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Come, Tell Me How You Live

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  2,958 ratings  ·  339 reviews
Over the course of her long, prolific career, Agatha Christie gave the world a wealth of ingenious whodunits and page-turning locked-room mysteries featuring Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, and a host of other unforgettable characters. She also gave us Come, Tell Me How You Live, a charming, fascinating, and wonderfully witty nonfiction account of her days on an archaeologica ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published March 3rd 1981 by Pocket Books (first published 1946)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  2,958 ratings  ·  339 reviews


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Chrissie
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In archeology a tell or tel is “an artificial mound formed from the accumulated remains of people living on the same site for hundreds or thousands of years. A classic tell looks like a low, truncated cone with a flat top and slopping sides, and can be up to 300 meters high.” The mound rises as the mudbricks of buildings rapidly disintegrated. Many tells are to be found in the fertile areas of ancient Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, commonly labelled the cradle of ...more
Hannah
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating Clarification: 4.5 Stars

I wasn't sure what to expect when I casually picked this memoir up at the library, but it certainly exceeded any expectations I might have had about Agatha Christie's personality, sense of humor, and joie de vivre.

Recently read biographies and/or memoirs of Daphne duMaurier and Georgette Heyer left me with a great respect for these women as writers, but didn't do much to endear them to me as women I'd personally want to know or be friends with. Not so with Dame Aga
...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: aspiring archaeologists and arm chair travellers
Come, Tell me how you live is Agatha Christie's invitation to the world to experience elements of her life after she married the famous archaeologist Max Mallowan. The title is a play on the word "Tell" which also means a man-made mound or hill constructed by the occupation of ancient civilisations (in Turkey we call them hoyuks). Christie, famed for her murder-mystery novels was greatly influenced by the ancient and modern cultures of the Middle East and a number of her literary set pieces were ...more
Veronique
This was a joy to read!!! I’m not really into biographies, preferring the world of fiction, yet this memoir from Agatha Christie was fascinating and extremely funny!

Our beloved author has a brilliant sense of humour and comedy that shines through the pages. This was not a surprise since I’ve seen this often in her crime mysteries. Here however it is much stronger. I loved hearing her ‘true’ voice, describing the life she experienced on digs in Syria and Iraq with her husband, the renown archaeol
...more
Jad
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was quite surprised to find this little-known work (at least to me) when browsing my university library's collection of books on Syria. A great book by the wonderful Agatha Christie, but not at all like her usual murder mysteries. This is a work of non-fiction about her life and times in Syria alongside her husband the archaeologist. Leave it to the lady of mystery to write about the experiences of the every-day life!

This book was like polite dinner conversation with one of the most interestin
...more
Susan
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Agatha Christie wrote this charming memoir in answer to questions about what exactly she did, and how she lived, during trips to the Middle East with her archeologist husband Max Mallowan. Instantly you are struck by her humour and humility - the snobbish shop assistants she had to deal with when buying clothes for the more ample form, the fact that her husband scoffs at the amount of shoes she wants to take and yet needs to pack a 'million' books and the difficulties of travelling abroad. It is ...more
Leah
Me, sitting down to tea with Agatha Christie: Come, tell me how you live!'
Agatha Christie: Quite beautifully, well within our extensive means, and with a gently comical yet frustratingly persistent servant problem.


It's incredibly difficult to describe just how unpleasant this book was to read without making it sound like I detest it. I don't. It's enjoyable sometimes, and of course Christie writes lightly and well (who is honestly surprised by this?), but it is inescapably, depressingly of its t
...more
Vikas Singh
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
This is one of the two novels Agatha wrote under the name- Agatha Christie Mallowan. The novel is more a narrative of the time she spent with her archeologist husband Max during his excavations in Syria. It is a very vivid description of the prevailing socio-cultural aspects and the relationship between the Kurds, Arabs, and the Armenian community. In parts humorous, one marvels at the way Agatha looked at the daily rigmarole while working in an excavation site. Interesting read.
Melissa McShane
I picked this up at random in a thrift store about five years ago and it went onto the shelf, unread, until my latest plan for clearing out my massive TBR pile. I knew nothing about Agatha Christie's life except that she'd been married twice and there was that weird disappearance in the 1920s (and even that I only knew about from the Doctor Who episode). So learning that her husband was an archaeologist and that she'd been to Syria on digs with him was a surprise. This slim book details a couple ...more
Kirsten McKenzie
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book was like having a Facebook messenger conversation with Agatha Christie herself while she was on holiday, if she'd been on Facebook. Snippets of observations shared, almost chronologically but not necessarily in a cohesive order.
A lovely insight into her life pre WWII visiting countries I can only dream of seeing in the current political climate.
This book doesn't give you any in-depth insight into the world of archaeology apart from causing some angst re the items Max casually t
...more
Em*Greedy* (Iniya)
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Em*Greedy* (Iniya) by: Em*bedded-in-books*
Shelves: biblio_recos
This book contains the details of an archaeological expedition from the point of an non archaeological observer... Christie doesn't go to minor details of the archaeological part, so one will be disappointed if you start reading with that expectations. but everything apart from that... she has tried more to express the various difficulties and hurdles they faced in the expedition in a funny way and she has succeeded. Though we can empathize with their difficulties we are able to take it easy alo ...more
Julie Davis
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This engaging memoir covers Agatha Christie's time on archaeological digs with her husband, famous archaeologist Max Mallowan. Having just read They Came to Baghdad, I was struck by how familiar I already was with many of the heroine's realizations of what archaeology teaches us. I'd learned them from reading and rereading this book. Christie's love of the ordinary people and their lives comes through strong and clear, as well as her own humor and humility. This is a unique perspective of a time ...more
Kacey Kells
Agatha Christie Mallowan confessed that "Come, tell me how you live" is an 'inconsequent chronicle', and to a certain extent, she was right. However, this book is rather unique and is quite interesting because it bares witness to a past time in a distant region. Actually, she wrote this memoir to tell what was her life during those years she was in the Middle East with her archeologist husband. And indeed conducting archeological excavations in the Middle-East, in the 1930s, didn't match Indiana ...more
JoEllen
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Goodreads skips the proper authorship: Agatha Christie Mallowan. One of only two books where she included her husband's surname in her byline, I love this book as much for what it isn't as for what it is. Begun in the mid-1930's, this is the tale of an English archaeologist's wife trekking across Europe, through "Beyroot", to Syria, where they more than set up camp, they build a household. Returning annually, she entertains (slyly educating) the reader with tales of Kurds and Armenians and Moham ...more
Brian's Bookshelves
A fascinating journal of Christie's time in the middle East on a dig with her husband.
The clash of cultures is highlighted in little snippets of events, from how workers are recruited and discipline kept and how the those workers lives are so different from the English middle aged novelist.
Interesting reading this is 2019 (it was in the 1930's as that whole region is a different world now.
I wonder what Agatha would think of 2019.
Jae
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humorous and witty account of Agatha Christie's time spent in Syria on archaeological digs with her husband Max Mallowan.
Nick Mclean
As Mallowan, known to most readers as Agatha Christie, refers to this fun little tome as "small beer-a very little book full of everyday doings and happenings." In the book, she recounts her days accompanying her archaeologist husband on digs in Syria and Iraq during the 1930s. No grand travelogue or archealogical treatise, she mostly focuses on, as she puts it the "everyday". It is an episodic tour through their trips on the Orient Express, stops in Istanbul, Beirut and Baghdad, and all the adv ...more
Trisha
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Agatha Christie wasn’t simply a bestselling writer of mystery novels. As the wife of a famous archeologist she frequently accompanied her husband to the mid-east during the thirties and helped out with digs in what is now present day Syria, Turkey and Iraq. This book was written well after the fact – during the second world war -- in response to friends who kept asking her about her archeological adventures.

Christie used her diary entries and notes to string together a highly readable and often
...more
Suvi
Two of my favorite things come together here in perfect harmony: archaeology and Agatha Christie. She wrote about her travels around Syria and Iraq with her second husband, Max Mallowan, as an "answer to a question that is asked me very often". That is the charm, because her archaeological memoir felt like we were sipping tea and munching cookies in one of her country village locations, enjoying our afternoon with stories from a hotter climate, and stretching our grey brain cells while waiting f ...more
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I have previously read Agatha Christie's crime mysteries but had no idea she had written this memoir until I saw it in a campsite book exchange. Although published in 1946, the archaeological expeditions described actually took place during the 1930s so there is a pronounced inter-war years feel to the book. Christie herself accompanied her husband ostensibly simply in the role of 'wife' but actually took a greater part in the job at hand - c
...more
Lyn
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have long enjoyed Dame Agatha Christie's cozy mysteries. Love Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. But now Dame Agatha has parted the veil for a peek into her life with her second husband, the archeologist.

In case you don't know, Dame Agatha's first husband turned out to be a mistake and after their divorce, she married Max Mallowan, a man 17 years her junior. But I believe he was her soulmate.

The most amazing part of this book is a glimpse into a world long gone! The book was begun in the mid
...more
VeganMedusa
Jun 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bc-copy, non-fiction
Not knowing much about Agatha Christie, I enjoyed this insight into her. I read every one of her books that my library had when I was 10-11 and haven't read one since. I often think I'd like to, just don't get around to it. I would especially like to read the two mentioned on the blurb as having been influenced by her travels, Murder in Mesopotamia and Appointment with Death.
I liked all the characters she worked with: Michel with his 'economia' (buying 200 moulding oranges because they were so c
...more
Ritika Gupta
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I picked a second-hand copy of this book from a random bookshop. To come across an archaeological memoir by Agatha Christie was such a surprise, but having read her books as a child, I was sure that this book will not disappoint. It is an easy read, more of her diary than insights on history and archaeology in Syria, in case you are expecting that.

The book is very light and may seem superfluous, one might think that Agatha was unpertubed by the plight of human life or treatment of women in Syria
...more
Trudy Pomerantz
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating description of life on an archeological dig back in the 1930's. While I have always had somewhat of an interest in the Middle East, after reading Christie's book my desire to have the opportunity to travel in those lands increased. Now, if it were only not a war zone.
Gail Naomi Jaitin
Apr 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
I'm shocked at how many positive reviews this book has. I've made it to page 68, on which Christie delights in the native (Arab) children being free from school, able to enjoy the beautiful day (while they work at herding cows in their "incredible rags"), and how awful it is that English children have to spend such lovely spring days in school. Surely she knows what future each group will face. Or maybe she doesn't!

In general, Christie's colonial, privileged outlook is hard for me to bear. She
...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Published just after the war, this memoir purports to describe the years that Christie and her second husband, Max Mallowan, worked on archaelogical digs in Syria. Christie herself tells the reader that it is an "inconsequential" memoir, and it certainly is. If you're looking for sweeping descriptions of epic countryside so beloved of certain of Christie's travel-writing contemporaries, you'll be disappointed. (I wasn't; I can't visualise places I've never seen anyway, so detailed descriptions p ...more
Jamie
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoopsie, what a great mistake this turned out to be. I picked this up at the library in preparation of a project I'm working on that you'll find out about in a few months, thinking it was one of her non-Poirot, non-serial works that I haven't read yet. The shelf was stocked with editions published by The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection (pointedly misleading), and the minimalist cover did not include the byline found on the cover above: An Archeological Memoir. Suffice it to say I was rather ...more
Harshvardhan Singh
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
If there is one author whose books come closest to 'comfort read' for me, it has to be Agatha Christie. It is a joy to read and re-read her books, specially those involving the modest Monsieur Poirot. So it was with eager anticipation that I picked this book up.

The book is exactly what it claims to be - a view into the life lead by the author and her archaeologist husband on an expedition to Syria. It is a rosy reminiscence of simpler happier times full of amusing anecdotes involving pukka sahib
...more
Susan
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Agatha Christie is one of my heroes.....her book The Body in the Library was my first ever grown up whodunnit .......I think I was eleven or twelve when I first read it, and I loved it.
I’ve never tired of her books, her wonderful creation Hercule Poirot is my favourite detective, closely followed by Miss Marple, but in actual fact, I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything I’ve read by her.........there have been very few that I’ve thought below parr.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that there was more
...more
Kate
"Agatha Christie was already a celebrated writer of mysteries when, in 1930, she married the archaeologist Max Mallowan. In the pre-war years thereafter, Christie enthusiastically joined her husband on various archaeological expeditions in the Middle East, and these shared adventures, these happy and memorable times, provided her not only with the background for several of her novels, but also with the "everyday doings and happenings'' which she zestfully describes in the pages of this high-spir ...more
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Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in Romance. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in t
...more

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