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They Came to Baghdad

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She fell head over heels for the charming young man one afternoon. And by nightfall, Victoria Jones had conspired to follow him to Baghdad.

But no daydream of love could match the real life adventure that unfolded: a stranger was stabbed in her bed, someone issued a hushed warning, and her rival for Edward's affections neatly arranged her kidnapping. From the steamy Arab marketplace to the vast and arid desert, Victoria was pursued by an unknown power that threatened not only her, but the fate of the entire world ...

364 pages, Paperback

First published March 5, 1951

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About the author

Agatha Christie

4,057 books58.4k followers
Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa 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 translation. According to Index Translationum, she remains the most-translated individual author, having been translated into at least 103 languages. She is the creator of two of the most enduring figures in crime literature-Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple-and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre.

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born in Torquay, Devon, England, U.K., as the youngest of three. The Millers had two other children: Margaret Frary Miller (1879–1950), called Madge, who was eleven years Agatha's senior, and Louis Montant Miller (1880–1929), called Monty, ten years older than Agatha.

Before marrying and starting a family in London, she had served in a Devon hospital during the First World War, tending to troops coming back from the trenches. During the First World War, she worked at a hospital as a nurse; later working at a hospital pharmacy, a job that influenced her work, as many of the murders in her books are carried out with poison. During the Second World War, she worked as a pharmacy assistant at University College Hospital, London, acquiring a good knowledge of poisons which feature in many of her novels.

Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, came out in 1920. During her first marriage, Agatha published six novels, a collection of short stories, and a number of short stories in magazines.

In late 1926, Agatha's husband, Archie, revealed that he was in love with another woman, Nancy Neele, and wanted a divorce. On 8 December 1926 the couple quarreled, and Archie Christie left their house, Styles, in Sunningdale, Berkshire, to spend the weekend with his mistress at Godalming, Surrey. That same evening Agatha disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying that she was going to Yorkshire. Her disappearance caused an outcry from the public, many of whom were admirers of her novels. Despite a massive manhunt, she was not found for eleven days.

In 1930, Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan (Sir Max from 1968) after joining him in an archaeological dig. Their marriage was especially happy in the early years and remained so until Christie's death in 1976.

Christie frequently used familiar settings for her stories. Christie's travels with Mallowan contributed background to several of her novels set in the Middle East. Other novels (such as And Then There Were None) were set in and around Torquay, where she was born. Christie's 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express was written in the Hotel Pera Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, the southern terminus of the railway. The hotel maintains Christie's room as a memorial to the author. The Greenway Estate in Devon, acquired by the couple as a summer residence in 1938, is now in the care of the National Trust.

Christie often stayed at Abney Hall in Cheshire, which was owned by her brother-in-law, James Watts. She based at least two of her stories on the hall: the short story The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, and the novel After the Funeral. Abney Hall became Agatha's greatest inspiration for country-house life, with all the servants and grandeur which have been woven into her plots.

To honour her many literary works, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1956 New Year Honours. The next year, she became the President of the Detection Club.

Wikipedia entry

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,617 reviews
Profile Image for Anne.
3,868 reviews69.2k followers
May 25, 2022
As a Christie fan I'm wondering how this little gem escaped my notice all these years?


I think Victoria may be the most adorable pathological liar you'll ever meet. You can't be mad at her because she's just so honest about it! <-- 100% true


And you really shouldn't like her so much considering all the idiotic choices she makes which land her in incredibly dangerous situations. Starting with losing her job in the first chapter or so due to her need to perform a reenactment of a particularly embarrassing scene between her boss and his wife for her fellow typists. Of course, this frees her up to take off on an ill-advised adventure to Baghdad to find the handsome young man she exchanged a flirtatious conversation with on a park bench.
Oh come on, girl!


What ensues is the classic tale of a girl in love who follows her heart and gets mixed up in a political assassination attempt in another country, while working as an untrained mole in a cult...and becoming an amateur archeologist on the side.
Because why not?!

If you like Agatha, you'll like this one.

2022 Audiobook re-read

Emilia Fox does an amazing job bringing all the characters to life in this. I'd definitely recommend the HarperAudio version!
Profile Image for carol..
1,516 reviews7,715 followers
October 29, 2017
From my review at https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2014/...

Agatha Christie does thrillers.

Or not, depending on your point of view.

This one might work as a movie (I'm disinclined to find out, but if you are interested one was made in 1952), but fails to impress as a book.

Victoria Jones has been fired from her typist position. As she sits in a courtyard, eating her lunch, she's politely approached by a diffident young man who strikes up a conversation. In America, Miss Anna Scheele, personal secretary to the head of a firm of international bankers, informs her employer she must take a vacation to care for her sick sister in England. In the Iraqi countryside, Carmichael is trying to sneak back into Baghdad in time for a major world powers meeting with proof of a certain conspiracy. Mr. Dakin, the local Baghdad covert agent is charged with ensuring security for the meeting, and is hoping to preserve international peace. Richard is an archeologist fanatic just hoping to make it to Dr. Pauncefoot Jones' dig. After their brief meeting, Victoria decides she is in love with Edward and must find him in Baghdad, as soon as possible. Separate plot lines build and come together in a dramatic finish.

One of the ways Christie excels is in capturing the minutia of the small town life, the details that instantly identify a character, making them resonate in the imagination. In Baghdad, there's a full cast, but no one but Victoria Jones really gets the attention they deserve, and once introduced, they tend to fall out of the action, only to appear significantly later. As a non-thriller reader, I find I'm not particularly impressed by megalomania as character motivation.

Mostly, I blame the lack of world-building. Baghdad of the 1950s was an entirely different city from Baghdad of 2014. Its one of those books that was probably perfect for the decade is was published in, but works significantly less well for current times. I needed more atmosphere. I had the vaguest sense of place, most likely pulled from old memories. In my case, Christie's 1950s Baghdad felt a lot like Elizabeth Peters' Egypt in 1880, which most likely reflects time spent reading the Amelia Peabody series.

Baghdad, 1950

Baghdad, 2014

So many coincidences in this plot! The government recruiting a naif based on her spunky attitude and ability to lie convincingly? She was charming, no doubt, but it played like a Cary Grant script, not a thriller. Overall, I don't regret the time, but it wasn't a great example of Christie's capabilities. I prefer her Marple and Poirot series. It's passable, but I recommend it for fans of thrillers and Christie completionists.

Two and a half lackluster stars
Profile Image for Charles  van Buren.
1,698 reviews172 followers
February 21, 2022
Not your usual Agatha Christie mystery

This one is more thriller than mystery. It has intelligence agents, spys, murders, fraud, conspiracies, an international conference between the Russian premier and the American president and what we would now call terrorists plotting to ignite war. A strong female lead caught up in a tangled web. Who can be trusted?

The story begins in London. It quickly moves to Bagdad, a city with which Ms. Christie was familiar. Well written with good descriptions of the city and an archeological dig.
Profile Image for Laura.
132 reviews558 followers
August 13, 2009
I don’t even have words to describe the madcap charm of this book. No Miss Marple, no Poirot, just a heroine who redefines “spunky” and a plot that will leave you yearning for high jinks in the desert. International intrigue has never been such fun, nor has it probably ever been infiltrated by a mediocre shorthand typist. Miss Victoria Jones, freshly booted from her job, sits in a London park figuring out her next move. Enter a handsome lad named Edward who enchants Victoria but – oh no! – is leaving the next day for a job in Baghdad. Well, what’s to stop her from following him? Armed with a can-do attitude and a remarkable gift for invention (some would call her a pathological liar, but things sound so much better when she makes them up), she’s off to the unknown. Subterfuge, danger, and daring exploits await her as she becomes embroiled in shady dealings and . . . even better! . . . an international conspiracy. In one thrilling episode, a spy stumbles into her hotel room and DIES! Who can resist such drama?! Certainly not the resourceful Victoria, who’s up for anything.

Agatha Christie’s seamless style lends itself to this sort of action/adventure caper. But the dialogue is what really wooed me, probably because I listened to the audio version read by Emilia Fox. The voices she does for each character really bring out the comedy. At times I hooted with laughter. An absolutely delightful summer escape!
Profile Image for Vikas Singh.
Author 4 books277 followers
August 5, 2019
It was almost like reading a Robert Ludlum novel. Great start, fast paced action spread across different cities, unconnected people , a mastermind brilliantly orchestrating the entire drama and all coming together in the end to give a nice satisfying closure. Written decades ago when espionage , compared to current standards, was novice, the story line holds your attention till the end. Nice gripping drama.
Profile Image for Brina.
887 reviews4 followers
June 19, 2022
Schools out for the summer and that means decompressing for a bit. And what a better way than reading the Queen of Crime. My go to is Poirot but I was intrigued by the Queen of Crime’s stand alone novels of which I’ve never read before. In Baghdad spy rings from both sides of the new world order converge. Least likely traveler turned heroine Victoria Jones finds herself wrapped up in the middle of the spy ring and has to choose which side to trust. Always fun reading the Queen of Crime but I found this departure from her two bread and butter detectives to be a more action, less trite than the ordinary. As I continue to read many of Dame Christie’s cases this summer in between heavier reads I will look forward to the stand-alone cases that might make me think less but are more fun to read.
Profile Image for Mansuriah Hassan.
71 reviews62 followers
August 20, 2022
Whenever I pick up a book written by Agatha Christie I know I’m in for a great read. This book isn’t about your usual Poirot or Marple, but it’s more about espionage than murder mystery, but with plenty of twists and turns to keep up with your interest and guessing.

They Came to Baghdad puts a hook in you from the very beginning and is an absolute treasure. I hated to see it end. Christie's descriptions of the Middle East culture and scenery are enchanting; you find yourself wishing you could be there in that time and space. The characters are interesting and imaginative. .

In true Christie fashion, the clues are hidden in plain sight throughout the novel. Only in the final chapters do the clues come together to reveal the true culprits!

The end was totally unexpected. She developed the characters so well that you find yourself believing how they wished to be perceived. She also described Iraq so well that it was almost like virtual reality. I don't want to reveal much about this book. Thus, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did! :)
Profile Image for Ken.
2,136 reviews1,316 followers
February 25, 2020
Another standalone Christie thriller as she returns to the type of storytelling from some of her earlier novels.
Whilst I much prefer her crime mysteries, its certainly true that the much traveled author knows how to transport the contemporary reader to various different countries - this time Iraq.

The main protagonist Victoria Jones is actually quite fun, the short hand typist recent dismissal from work soon leads to a chance encounter with Edward.
Impulsively she decideds to follow him to Baghdad and she soon finds herself caught up in an elaborate conspiracy.

Even though I'm not overly keen when Christie tackles a more action packed storyline, the pacing definitely improves during the later half.

If you prefer a more traditional mystery then stick with Poirot or Marple, but like all her novels their are always good moments - especially the archaeological element.
I'd only recommend it to a Christie complesionist.
Profile Image for Shimaa Mokhtar.
180 reviews12 followers
May 10, 2018
ليست أفضل أعمال اجاثا كريستي
تسلسل الأحداث بطئ إلى حد ما، وهناك مبالغة في سرد التفاصيل أحياناً بطريقة تربك القارئ ولا تخدم العمل
Profile Image for Piyangie.
509 reviews391 followers
January 21, 2023
They Came to Baghdad is another thriller by Agatha Christie. I'm now a bit seasoned to the idea of Agatha Christie writing thrillers, so I can get on with her thrillers without much complaint. This particular thriller is based on a cleverly plotted story, only that we are convinced of that fact quite late. :) The beginning of the story was too fantastic and unreal. I couldn't buy it as plausible. Getting into it was quite a struggle. I had to keep my impatience and annoyance under control until I came to the final third. Only then did everything start getting into their proper places.

This thriller is set in a few cities in Iraq, and I must say, Christie has made a good attempt at capturing the middle-eastern atmosphere reasonably well. The story at times reminded me of another thriller of hers, The Man in the Brown Suit, but I found this book had more charisma given its vibrant setting. As to the characters, I was grieved at being unable to form any real connection with any of them. Except for Victoria Jones, none of the characters were fully-fledged. Also, these characters, except Victoria, appeared at random, so their contribution felt inadequate.

In any case, I will not recommend this to impatient souls like me who expect constant action in a thriller rather than awaiting events. But if you don't mind a slow-building action and can endure a lot of talking in the middle, be my guest!
Profile Image for W.
1,185 reviews4 followers
December 29, 2020
This is a Cold War thriller by Agatha Christie,and not one of her traditional whodunits.

It is another of her books with a Middle Eastern setting,as she had travelled in the region with her second husband,archaeologist Max Mallowan.An archaelogist is part of the cast of characters and could well have been modeled on her husband.

The story has an unlikely heroine,Victoria Jones.She gets sacked from her job as a typist in London and while she mulls what to do next,comes across an attractive young man who tells her he is going to Baghdad shortly.

She is instantly smitten and decides to follow him to Baghdad,even though she has no money.But she manages to find a woman who will pay her fare and get her there to be with her man.

Victoria lands in Baghdad and finds herself caught up in a web of international intrigue and espionage.She lies and improvises on the spur of the moment and is offered a job as a spy.

And she does a great job of if,even as she finds herself in mortal danger.But she is equal to the task as she witnesses a man dying in her bed and is kidnapped herself.

She escapes and plays her part in foiling a Communist conspiracy which could destabilize the world.Christie keeps a nice little surprise for the end.

Great fun,though a bit silly at times.I found myself wishing she had written more thrillers.
Profile Image for Karl Jorgenson.
522 reviews26 followers
June 30, 2022
This is another spy thriller by the master of murder-mystery—there are a couple of murders in here, but the nature of the spy thriller is that we know, more-or-less, why the victims were killed and who ordered the killing, if not the name of the particular thug. The tension, mystery, and excitement come from the good guys trying to accomplish their mission—to save the world in this case—and not be killed in the process.
This novel is a standalone, with unique characters, yet it is founded in the same basic premise as ‘Destination Unknown.’ Money and talented people in many fields have been disappearing, and an evil organization is growing, planning to destroy most of the world by encouraging the USSR and the USA to escalate their confrontations. Having used this theme twice, I speculate that Christie was concerned about the possibility of nuclear war between the superpowers. As a good storyteller should, she found a way to put a spin on the cold war and make the prevention of Armageddon depend on a few poorly equipped spies. And this was another opportunity for Christie to let British spies save the day with intelligence, experience, and devotion to the cause of peace.
The focus is on Victoria Jones, a typist who goes to Baghdad on a whim and becomes ensnared in the diabolical plot. This is the only plot-point where Christie stumbles: Victoria goes to Baghdad in pursuit of a handsome and charming young man she’s just met in London, who happens to be heading for Baghdad. Christie could easily have set this up more credibly; Victoria could have stumbled into a free way to travel to Baghdad (instead she seeks it out.) However, once you suspend your disbelief on this move, the rest of the story races by with lots of suspense, action, clever detection, and fine spy craft. Written in 1950 or so, Stalin is still in charge of the USSR. Christie doesn’t mention the US president by name, which was the style seven decades ago. (I think it was considered poor manners to use the name of real person in a fictional plot.)
This is a wonderful spy novel that holds up well, thanks to Christie’s crisp writing and her imaginative storytelling.
Profile Image for Rodrigo.
1,006 reviews384 followers
September 10, 2022
Bueno no ha estado mal, un libro diferente de Agatha, no tanto de misterio sino de espías y confabulaciones mundiales.
Me ha gustado la protagonista Victoria Jones, toda una superviviente y que con sus historias inventadas consigue salir airosa más de una ocasión.
Sinopsis: Victoria Jones, una joven taquimecanógrafa inglesa, acaba de perder su trabajo cuando de pronto conoce a Edward, un joven que se va a ir a Bagdad a trabajar con el doctor Rathbone, un intelectual. Al verse inmiscuida en una típica historia de Romeo y Julieta, Victoria decide viajar a Bagdad y reencontrarse con el joven.
Sin embargo, una noche Henry Carmichael, agente británico, entra a la habitación de Victoria y muere, no sin antes decirle la palabra "Lefarge" en el oído. La joven, horrorizada, se ve pronto inmiscuida en un mundo donde la astucia sería el arma más eficaz que uno tendría a la mano.
Profile Image for هــالــه بــاقــر.
208 reviews95 followers
September 23, 2015
السيدة كريستي العظيمة ملهمتي منذ الطفولة للقرأة مشجعتي التي سحبتني من يدي واشركتني في تفاصيل عالمها الخاص التي تخلقه بفنها الراقي المتفرد و اسلوبها الذكي الجاذب المتكامل في التشويق و الإثارة إنها كاتبتي المفضلة في شتى حالاتها سواءً في روايتها الجيدة او السيئة احب الترحال معها فالعلاقة بيننا ليست علاقة قارئ بكاتب ينظر للعمل بعين النقد هذه النظرة لم تكن موجودة بيننا ابداً فهي الوحيدة التي تغمرني صفحاتها بالسعادة و الدفء حتى لو كانت رديئة في جودتها الفنية انني اتقبل كل ناتج ادبي من يديها فهي قد سحرتني منذ امد بعيد بابطالها وخاصة العبقري بوارو السيد البلجيكي قصير القامة لكن هذه المرة الرحلة لم تكن برفقته ولم تكن المشاهد فيها شوارع وشقق لندن او ارياف انجلترا بل مسرح الأحداث كانت في الشرق , الشرق الذي يأسر الأجانب بتراثه وعاداته وتقاليده وفتنته الخاصة وكيانه الغريب جذب هذه المرة القديرة كريستي إلى العراق لتنسج حبكة رواياتها الرائعة هذه في كل مدنها بدءً بقلب الشرق الأصيل وحاضنة قصص الخيال السحري الخصب بغداد مروراً بالبصرة وبابل وغيرها من المحافظات العراقية لتظهر المؤلفة درايتها بكل اقسام العراق من الشمال حتى الجنوب

و للحديث عن العمل المدهش هذا أحب ان أذكر اركان قوتها التي تمثلت بالرباط القوي المقنع الذي جمع الفصول و السرد الواضح الذي خلق لكل شخصيات الرواية رغم كثرتها زواياهم الخاصة يلعبون فيها دورهم باتقان بدون التخطية على مساحة الشخصيات الثانوية , أيضاً الفكرة التي شملت قصة رائعة وتضمنت مطاردة رومانسية هادئة لم تسلب الرواية البوليسية رونقها بل زادتها جمالاً وصنعت لها روحاً حقيقية يشعر بها القارئ ويتلهف معها لنهاية مُرضية إضافة الى وجود رسالة عميقة في المضمون عن نظرية السلام الدولي واشارة واضحة الى جهة ما متوغلة في كل المراكز و المناصب تحاول بشتى الطرق خلق الحروب واشعال فتيل الكراهية وسوء الفهم بين اقطاب العالم لخلق عالم جديد يحكمونها باهوائهم وافكارهم المتطرفة .

تبدء الرواية بحديث عن لقاء في بغداد سيجمع اقطاب العالم السياسي الولايات المتحدة الامريكية والاتحاد السوفيتي لدراسة وجهات نظرهم المتضادة املاً في الوصول الى نقطة تفاهم في أفضل السبل لإدارة العالم لكن تحقق هذا الهدف مرهون في نجاح عميل محترف وذو كفاءة عالية يدعى كارمايكل في جلب ال��ثائق والمستندات التي بحوزته لإظهارها امام رؤساء الدول هذه لكشف مخططات مؤسسة سرية مصالحها تتمثل في استمرار الصراع
مغامرة هذا العميل يشارك فيه اشخاص متعددون في شبكة متفرعة لأغراض شتى حتى تتورط شابة لندنية تدعى فيكتوريا جونز وهي بطلة الرواية رقيقة ومرحة ماهرة في تلفيق الأكاذيب تندفع بشغف حب مفاجأ يطرأ على حياتها خلف حبيبها الوسيم ادوارد لتعيش مغامرة خطيرة قرب نهر الدجلة

عمل رائع وممتع حقاً راعيها الرسمي هي الإثارة الانهائية وجودة الترجمة الجيدة انصح بها لكل عشاق أجاثا
من افضل كتب هذا العام حتى الان تستحق الخمس نجوم
متأكدة انني سامنح نفسي جولة في ثنايا صفحاتها مرة اخرى في نفس هذا العام
Profile Image for Shwan Majeed.
200 reviews158 followers
September 28, 2018
بصراحة هذه اول كتاب اقرأه للكاتبة العظيمة أجاثا كريستي بعدما كنت اقراء مقتطفات لها, وكانت رائعة جدا وغنية جدا بالتفاصيل والاحداث الكثيرة والممتعة في كتاباتها بشكل جميل ورائع, يجعلك تدخل في احداث الرواية وتكون منغمس في قراءته نعمانها أجاثا كريستي.
هذه الرواية (ولو العنوان في اللغة الانكليزية تختلف بعض الشيء عن العربية وهو (they came to baghdad - انهم قادمون الى بغداد) وعلى رغم انه العنوان لو ترجم بشكل صحيح لكان اجمل واقرب لقصة الرواية ولكن شيء غريب تغيير الاسم.
يدور الاحداث بين اشهر مدن العالم في ذالك الوقت بغداد وبصرة ولندن والقاهرة, كان مدن الاحلام في ذالك الوقت والكل احبوا زيارتها او العيش بيها ولو تعمقنا بعض الشيء لسوف نعرف عمق الرواية من هذه المدن, انا اعتبرت هذه الرواية جاسوسية اكثر من ان تكون لغز او جريمة عادية, واكيد سوف تكتشف هذه الاشياء بعد قرأتك للرواية والانغماس بها مع جميل الاحداث والحوارات بها.
هناك بعض الاشياء كانت غريبة لدي خلال قرأتي للكتاب, الاحداث بعض الشيء كانت طويلة لدرجت احسست بعض الشيء ب الغرابة عن هذه الكم من الاحداث ولكن وحسب رأي الشخصي هذه كانت من قبل الكاتبة لتكون الاحداث طويلة وعدم اكتشافه او حل الاحداث بشكل اسرع, وايظا النهاية جيدة ولكن ليست ممتازة بس الاهم لدي هو القصة كانت ممتعة جدا واتسمتع به واكيد هي من بين افضل الكتب للكاتبة أجاثا كريستي

Honestly this is the first book I read to the great writer Agatha Christie after I read her excerpts, and she was very wonderful and rich in the details and the many events and fun in her writings beautifully and beautifully, make you enter into the events of the novel and be immersed in reading Numana Agatha Christie.
This novel (although the title in English is somewhat different from Arabic and they (they came to baghdad - they are coming to Baghdad) and although the title if translated correctly was the nicest and closer to the story of the novel but something strange change the name.
The events revolve around the most famous cities of the world at the time Baghdad, Basra, London and Cairo. The cities of dreams were at that time and everyone loved to visit or live with them, even if we deepened a bit to know the depth of the novel from these cities. I considered this novel a spy rather than a mystery or a crime. Normal, and sure you will discover these things after reading the novel and indulging them with beautiful events and dialogues.
There were some things that were strange to me during my reading of the book. The events were a bit long. I felt a bit strange about this number of events, but according to this personal opinion it was by the writer to be long events and not to detect or solve events faster. Is not excellent but the most important to me is the story was very enjoyable and enjoy it is sure is among the best books of the writer Agatha Christie
Profile Image for Aaron Gourlie.
Author 1 book81 followers
August 1, 2022
I absolutely loved this book. I listened to the audiobook for this one. Adding to my enjoyment was Emile Fox’s absolutely perfect narration.

Victoria Jones is one of my favorite characters I’ve read this year. She’s so vivacious, adventurous, if not slightly crazy. It starts with Victoria getting fired after very successfully making fun of the boss’s wife just to be overheard by the boss. She then then met a handsome chap in the park. The two instantly make a connection but are disappointed that he’s leaving for Baghdad the next day.

Can Victoria, fresh with new found time on her hands, get to Baghdad to meet up with her new love interest?

An enjoyable mystery unfolds but the star of this one is Victoria Jones who is one of those characters who comes to life in a charming way that makes you want to hang out with her.

Very enjoyable!
Profile Image for Ann.
510 reviews
December 1, 2009
Easily one of my favorite Agatha Christie books! The more mystery books I read, the more I realize just how incredible Christie was at what she did.

This mystery centers around, not so much a murder, but the plot of a political overthrow (Is the overthrow a good thing? Or a bad thing? And even, does it exist?). Our protagonist, Victoria, finds herself suddenly placed in the middle of it all, and must decide just how involved she wants to be.

"They Came to Baghdad" has an intriguing blend of all sorts of mystery points: murder, mistaken identity, spies, lies, and even a bit of romance.

I think what really won me over was the detailed and diverse cast of characters, headed by the smart and clever Victoria, who has a fantastic imagination, and an ability to create elaborate lies and stories, but whom fails to tell convincing *true* stories. Victoria isn't really "book smart" and she's not entirely "street smart" but she's clever and has a wonderful ability to never give up, and an optimistic heart that makes her a pleasure to follow through the pages.

Not every chapter is devoted to Victoria's perspective, however, and in the beginning we have several chapters from several points of view. This could have been frustrating and annoying, but for some reason I did not find it so and was instantly drawn in and hooked to each of the mini-stories (if you do find it tiresome, I highly suggest you give the book at least 5 chapters or so, until you settle into the main plot).

This book isn't overly gruesome or graphic, and while there *may* have been a few points I'd have liked better clarification on, overall I thought the mystery was explained nicely and neatly.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Melindam.
612 reviews267 followers
February 21, 2022
I found this story quite enjoyable, despite being no admirer of Dame Agatha's struggle-for-worldpower-conspiracy plots in general.

The good, old-fashioned Poirot/Miss Marple mysteries are much more in my line.

Great narration by Emilia Fox.
Profile Image for Cindy Rollins.
Author 20 books1,961 followers
August 11, 2022
Great literature? No. Realistic story? No. But a fun spy novel from Agatha Christie.
Profile Image for Susan.
2,602 reviews599 followers
July 24, 2021
Although I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie, I much prefer her mysteries/crime novels to her adventure type books. Written in 1951, this is very much an adventure, with a bored young secretary, Victoria Jones, following a young man she met in a park, to Baghdad on a whim.

This throws her into a fantastic - and dangerous - conspiracy. There have been rumours of a meeting of superpowers to be held in the city, while a shadowy group are attempting to stop it. This results in Victoria having a man dying in her room, being chloroformed, imprisoned and even, like Christie herself, ending up on an archaeologists dig, posing as the archaeologist's niece.

All good fun, with plenty of false leads, conspiracies, bizarre characters and a great setting, which Christie knew well. Still, I must admit I yearned for a country house and some poison....
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
February 11, 2015
I read this some time in the 1980s and remember thinking it was one of Christie's more enjoyable books. This is a reminder to myself to read it again sometime and see if I still think that's true.

It's too bad I still remember who the villain is (it was a particularly surprising reveal to me) because I've forgotten almost everything else about this book.
708 reviews1,211 followers
February 27, 2019
c'est la première roman d'agatha que j'ai lu en français et d’après j'adore tt ces romans
اول رواية بالفرنسية اقرءها لها.
جميلة جدا و ستتعلم بعدها ان لا تنخدع بكلام الرجل
و رقة طبعه.
و رجل جنتليمان ليس كذلك دائم.
هل يصبح قاتل ؟
Profile Image for Rebecca.
474 reviews51 followers
February 5, 2022
Gelesen für die #readchristie2022Challenge im Januar 2022 – ein Buch inspiriert von Agatha Christies Reisen

Das war mal ein ganz anderer Christie! Ich habe ja nun schon einige Krimis der Queen of Crime gelesen, aber „Sie kamen nach Bagdad“ unterscheidet sich ganz schön von den anderen ihrer Bücher.

Victoria Jones ist ein einfaches Mädchen – mit der Wahrheit nimmt sie es nicht so genau und auch ihre Arbeit als Schreibkraft in einem Londoner Büro macht ihr nur bedingt Spaß. Als sie – vermeintlich unbeobachtet – zur Belustigung ihrer Kollegen ihren Chef parodiert, fliegt sie kurzerhand raus. Egal, war eh ein doofer Job. Während sie nun also auf einer Parkbank über ihre Zukunft nachdenkt, lernt sie kurzerhand den charmanten Edward kennen. Victoria ist schockverliebt. Dieser Mann ist die Liebe ihres Lebens, da ist sie sich sicher! Leider muss Edward bereits am nächsten Tag zu einem längeren Aufenthalt in Bagdad aufbrechen. Victoria ist untröstlich.

Nachdem sie in London eigentlich nichts mehr hält und sie sich vor Sehnsucht nach dem Mann, mit dem sie nur eine halbe Stunde verbracht hat, verzehrt, versucht sie, nun selbst nach Bagdad zu gelangen. Gar nicht so einfach als Frau ohne Geld und nennenswerte Qualifikationen. Doch dank einer glücklichen Fügung schafft es die leicht naive Miss Jones nach Bagdad. Leider enden ihre Probleme nicht magisch mit der Ankunft in der fremden Stadt. Wie soll sie ihren Edward nur wiederfinden? Außerdem scheinen in ihrem Hotel einige seltsame Dinge vor sich zu gehen…

Völlig unerwartet findet sich Victoria plötzlich in einem diplomatischen Komplott wieder – denn überall in Bagdad wimmelt es von Agenten und Vertretern sich gegenseitig ausspionierender Supermächte. Und vielleicht macht sich die junge Dame mit Hang zu Ausschmückungen und Unwahrheiten gar nicht so schlecht als Spionin – immerhin traut ihr niemand so wirklich etwas zu.


Ach, das war ein Spaß! Victoria war eine sehr unterhaltsame Protagonistin, auch wenn sie bisweilen etwas anstrengend war. Aber genau das macht ihren Charakter aus – sich ständig etwas ausdenken, Schrott erzählen, anderen etwas vorzuspielen – und das alles, weil das normale Leben einfach ziemlich langweilig sein kann.

Mir war gar nicht bewusst, dass Agatha Christie neben ihren klassischen Kriminalgeschichten auch solche Agentenkrimis über Verschwörungen der Supermächte verfasst hat – eine willkommene und überraschende Abwechslung!

Vor allem der Schauplatz Bagdad hat mir gut gefallen. Für mich, ein Kind der 90er, ist Bagdad immer der Inbegriff von Terror und einer Stadt versunken im Chaos. Bei Agatha Christie klingt Bagdad nach nahöstlicher Magie, spannenden archäologischen Ausgrabungsstätten und Zentrum asiatischer Diplomatie. Ich fand es echt schön, mal einen anderen Blick auf diese Stadt zu lesen – wie viel sich doch in 50 Jahren ändern kann.
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,219 reviews164 followers
January 6, 2022
They Came to Baghdad is not your expected murder mystery, but it is definitely entertaining. The convoluted plot is hilarious, full of adventure, red herrings, kidnappings, impersonations, all this set in the exotic Middle East. I felt, listening to Emilia Fox’s performance, as if a spy film (one that doesn’t take itself seriously) was being projected in front of my eyes. Although the narration is shown between multiple points of view, which can be a little confusing at the beginning, the spunky and audacious Victoria Jones is the central character whose attraction for a young man met at Charing Cross lead her into a whole world of trouble. Luckily, she has plenty of courage, common sense, and a gift for telling lies :O)

Several factors reminded me of Christie’s own life, such as her travels to this region of the world, especially when following her second husband, the archeologist. I wonder at all the things she must have seen...

Agatha did write a handful of these spy/adventure stories. They’re very entertaining if you don’t take them seriously. My favourite of these still has to be The Man in the Brown Suit.
Profile Image for Richa Adhikari.
10 reviews6 followers
April 18, 2020
My first book from the thriller queen Agatha. Not exactly a thriller I would say but it got me when the major mystery unfolded. I read few chapters with my mouth agape.

The protagonist Victoria Jones is the heart of this book. I mean have you ever heard of a young woman flying all the way from England to Baghdad just because she met a charming young man for five minutes before his flight to Baghdad? Things are different in Baghdad though, yet with her elevated spirits and witticism, she survives and survives good taking pleasure and making acquaintance in the most unexpected circumstances.
As she is once remarked "Are you real? Are you the persecuted heroine, or the wicked adventuress? "
Yes, she is all of that. For her character alone, it is worth to read the book.

Ending is not quite as spicy as I thought it would be. Else, it is an engaging read. Would love to explore more of her works.
Profile Image for Pamela.
1,276 reviews
September 5, 2022
Agatha Christie is mostly known for her crime stories, but she also wrote thrillers, and this is a neat and entertaining thriller set in Iraq. Victoria Jones is a rather scatty secretary with a talent for telling convincing lies, who meets a young man in a London park and decides on a whim to follow him to Baghdad. When a man is found murdered in her hotel room, her search for romance becomes mixed up with a dangerous espionage role.

This was good fun, totally over the top but with a hint of menace behind the entertainment. Christie is superb at creating convincing characters with a few carefully chosen lines, and this is undoubtedly one of the strengths of this novel - from Victoria herself, to the care-worn agent handler Dakin, the absent minded archaeologist Pauncefoot-Jones and the charming but unreliable hotel owner Marcos. The reader is willing the resilient but slightly reckless Victoria to succeed from the outset.

The book was published in 1951 and the plot reflects the tensions and anxiety of that post-War age, and so may seem dated when looking back with hindsight on events. However, these tensions add to the intensity of the book and the setting is perfect as it evokes beauty and mystery, but also chaos and a place for hidden violence to flourish. I enjoyed the book and it met my expectations for a thriller from the Queen of Crime.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,181 reviews
September 8, 2009
I loved the title--so mysterious and alluring, WHO came to Baghdad? And WHY??? And I quite loved my adventure in Baghdad with all of those who "came" there. Full of Middle Eastern ambiance, but with a good dose of 1950s British-ness thanks to our lead characters, it's the perfect blend of humor and adventure, exotic and comfortable, a bit of romance, and of course lots of suspense! I give it only four stars because I thought a the chapters in the beginning jostle around as we are introduced to the full cast of characters and it lacks a bit of narrative flow; also, I was impatient to get back to our spunky heroine, Victoria Jones, with her penchant for telling marvelous lies, her lack of typing skills, and her sudden love for the handsome Edward who is, alas, off to Baghdad! Out of a job and into a romance, Victoria decides to follow him and that's when things get good! :-) I also give this only four stars because Ms. Christie is up to some of her "old tricks" and I pretty much guessed the ending. But, that didn't stop me from enjoying it! Also, I really loved that there is some archaeological stuff in the story, and I thought this was quite neat since Christie's "other" life involved going out to digs in the Middle East with her archaeologist husband Mr. Mallowan! :-)
Profile Image for Julie  Durnell.
1,004 reviews92 followers
August 14, 2022
A total departure from the English village cozies and locked room mysteries, but I really enjoyed this light espionage tale. The setting of Baghdad and the surrounding area in that era was so interesting as well.
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