent months at a time every year with the exception of some years during WWII in the Middle East on digs She wrote many of her novels in a small mud closet with only a card table to hold her typewriter and a wooden chair to sit on The locals actually considered her very extravagant for this She also helped clean, sketch and photograph the artifacts they uncovered As she had used her knowledge gained from working in a dispensary during WWI to write very clever murders done by poisoning, she now used her experience in Iraq to write a character study of the interplay of personalities on an archaeological dig The characters of Dr Eric Leidner and his wife Louise were based on people Christie knew in real life, famous archaeologist Leonard Woolley and his wife Katherine Max Mallowan worked under Woolley for several years The mystery is, as usual, brilliant but simple and pretty much staring you in the face Her ability to make the reader disregard the obvious is what makes Christie a master. One of the intriguing books I read last year was The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford Ashford details a trip taken by Agatha Christie on the famed Orient Express in 1928 when she attempted to escape from a bad marriage Christie s time in Baghdad and surrounding areas was a positive one, so much so that she used the region as the setting for a few of her crime cases I decided to make Murder in Mesopotamia featuring Hercule Poirot my first Christie read of this calendar year to see how much of an influence the region had on her writing.Nurse Amy Leatheran is approached by a Dr Leidner to care for his wife Louise on site at his archeological dig in Mesopotamia In a biblical region overlooking the Tigris River, Dr Leidner have unearthed thousands of years of pottery and other relics each season they undertake a dig Over the past ten years, his team has grown to enjoy a close comradery and the atmosphere feels like family The mood has changed on the current dig from the presence of the new Mrs Louise Leidner A charming woman who has won over everyone on the excavation team, Mrs Leidner maintains an almost impenetrable aura, that is until a person gets to know her and finds her to be nervy and demanding While the dig still holds a family atmosphere, Mrs Leidner s presence has everyone on edge.Fifteen years prior, Mrs Leidner had been married briefly to a Frederik Bosner, until she discovered that he had been a spy for the German government Pulling strings, she had him sentenced to death, until he escaped only to die in a train crash All appeared to be rosy for Mrs Leidner until the long assumed dead Frederik Bosner wrote her a series of letters encouraging her not to remarry She stood to inherit a large sum, only if she never remarried and only if she had children This reentry of Bosner into her life has made Mrs Leidner edgy, nervy, and in need of constant female companionship While a body guard may have seemed appropriate, Dr Leidner hires Amy Leatheran to care for his wife Mrs Leidner appears to be settling down in the nurse s care that is until Leatheran discovers her murdered in her room one night The entire dig is on edge again, thinking that they could be next Suddenly, no one feels safe.In true Christie fashion, Hercule Poirot happened to be vacationing in Baghdad at the time He is summoned to the dig site to unravel the mystery by using his gray cells to deduct the truth As in many of Christie s cases featuring the Belgian sleuth, he gathers the entire cast of characters in one room in an attempt to rule out suspects Using Leatheran as his sidekick, Poirot gathers information that baffles the local authorities While the Iraqi police are left shaking their heads, another woman is found murdered in her room Poirot exclaims to Leatheran that murder is a habit and perhaps not everyone on the dig site is who they seem Continuing to use his deductive reasoning skills, Poirot unravels the identity of both the murderer and mysterious letter writer.Amy Leatheran is meant to be Christie as she was a nurse during the first war before becoming the queen of crime, and she spent time in Baghdad to recover from a difficult first marriage While in Baghdad, Christie met her future second husband Max Mallowan and also formulating multiple crime cases to be set in the region Upon wrapping up the case, Leatheran notes that Poirot returned home to England aboard the famed Orient Express and was asked to solve another murder there While it is not a the level of Orient Express, Murder in Mesopotamia was an entertaining mystery to kick off my reading of Dame Christie for this year As I read many mysteries as palette cleansers and Christie is one of my go to authors, suffice to say this will not be my last of her cases.3.75 stars This fabulous mystery by Agatha Christie has long been a favorite of mine It outshines many of her other mysteries due to some wonderful atmosphere and a very likable heroine in Amy Leatheren Hercule Poirot, though a major force in solving the mystery, almost plays second fiddle at certain points in this most entertaining murder mystery.Murder in Mesopotamia is an adventure set in an exotic land where a murder occurs The first half of the book almost has the feel of an M.M Kaye mystery Though Christie was never in the same class as Kaye in imbuing romance to a time and place, there is certainly atmosphere to spare in this one Only when Hercule Poirot is introduced into the story do we see classic elements of mystery fiction brought to the forefront.Amy Leatheren is a young nurse asked to accompany an archaeological expedition to the Middle East Her job is to look after Louise Leidner, the wife of the man heading the dig Louise is a beautiful but frightened woman capable of both sweetness and offhand cruelty Of what she is frightened is somewhat vague, but may be connected to tensions on the dig on the surface all is friendly and familiar, but a dangerous unrest lies just beneath the surface.Amy discovers answers to her questions too late to prevent a particularly brutal murder This is when Christie s famous detective, Hercule Poirot, steps in to solve a most baffling puzzle of how the murder occurred Amy has been asked to put on pen and paper her account of the events which transpired, and this is her narrative Soon she is acting as Poirot s helper and, to her delight and embarrassment, having the time of her life The detective and his new assistant will uncover secret relationships and secret identities, and before too long, another murder occurs.Christie creates wonderful atmosphere here, from the Tigris Palace Hotel in Baghdad to Tell Yarimjah Whether describing her cast of players, or bazaars where people from various nationalities and backgrounds gather for tea and scones overlooking the ruins, she makes the archaeological expedition come alive Beneath the delicate impressions of her pen you can feel the passion of those on the dig, as they attempt to discover the Assyrian city close to Hassanieh And they can see in the actions of the beautiful Louise, that she is almost begging to be murdered, while oblivious to the danger.While the solution is wildly intricate and implausible, the presence of Hercule Poirot, a fun and likable heroine in Amy Leatheren, and tons of atmosphere make for a nice mystery read A delightfully old fashioned mystery fans of the genre will relish. Choose Your Own Adventure You are Nurse Leatheran and you are surrounded by the mud of Iraq Ugh So very muddy and dirty and ugly and really not very scenic at all The Americans and British around you are mainly bitches and prats The constant native chanting rattles your nerves All of those pots being excavated at the archaeological dig site fail to interest you Only your charge, the lovely Louise Leidner, impresses you Despite being a real trouble magnet, she s quite a take charge sort of woman It s too bad no one else seems to enjoy her, except for her amiable husband no doubt a cuckold Poor Louise recipient of some very nasty notes and some very nasty looks and, worst of all, a very nasty blow to the head But Dr Poirot has entered the operating theater and you find you enjoy your new role as his surgical assistant But whoever could kill such a fascinating woman And whatever can a priggish, judgmental, vaguely racist, and rather misogynist nurse like yourself do to help solve such a mystery If you decide that modern Africa is for bitches and prats, and you d rather take a voyage back in time, choosehttps www.goodreads.com review showIf you decide that modern Africa is best experienced as a voyage on a lovely boat with some lovely people, choosehttps www.goodreads.com review show I ve waited virtually 24 hours to write a review for this book as it was quite difficult Yes it was a slightly different perspective style to most of the other Poirot s I ve read, but it was still recognisably a Christie and a Poirot.It was well written, with great characters, a wonderful location setting and the usual build up of tension towards Poirot s denouement and at this point it was still a very solid 4 stars, however this is where it all seemed to go bit wrong Ok the way the view spoiler first murder was carried out is a tad far fetched, but what really got me was who the murder turned out to be What It was her ex husband who she had re married without recognising him, Again what I m sorry Agatha, but did you have an off day, up until that point, it was as excellent as all the Poirot s so far hide spoiler Murder in Mesopotamia Hercule Poirot Series 14 , 1936, Agatha ChristieMurder in Mesopotamia is a work of detective fiction by British writer Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 6 July 1936 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year.Nurse Amy Leatheran arrives at an archaeological dig near Hassanieh, Iraq, to assist the Swedish American archaeologist, Dr Eric Leidner, in caring for his wife Louise During her initial days, Amy learns that Louise was married before to a German named Frederick Bosner Fifteen years ago, during the Great War, Bosner was arrested for being a spy within the US State Department, and sentenced to death he escaped his sentence, but died later in a train crash Louise reveals that Bosner had a younger brother in law, and that she received letters from him whenever she became attracted to other men these stopped when she married Leidner three years ago, until recently A week later, Louise is found dead in the bedroom of a house near her husband s dig site that the couple are using She had been struck on the head with a large blunt object, per Dr Giles Reilly s examination of the body The initial investigation by the police, led by Captain Maitland, is unable to find the murder weapon, yet he assumes the murder was committed by someone on the dig Reilly learns that his friend Hercule Poirot is travelling in Iraq, and so contacts him for help When Poirot arrives, he notes that the bedroom has only one point of entry, that the only window in the room was shut and barred, and that a rug near a washstand has blood on it Anne Johnson, a colleague of Leidner, claims she heard a cry, yet is unsure about it Reilly s daughter Sheila remarks that the victim had the attention of every man, yet no obvious subject emerges from among the team Poirot takes interest in the story Louise told Nurse Leatheran about her first husband he wonders if Bosner or his brother in law are among the team Poirot is also intrigued to find that the letters Louise received were in her handwriting 1999 1377 304 9646350119 20 1379 211 16 11 9645750059. When Nurse Amy Leatheran Agrees To Look After American Archaeologist Dr Leidner S Wife Louise At A Dig Near Hassanieh She Finds Herself Taking On Than Just Nursing Duties She Also Has To Help Solve Murders Fortunately For Amy, Hercule Poirot Is Visiting The Excavation Site But Will The Great Detective Be In Time To Prevent A Multiple Murderer From Striking Again In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate Poirot recites this Islamic blessing for journies, as we are on a journey to find the name of a killer I joke, mademoiselle, he said, and I laugh But there are some things that are no joke There are things that my profession has taught me And one of these things, the most terrible thing, is this murder is a habit Poirot.Christie s Middle East Ghost StoryDame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, married archaeologist Max Mallowan in 1930 and became Lady Mallowan They met on a dig and this is Christie s first only mystery set on the site of a dig, at Hassanieh, Iraq, though the setting isn t that significant, nor the culture though a few characters are racist, as usual But things were going pretty well for the auld Dame in those days In 1936 alone she produced three Poirot books This one features another closed set murder, narrated by nurse Amy Leatheran, who was asked to document the story by another member of the company, Dr Reilly She says, I m not a writer, it s not going to be literary, but as it is the first female narrator, Nurse Amy helps anticipate the charm of her Miss Marple mysteries.The lead archaeologist of the expedition is the world renowned Dr Leidner, accompanied by his charming and vivacious wife, Lovely Louise But she seems nervous She hears noises, has seen a hand outside her window She can t sleep She has received anonymous letters threatening her with death if she remarries Who wrote them Is it indeed her ex, who is maybe not really dead Is it someone in the expedition Did she write them herself Is she nuts Are we Then she is killed sorry for that smallish spoiler and Poirot just happens to be passing through to lend a hand with the investigation, with the assistance of the nurse Leidner initially claims no one could have killed her, we all get along, we all loved her, but of course we know this is not true, and we need the psychologist Poirot to dig deep into each soul, each psyche, to revel what complex and contradictory creatures humans can be No one could have done it, Leidner makes clear, and then over time Poirot helps us see anyone could have This is a somewhat Calvinist view of the world Dig just a bit under the surface and we could all be murderers And because murder is a habit, will the murderer kill again At one point Poirot observes with Leidner that there is something that archaology has in common with solving a mystery Both are involved in reconstructing the past Ah.Some random observations Insanity is again a consideration, as is common for Christie in these books it must be a lunatic but this is the simplest idea and almost never is true Nerves are the core of one s being, aren t they Mrs Mercado contends, but desires might be a accurate name for the core as Christie sees it As with any ghost story, there is the sense of impending doom, the rising terror Did her first husband rise from the grave But I have to say, Christie tends to science over the supernatural in her world view, as far as I can tell in other words, the likelihood of there being ghosts in the world is slim In one chapter entitled I Go Psychic the nurse goes into the bedroom of one who is murdered and imagines the scene This is a weird scene with light horror comic effects as someone comes into the room as she plays this out But the idea of play acting solutions is something Poirot and the nurse engage in here as with other Poirot books Poirot and Christie have a strategy Don t parade your knowledge Keep as many secrets hidden for as long as possible Thus the solution Poirot waits as usual til the very end to let us know I guess constantly as she expects me to, but I am, as usual wrong.This is a good one, that got better with the ending that surprised and pleased me.This is usually what happens with Christie for me Half of the books seem too long, tending to tiresome, too obviously focused on elaborate red herrings, and then the wind up, and she seems very good indeed at what she does. Nurse Leatheran has been giving me valuable information about the various members of the expedition Incidentally I have learnt a good deal about the victim And the victim, mademoiselle, is very often the clue to the mystery And the victim wasShe s not sensual She doesn t want affairs It s just cold blooded experiment on her part and the fun of stirring people up and setting them against each other She dabbled in that too She s the sort of woman who s never had a row with anyone in her life but rows always happen where she is She makes them happen She s kind of female Iago She must have drama But she doesn t want to be involved herself She s always outside pulling strings looking on enjoying it Murder in Mesopotamia is one of the really good Agatha Christie novels The great Dame is at her most brilliant with characterisation, depicting all sides of human nature, the nice and the ugly The book is written in 1st person, which I am not too keen on when reading a crime story, but here it is spot on We are offered the story through nurse Amy Leatheren s unashamedly biased perspective She is sensible and practical without being bright and too clear sighted a perfect sidekick to Dr Poirot She is very British and presented in the classic Agatha Christie style half in earnest half poking fun at her own people.The mystery is very clever and the way AC builds up tension and presents the atmosphere is superb.Very much recommended.
Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name
- 264 pages
- Murder in Mesopotamia
- Agatha Christie
- 17 February 2017 Agatha Christie