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Hercule Poirot #14

Murder in Mesopotamia

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An archaeologist’s wife is murdered on the shores of the River Tigris in Iraq.

It was clear to nurse Amy Leatheran that something sinister was going on at the Hassanieh dig, something associated with the presence of ‘Lovely Louise’, the wife of the celebrated archaeologist Dr. Leidner. But she couldn't pinpoint it.

In a few days’ time Hercule Poirot was due to drop in at the excavation site. With Louise suffering terrifying hallucinations, and tension within the group becoming almost unbearable, Poirot might just be too late…

264 pages, Paperback

First published July 6, 1936

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About the author

Agatha Christie

5,526 books61.3k followers
Agatha Christie also wrote romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and was occasionally published under the name Agatha Christie Mallowan.

More than seventy detective novels of British writer Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie include The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), and And Then There Were None (1939); she also wrote plays, including The Mousetrap (1952).

This best-selling author of all time wrote 66 crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and six novels under a pseudonym in romance. Her books sold more than a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation. According to Index Translationum, people translated her works into 103 languages at least, the most for an individual author. Of the most enduring figures in crime literature, she created Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. She atuhored The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theater.

The youngest of three children of the Miller family. 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 Empir

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,332 reviews
Profile Image for Anne.
4,053 reviews69.5k followers
June 10, 2023
Another really good story!
A somewhat stuffy nurse tells the tale of how a little Belgian detective solved the murder of the woman she was looking after. <--in Mesopotamia


This one had a good setting and a good cast of characters, but the resolution was too fucknuts even for me. Sorry, there's just no way.

Then again, what do I know?


However, the path to this somewhat unsatisfying conclusion was good and I enjoyed myself quite a bit. Poirot does his thing ferreting out everyone's secrets and uncovering all the reasons that they might have had to want the victim dead.


I've read 4 books in a row of Christie's that have the same theme - a dead floozy.
And by floozy I mean a woman who is either cheating on her husband, flirting with another woman's husband, or trying to steal/has stolen another woman's man.
Death on the Nile, Evil Under the Sun, Sparkling Cyanide, and this book all fall into that category, imho. And a part of me is like, Damn, Agatha! What were you trying to work out of your system?


I loved that one of the characters is said to sound like he stepped off the pages of a PG Wodehouse novel. It was such a very cool nod to another author.
And speaking of nods, I've started keeping my eyes out for all the references Christie makes to her other books, and in this one narrator mentions that she heard later on that Poirot got himself entangled in some sort of mystery on the Orient Express. Toot! Toot!

Recommended for fans of Agatha Christie.
Profile Image for Luffy (Oda's Version).
765 reviews757 followers
August 17, 2017
One of the best rereads I've ever chanced upon. Few books of Agatha Christie's reserves are so unputdownable. The cast of characters in the book are not to be taken lightly. They enhance the story in spicy terms. I loved the easygoing pace of the book.

The victim is so vibrant when pages away from death. The author's attempt to drum up sympathy for the victim was a success for me. This is how a bestseller sounded like in those days. It has withstood the test of time.

Poirot himself was very foreign. Viewed from the lens of nurse Leatheran, he appears quaint, like a genie about to grant 3 wishes to his master. I would never have guessed who the guilty party was. Props to the author. Nothing significant to add...lovely little book. Recommended.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
468 reviews3,254 followers
July 18, 2023
On the lonely remote deserts of Mesopotamia (called Iraq now) in the 30's , archaeologists are digging to discover the past, yet at the present time fear is in the air even as precious artifacts are found, from the 4th millennium B.C. Looking at the site it's just a pile of mud and dirt walls, very disappointing to the untrained eye you would have to be an expert, to get excited. Still this is indeed where the first civilization began circa 5,400 years ago (3,400 B.C.) , in the earliest city of Uruk, between the fabled Tigris and Euphrates rivers, can you imagine the nomads seeing this paradise in the middle of the water less land as they roam the Earth. The Fertile Crescent is quite deadly though, precious liquid that will perpetuate life, the envious ancients where noted for their butchery.... the strong survived the weak perished . Dr.Eric Leidner, head of the expedition hires Miss Amy Leatheran a hospital nurse, from England, she Leatheran was recommended to the archaeologist by the local sawbones, Dr.Giles Reilly. Mrs. Leidner, is a bit of a flirt,(she'll not be one for long) to state a fact.The nurse needed to take care of his nervous wife, Louise as she has received threatening mysterious letters, but why? This being an Agatha Christie novel murder soon swiftly follows, many suspicious characters abound in the area which makes for a difficult situation, the whole entourage of diggers are full of them. Enter Hercule Poirot he's Belgian not a Frenchman, it annoys the great detective, to be misrepresented and a very patriotic man, also. Mr.Poirot just happens to be passing through the neighborhood and he's easily persuaded to help in the murder mystery, the investigation. He'd like nothing more, than to solve this case , boredom Poirot cannot tolerate, the harder the better a crime. Poirot will use all his skills to find the culprit, however not until another killing occurs just to spice up the proceedings to give it a little flavor. But not to much gore, Agatha Christie is or was a lady and to all you unbelievers, a great writer too.....What can I say the author knows how to make a lively murder mystery, well for those still functioning in an upright position.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,616 reviews985 followers
July 29, 2023
Hercule Poirot, book #14 has the case recounted by a nurse who was hired out to Mesopotamia (Iraq) to look after an archaeologist's wife; and as ever murder ensues, closely followed by the appearance of a short balding Belgian detective with a perfect moustache. 5 out of 12, Three Star read.

2013 read
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
October 7, 2021
A rare Agatha Christie Halloween mystery!

Christie’s Middle East Ghost Story

"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. And he also jokes around, too:

"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. . ."

Dame 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 relevant to the plot, nor the culture (though a few of the visiting British characters are racist about locals, as usual). But things--ah, sweet love!--were going pretty well for the auld Dame in those days. In 1936 (the year this book came out) 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,” (oh oh, will the writing be lame?) but as it is, Christie's first female narrator, Nurse Amy, helps anticipate the charm of her Miss Marple mysteries. She's less formal than Poirot, though also less of an actual detective.

The lead archaeologist of the expedition is the world-renowned Dr. Leidner, accompanied by his charming and vivacious wife, the “Lovely Louise.” But she seems nervous. She hears noises, has seen a hand outside her window. She can't sleep. She had received anonymous letters threatening her with death if she remarried. 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? Or is it a ghost!? Is she going crazy? Are we?!

Then Louise is killed (sorry for that smallish spoiler) and Poirot just happens to be passing through Iraq (!!) to lend a hand with the investigation, with the assistance of Nurse Amy Leidner, with her storied speculations veering of course into fiction. 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 reveal what complex and contradictory creatures humans can be. Over time Poirot helps us see that anyone there could and would have killed Louise. This would seem to be a somewhat Calvinist view of the world: Dig just a bit under the surface and we could all easily be murderers. And because murder may be a habit, will the murderer kill again?

At one point Poirot observes with Leidner that there is something that archaeology has in common with solving a mystery: Both are involved in reconstructing the past. Ooh . . . (from those late night discussions the Dame might have had with new hubby Max!?).

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 more accurate name for the core as Christie sees it.

**As with any ghost story, there is the sense of impending doom, rising terror. Did Louise's 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 her fictional world is slim.

**In one sort of bizarre chapter entitled “I Go Psychic” the nurse Leidner 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 actually enters 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 in crime-solving: “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 reveal. As she expects me to be, I am, as usual. . . wrong.

This is a good one, that got better as it went along, especially 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, but then we come to the wind-up, and suddenly she seems very good indeed at what she does. Happy Christie Mallowan Halloween!
Profile Image for Adrian.
570 reviews210 followers
April 4, 2019
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
Now don't get me wrong it was still an enjoyable book but I'm afraid I've decided it has to be 3 stars only, despite my love for Poirot and Agatha Christie in general.
Profile Image for Brina.
933 reviews4 followers
January 15, 2018
One of the more 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 more 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
Profile Image for Bobby Underwood.
Author 112 books274 followers
July 24, 2017
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.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,677 reviews5,250 followers
February 21, 2018
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, choose

If you decide that modern Africa is best experienced as a voyage on a lovely boat with some lovely people, choose
Profile Image for Aimee.
32 reviews2 followers
June 28, 2008
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.
Profile Image for Melindam.
663 reviews293 followers
May 30, 2023
“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 was ...

“She'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.
Profile Image for Gabriel.
501 reviews708 followers
January 7, 2022
Asesinato en mesopotomia no me sorprendió en ningún momento, pero siempre que me pregunten porqué me gusta tanto Agatha Christie diré que es por la manera ingeniosa con la que inventa nuevos asesinatos y como ninguno de sus libros se tornarán jamás pesados por su corta extensión. Es entretenida y adictiva como pocas, no me he cruzado con un solo caso de ella que me haya aburrido o generado indiferencia.

Ahora bien, no sé si es porque llevo catorce libros leídos de Poirot o si es acaso porque veo que hay un mismo patrón que se repite en cada uno de los libros por muy pequeñas que sean las diferencias entre un caso y otro, pero me he dado cuenta que he desarrollado con esta historia una facilidad para encontrar al culpable y por si fuera poco, los motivos que le llevaron a cometer tal crimen.

No diré más de la cuenta porque reseñar este tipo de género siempre me ha costado y nunca sé si suelto algo importante, así que lo poco que diré para no repetirme es que la manera en qué fue asesinada la mujer me ha parecido un tanto rebuscada. No diría que imposible pero no tan probable como parece. De resto, el libro está bastante bien, una vez que lo empiezas lo terminas; la protagonista también me ha gustado, de hecho me sentí muy identificado porque justo como ella actuaba y pensaba ese sería yo tal cual si estuviera en su posición, por lo que no he echado tanto en falta la presencia de Poirot como en otros casos. Aunque está claro que aparece y al final desentraña todo el embole punto por punto. Ah, y mucho menos he echado en falta a Hastings ya que la enfermera Amy es una buena narradora y con una gran personalidad.
Profile Image for Kalliope.
691 reviews22 followers
December 9, 2020

I have read very few novels by Christie, in general I don’t select detective stories. Whenever I have read her works was related to my interest in languages; a translation of one of her page turners, loaded with dialogues, seemed a good entry into reading in a foreign language. This time, however, I plan to read a couple of her works in relation to a Seminar I am taking on various Archaeologists from the early generations and their Memoirs. I wrote about this in this review .

This is the second of her five novels written in relation to her belonging to a digging team in Mesopotamia during the 1930s. It was written in 1936, two years after she went East with her husband Max Mallowan to Syria to excavate along the Khabur river.

While reading this then I was not so preoccupied with the murdering activity and the finding of the Doer, but with all the references to life and practices in an archaeological site. There are many, starting with the description of the almost communal living, in which in spite of living as a professional family, the chief archaeologist, (read Max Mallowan), will call the shots.

In my opinion, the state of mind of a community is always directly due to the influence of the man at the top. Dr Leidner, quiet though he was, was a man of great personality. It was due to his tact, to his judgment, to his sympathetic manipulation of human beings that the atmosphere had always been such a happy one.

The teacher of my Zoom Seminar commented that Poirot’s thinking processes offer some parallels with the deductive reasonings of archaeologists.

You would have made a good archaeologist, M Poirot. You have the gift of recreating the past.

There is also, however, a distancing from the materiality with which Archaeologists have to engage themselves. We cannot forget that Christie had created Poirot and had become a famous writer before she met Mallowan. In this novel, she wishes to provide her Poirot with a psychological depth that goes beyond appearances.

From the very beginning I have felt that to understand this case one must seek not for external signs or clues, but for the truer clues of the clash of personalities and the secrets of the heart.

While reading this I was also interested in her comments on literary issues. There are a few also. I was curious about her selection of books that she has placed in the shelves in one of her characters. I fully agree with Christie that the book choice of any one person is an excellent indicator of this person’s character. .

I was tickled when I detected a jab directed at another female writer of detective stories, the New Zealander Ngaio Marsh, with her comment on the latter’s The Nursing Home Murder.

I was Reading “Death in a Nursing Home” – really – a most exciting story—though I don’t think the author know much about the way nursing homes are run! At any rate I’ve never known a nursing home like that! I really felt inclined to write to the author and put him right about a few points.

For one of Christies’s strengths was her power of observation, which together with her precaution of writing of settings she knew (apart from archaeology, she had joined the Red Cross during WW1, so she was very familiar with the world of nurses), as well as her acute comments on the human condition, all of this adds to her entertaining stories and plots. This is so to the point that even if I found the unravelling of the mystery and the ending unconvincing, I greatly enjoyed reading this.

Profile Image for Beverly.
833 reviews314 followers
May 8, 2022
A Hercule Poirot mystery, Murder in Mesopotamia, is narrated by a nurse who has been hired to look after a gorgeous woman who's been under a nervous strain. The setting is an archaeological dig of ancient Assyria and the sick woman's husband is the leader of the group.

Unlike most of Christie's murder mysteries, I was able to figure out who did it, but not the deeper mystery, so it kept my interest throughout. Not as full of unique personalities as I like in her books, so not as much fun. In fact, the nurse's musings sort of annoyed me.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
January 27, 2019
Murder in Mesopotamia (Hercule Poirot Series #14), 1936, Agatha Christie
Murder 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. ...
عنوانها: قتل در بین‌ النهرین؛ جنایت در شب؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهاردهم ماه ژانویه سال 1999 میلادی
عنوان: قتل در بین النهرین؛ اثر: آگاتا کریستی، مترجم: نگین ازدجینی، مشخصات نشر: تهران، آشیانه کتاب، 1377، در 304 ص، شابک: 9646350119، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 20 م
عنوان: ج‍ن‍ای‍ت‌ در ش‍ب؛ اث‍ر: آگ‍ات‍ا ک‍ری‍س‍ت‍ی‌‏‫؛ مت‍رج‍م: ق‍دی‍ر گ‍ل‍ک‍اری‍ان‌، مشخصات نشر: تهران، تلاش، 1379، در 211 ص، اندازه 16 در 11 س.م.، شابک: 9645750059؛
قتل در بین النهرین، ماجرای قتل زنی زیباست، در سرزمینی که زمانی امپراطوری بابل در آن فرمانروایی میکرد. از پرستاری به نام: «امی لدران» دعوت می‌شود، تا برای مدتی پرستاری زنی به نام: «لوئیز لایدنر» را، که همراه همسر باستان‌ شناس و گروه تحقیقاتی او در عراق هستند، بر دوش بگیرد. «لایدنر»، زنی مرموز است، که بی‌شک از مرحوم همسر نخست خویش، که گمان می‌برد هنوز زنده‌ است، واهمه دارد. اما این ترس که مورد تمسخر دیگران بوده، به حقیقت میپیوندد، و وی به قتل می‌رسد. در این میان «هرکول پوآرو» به میدان میآید و جنایت را پیگیری می‌کند و... ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,256 reviews1,133 followers
May 16, 2022
Murder in Mesopotamia … what an exotic title to roll off the tongue; conjuring up intrigue and mystery, in a faraway place and a bygone age.

Mesopotamia was an ancient region located in the eastern Mediterranean, which no longer exists as a country. The literal translation is “between two rivers”, and these rivers are the Tigris and the Euphrates. Mesopotamia corresponds mostly to today’s Iraq, but also includes parts of modern-day Iran, Syria and Turkey.

Such facts may destroy the dreamlike romance and mystery of the name “Mesopotamia”. Agatha Christie, could of course not have known the air of nostalgia and mystery she conjured up for 21st century readers, by this title. She just happened to be in the area at the time.

In 1936, Agatha Christie’s husband, the archaeologist Max Mallowen, was working on the settlement mound, at Chagar Bazar in Northern Syria. It was a productive dig, resulting in the find of 70 cuneiform tablets from the Assyrian Royal family around the year 1800 BC.

The Mallowans took many photographs of their daily life, which show Agatha Christie’s interest and involvement, but primarily she was a writer. The glass plates and and celluloid film, all in monochrome, show a clear picture of life in the desert at that time. For much of the time, however, while Agatha Christie’s husband and his team were busy excavating nearby, she would be tapping away at her portable typewriter in her tent.

Perhaps other writers, feeling homesick, would distance themselves from this, and write stories to remind them of their English home, but that was not Agatha Christie’s way. Well established now as the Queen of Crime, she knuckled down and used the material to hand, both of her environment, the daily routine, (and even most extraordinarily, some of the individuals). She created Murder in Mesopotamia.

The original cover design was by Robin McCartney, a colleague on Max Mallowen’s digs. He designed four of Agatha Christie’s dust-jackets in all. In this one from 1936, he depicts a stylised version of a dig in historic times:

But which of her detectives would be well-placed at an archaeological dig? Agatha Christie did not want to invent a new detective, but Miss Marple would certainly feel out of place here. The well-travelled Hercule Poirot, with his many connections and language skills, would surely be a far better choice.

Sadly though, Captain Arthur Hastings is not in evidence. Presumably he is attending to his ranch in South America. To take his place as chronicler, for the first part of the novel, Agatha Christie invents a new narrator, the nurse Amy Leatheran. For reasons we do not know at the beginning, she has been asked to record the events of the past few days, by a Dr Giles Reilly – the doctor in the nearest small town of Hassanieh, (and also an old friend of Poirot).

We may not know the reason, but we can have a good guess!

Dr Reilly has asked Amy Leatheran if she would be willing to take on an unusual position. Dr Eric Leidner, a Swedish-American archaeologist, is concerned about his wife, Louise. He would like to employ a nurse to be a companion and carer for her. Nobody is quite sure what her function is to be, least of all the nurse herself. Everyone at the dig has an opinion about Louis Leidner. Nurse Leatheran finds her to be likeable and charismatic, but some others seem to either detest or despise her. Her husband may be devoted to her, but Louise Leidner is generally considered to be hysterical and delusional, even claiming that someone is out to kill her.

At other times Louise Leatheran does seem to like to exert her authority. Is she cruelly manipulating the male members of the dig, or are the heightened feelings of the expedition simply due to having to live in such close proximity in spartan conditions for an extended period of time? There are anonymous letters, to be sure, but might she have written these herself? Nurse Leatheran is not sure, and neither are we.

As we read on, we learn of the various members. Firstly there are Eric and Louise Leidner, and Dr Leidner’s assistant and colleague Anne Johnson, from Yorkshire. Dr Leidner’s main assistant is the handsome Richard Carey. There is another archaeological colleague of his, Joseph Mercado, who has assisted Dr Leidner on his dig for the past two years, although now he often seems fatigued and worn. His wife Marie Mercado seems devoted to Joseph Mercado, and particularly hostile to Louise Leidner.

“I hate her so ... 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 must have drama!”

There are four other members of the team. David Emmott is a quiet young American man, whom Nurse Leatheran has summed up as being calm and self-possessed, and probably good in a crisis. He has been with the team for two years. Another young man is Bill Coleman, who has only been there for a year, as has Carl Reiter, a young American from Chicago. Carl Reiter is there as a photographer, and his youth and social awkwardness mean he is an easy target for Louise Leidner’s ridicule. The fourth member of the extended team is Father Lavigny, a French cleric, who has not been there long. He is a specialist in epigraphy, and studies the inscriptions on any discoveries they make. Sheila Reilly, the confident and outspoken daughter of Dr Reilly, is a frequent visitor. She clearly expects all the young men to pay her court.

It is clear that this is a hot-house of emotional tensions. There is underlying resentment of various kinds. Some of the members of the dig are overly formal and polite with one another, and others barely conceal their dislike. Moods swing from one extreme to the other. Yet Nurse Leatheran is assured by several people that the atmosphere used to be friendly and informal. What has been the catalyst for this? Has Dr Leidner made an unsuitable marriage? And is his wife as scared out of her wits as she seems to be? Or is everyone just tired and stressed?

We have been presented with a plan of the living accommodation, with all the rooms adjacent in a square, around a centre courtyard. This is Agatha Christie! We know that this is material, and that something will happen before too long, and it does.

There is a murder, in a locked room of course. And everyone seems to have an alibi. A Captain Maitland arrives; he is the British policeman in charge of the murder investigation, and Dr Reilly assists him. The reader is likely to suspect that they will not get very far in their investigations.

Sure enough, chapter 13 (there are 29 chapters) is entitled “Hercule Poirot Arrives”. We sit up. Nurse Amy Leatheran’s account has been entertaining enough – she seems a good body, honest and sensible, quick-witted but not overly bright – but now the real fun begins. Here is her account of him:

“I don’t know what I’d 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 moustache, 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 !”

And we have plenty of clues to play with. Everyone has secrets to hide, and more than one person is not who they seem. There are intriguing hidden back stories, one dating back to the First World War. There are switched identities, disguises, anonymous letters, thefts, forgeries, masks, hydrochloric acid, and at least two murders. It is an exciting audacious tale, which will keep you guessing right until the end.

However, although the explanations is as original and ingenious as we have come to expect of Agatha Christie, I do not consider Murder in Mesopotamia to be one of her best novels. There were occasions where I did not quite feel that the characters were behaving in a believable fashion. One may have been a little too hysterical; one a little too sullen. One a little too off-hand, or a little too jaunty, or stubborn, or un-noticing, or a host of other emotions. The hand of the puppeteer was perhaps a little too much in evidence.

Nurse Amy Leatheran was a delight, and the first dozen chapters narrated by her were lively and amusing, with observations such as:

“Poirot scrutinised [the letters] carefully as he did so. I was rather disappointed that he didn’t dust powder over them or examine them with a microscope or anything like that - but I realised that he wasn’t a very young man and that his methods were probably not very up to date. He just read them in the way that anyone might read a letter.”

I enjoyed the back story too, about Louise Leidner’s first husband Frederick Bosner,

It did not ring true either, that all the male members of the archaeological team were in love with Louise, who seemed to enjoy making people look small. Neither did I believe a rivalry could exist between such a sophisticated woman and a far younger one, Sheila Reilly. She was spoilt, certainly, this daughter of the doctor, but too mannered and keen to strike a pose, to be cleverly manipulative.

But worst was the far-fetched method of the main murder, which I found barely credible.

Murder in Mesopotamia was a risky novel for Agatha Christie to publish, for other reasons. It was to some extent a roman-à-clef, and she must have worried that it could result in a libel suit. According to Max Mallowen in his autobiography, Agatha Christie had written herself as nurse Amy Leatheran, and himself as the cheerful dependable David Emmott. These pictures from life were not too much to worry about.

However the Leidner couple were instantly recognisable. The character of Dr Eric Leidner was based on Leonard Woolley, the leading archaeologist of the expedition Max Mallowen was working on. In real life, his overbearing wife Katherine apparently made life difficult for everyone around her, and unbearable for some. She was clearly the prototype for Louise Leidner. Yet neither of these ever commented on Agatha Christie’s inclusion of them into her latest murder mystery!

Murder in Mesopotamia is an entertaining puzzle, but this fourteenth entry into the Hercule Poirot oeuvre is, I feel, just a little too melodramatic to be in the top rank of Agatha Christie’s novels.

“Murder is a habit. The man or woman who kills once will kill again.” - Hercule Poirot

“'Always it is unwise to parade one’s knowledge. Until the last minute I keep everything here,’ he tapped his forehead. At the right moment – I make the spring – like the panther – and, mon Dieu! the consternation!'
I couldn’t help laughing to myself at little M. Poirot in the role of a panther.”
- Nurse Amy Leatheran
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,921 reviews386 followers
April 8, 2022
April 2022 Appointment with Agatha

In this novel, Nurse Leatheran fulfills the role of Hastings, becoming the confidante of Poirot and giving the reader insight into his thought processes. Unlike Hastings, she is able to follow his reasoning more easily, although not completely. But then she isn't being distracted by attractive women or overly impressed by people's social class. She is a nurse, so she is used to seeing everyone as a potential patient, a great leveler. She is similar to Hastings in her very ingrained Englishness, persisting in seeing people in Iraq as “foreign” despite the fact that she is the foreigner in Iraq. (She also displays a certain judginess concerning Poirot’s self confidence that Hastings frequently expresses).

It was only four years ago that I first read this novel and the identity of the killer had been purged from my memory banks. It was the setting and the atmosphere that had stuck with me. At the point that this book was published, Christie had been married to Max Mallowan for six years. She had been accompanying him to dig sites in the Middle East, giving her first hand experience to inform her fiction. No wonder the archaeological setting is so well realized.

Well worth a second reading, as are so many of Dame Agatha's mysteries. I continue to be amazed at how she accomplished so much in such short novels.

Original Review

***2018 Summer of Spies***

It must have been the exotic Middle Eastern location, but this Hercule Poirot mystery really made me think about M.M. Kaye’s series of mysteries, set in similarly foreign settings. Last summer, I read both Death in Zanzibar and Death in Cyprus, and I have a feeling that Murder in Mesopotamia may have been one of the influences on Kaye. Perhaps it was the English nurse as narrator—an Englishwoman in an alien environment, applying her standards of judgement to the events (and to Hercule Poirot as investigator).

The solution to the crime was suitably obscure. Christie fools me more often than any other mystery writer that I’ve encountered so far. She is expert at the art of misdirection!
Christie portrays the archaeological setting so accurately—the reader can tell that she went to many dig sites with her second husband. She gets the surroundings, the finds, the group dynamics, etc. just right. You can taste the dust and feel the heat as you read.

I could also appreciate her confidence as a writer. This is a Poirot mystery, but the man himself doesn’t appear until well into the book and we see him only through the eyes of Nurse Leatheran. Altogether a very skillfully assembled mystery story, perfect for summer reading.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,970 reviews1,982 followers
December 2, 2020
Narrated by the mildly stupid Nurse Amy Leatheran, this Poirot from 1936 is a complete farrago. The crime hinges on a circumstance that is, frankly, absurd. But you know what? This is a thumping good read.

You need to know that, if you look under the following spoiler tag, there will be absolutely no point in reading the book.

So no, not credible. Not even a little bit. We do have a seriously sick case of stalking on our hands. We do have "love" curdled into obsession. We do have antiquities theft...a problem quite pressing in the Mesopotamia of today...we do have lots of drug use. We do not have any of Christie's longueurs of style that curse later efforts, that can make the later Poirots feel as though one is reading pastiche. We have a bracing, heady draft of prime-of-life Dame Agatha that draws heavily on her time as Lady Mallowan, wife of an archaeologist. She observes so clearly and sees so much and is unbelievably economical with her verbiage.

I'm so glad I had three and a half hours in the waiting room to read the Overdrive-borrowed Kindlebook!

Agatha Christie's Poirot: S08E02 Murder in Mesopotamia

Rating: 4* of five

Hastings gets chucked into the proceedings. Drug use is not treated as lightly as Christie did, resulting in a final solution much more unpleasant than the books. Poirot meets the victim while alive, and learns her Dark Secret (weird first marriage) from her own lips. He is part of the atmosphere, going into the dig to meet with a suspect, which isn't in the book. Antiquities theft, on the other hand, is sort of hand-waved away. No serious action is taken.

But really now...we're led to believe that Countess Vera Rossakoff telegraphs Poirot from Baghdad and he picks up sticks and comes to this hot, dusty, yucky place?! She's nowhere in the book, I assure you, because Dame Ags wouldn't've done such a foolish thing. Even in a story predicated on such a ridiculous premise.

Still. Pretty pictures, Poirot as he was Divinely Ordained to Be (read: Played by David Suchet), and a very satisfyingly absurd climactic scene. Fun, fun, fun.
Profile Image for Geevee.
359 reviews209 followers
June 8, 2022
Murder in Mesopotamia is an enjoyable between the world wars "closed room" mystery that Agatha Christie does so well.

The reader is brought along by Amy Leatheran a qualified nurse who is on assignment from England to look after a person associated with an Archeological Dig.

Nurse Leatheran is a capable and likeable narrator who shares her thoughts as she settles in. These thoughts turn to worries and horror when one of the Dig's community is murdered.

Hercule Poirot, who is in the vicinity, is called in to help. This, his fourteenth adventure, taxes the formidable and great man's little grey cells. There is much to consider with many avenues and possibilities on both the motive and the circumstances.

Throughout Nurse Leatheran provides the reader with useful information and a interesting commentary of events, which culminate with Poirot with his usual, expert attention to detail and skill in listening to others solving the case.

A fun read in the spirit of 1930s Christie with a backdrop of the period's interest in archeological digs in the Middle East (in this case modern day Iraq).
Profile Image for Piyangie.
529 reviews489 followers
December 29, 2019
After a few months of break, I'm continuing yet again with the Poirot series. This time Agatha Christie takes the readers to Iraq and archaeology and excavation. It is novel setting and it provided an interesting background for the murder-mystery.

A murder occurs within the house where which a party of archaeologists are residing while carrying out their digging. And conveniently Poirot is crossing the borders and passing through Baghdad, so he was summoned to help with the investigation. With a little assistance from an unusual quarter, Poirot solves the mystery behind the murder and exposes the criminal.

While this is not one of the best murder-mystery stories by Agatha Christie, yet it was interesting enough. And as in all Agatha Christie murder-mysteries, the story is quite engaging keeping the readers in suspense and inviting them to the guessing game of discovering the culprit. But what really struck me in this particular story is the Christie's choice of a victim whom the reader finds difficult in sympathizing.

All in all, this is pretty good read though not one of her best.
Profile Image for Metodi Markov.
1,339 reviews315 followers
October 20, 2022
Прилична история, на която обаче липсват блясъкът и напрегнатата фабула на някои от по-известните криминални романи на Агата Кристи.

Става да се прочете, но интригата няма да се запомни дълго.


"Животът е бойно поле, а не пикник."
Profile Image for Bren.
820 reviews129 followers
February 23, 2021
Agatha Christie es fabulosa y mientras más la leo, más me gusta, en está ocasión nos lleva a Bangladesh en medio de una expedición arqueológica y a través de la narración de una enfermera que llega ahí para cuidar a la esposa del jefe de la expedición nos enteraremos de todos los hechos.
Sin duda, sobre la historia no hay mucho que pueda decir que no haya dicho antes, la mejor palabra para definirla es, ingeniosa, por muchos autores que lea, creo que nadie le gana en este rubro a Agatha, no es solo el que se le ocurran asesinatos ciertamente diferentes y ocurrentes, es también que no es de esas autoras donde una vez leído, has leído todos, fue una escritora fuera de serie por su enorme capacidad inventiva, pero sobre todo narrativa.
Eso es lo que me llama la atención, lo mismo puede escribir un libro en primera persona, que en tercera persona o con un narrador desconocido, aunque este último es el que menos me he encontrado, pero más allá de eso es que a pesar de que sus libros tienen, por supuesto, un sello característico, una manera muy peculiar siempre de, sobre todo, desenredar y desvelar los acontecimientos y al asesino, todo lo demás resulta siempre refrescante, en este caso ha sido precisamente conocer los hechos a través de los ojos y la mirada de un espectador que ni es cercana a Poirot y una completa desconocida para quienes leemos regularmente a Agatha, no es la primera vez que me encuentro con esto en los libros de Agatha, claro, pero aun así el que nunca sepas que te vas a encontrar a la hora de abrir uno de sus libros, me encanta.
Tengo una pequeña apuesta conmigo misma siempre que comienzo uno de los libros de Agatha y es si sabré adivinar quien es el asesino, debo confesar que me va ganando Agatha por goleada, pero en está ocasión si que adivine que era, lo que no me esperaba eran las motivaciones y lo que había detrás del asesino, solo Poirot habría sido capaz de deducir una cosa así.
Profile Image for Ellery Adams.
Author 56 books4,297 followers
July 23, 2022
Nurse Leatheran's approachable narrative of this Poirot case was refreshing. Sometimes, Poirot steals all the thunder when he appears, and since he tends to hide cards up his sleeve, it was nice to participate in the sleuthing alongside Ms. Leatheran. Christie infused this one with plenty of twists, and while the murder depended on a fact that felt pretty ridiculous to me, I still enjoyed the book. I do wish there'd been more tidbits about the actual dig and local culture, and we only get the briefest glimpse of this fascinating setting along the Tigris River.
Profile Image for Jaya.
439 reviews223 followers
February 27, 2017
Looks like am on my annual Christie's pilgrimage. Re-living and loving my most favourite ones. I have lost count how many times iv read this one, a great example of a crime passionnel. The first time I read this story, it touched my teenager soul. I suppose after a decade and a half my not so naive soul still isn't immune to it :D
All the stars and a few more to this one.

P.S: In the end of the story Poirot says, he plans for a restful journey of peace and quite on The Orient Express. Hah! Lot that he knows what awaits him!..Am off too, to follow him there ^.^
5,309 reviews115 followers
May 7, 2022
4 Stars. With regard to the murder of Louise Leidner, it appears that none of the archaeological digging party could have done it; later Hercule Poirot shows that many of them had a motive and most of them could have committed the deed. There's the core premise for many of Agatha Christie's novels! In the life of Poirot, this episode takes place a few weeks before he took a fateful ride on the Orient Express - one of the great detective fiction novels of all time. We are in Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now modern Iraq. Poirot is holidaying nearby; he is asked to help when the much loved wife of the renowned scientist, Dr. Leidner, is found dead of a head wound in her room. She had recounted to our narrator, nurse Amy Leatheran, only a day earlier how fearful she was for her life and that she had been receiving threatening letters. Were they from her first husband Frederick Bosner thought to be deceased? Or were they fictitious, the sign of mental illness? Poirot asks us all to take a journey into the mysterious past, where the life and character of the victim is an essential question. And we do. (October 2019)
Profile Image for MTK.
488 reviews34 followers
March 26, 2017
Από τα αγαπημένα μου. Πολύ έξυπνη εκδοχή του μυστηρίου του "κλειστού δωματίου", ενδιαφέροντες χαρακτήρες και μια απολαυστική αφηγήτρια με δηκτικό χιούμορ.
1 review
June 17, 2020
Because I am into mystery book lately, I am tried to make a review about this book. Actually, this is not my first book of Agatha Christie. I have read some books such as Nemesis, A Caribbean Mystery, partners in crime, N or M, and others. However, this is my first book of Hercule Poirot’s. series. The title of the book immediately caught my eyes, “Murder in Mesopotamia”. I think, it will be great because in my mind there is a murder in the place where we can find some artefacts, so I kinda look for it.
The book started with Amy Leatheran, a nurse from London who visited Baghdad with Mrs Kelsey and her baby, but Mrs Kelsey already had booked-nurse there. After leaving the Kelsey, Amy had got job from Dr. Reilly. She had to nurse a lady named Mrs Louise Leidner who had fancies – many people said. Then, she met Dr. Eric Leidner, Mrs Leidner’s husband who is the head of large American dig. Based on her husband explanation, Mrs Leidner was afraid of something. Then, Amy agreed to go to Tell Yarimjah – where the expedition house took a place. Before Amy went to Tell Yarimjah, she heard some gossips about the expedition member, especially Mrs Leidner from Mr and Mrs Kelsey, Major Pennyman, and a young squadron-leader. They talked about that Mrs Leidner was quarrelsome. When she went to Dr. Reilly’s house with Mr Bill Coleman – who picked her up from Baghdad to Hassanieh – Sheila Reilly also talked that the atmosphere there is queer. In expedition house, Amy Leatheran met Mrs Leidner for the first time and her first impression did not like she had imagined her. Then, she met the rest member of the expedition, Miss Anne Johnson, Mr Carl Reiter, Mr and Mrs Mercado, Mr David Emmot, Father Lavigny, and Mr Richard Carey. From what Amy observed from the members of expedition, Mrs Mercado did not like Mrs Leidner very much. Miss Johnson also seemed jealous of her because Dr. Leidner always paid attention to his wife rather than more focused on his work.
One night, Mrs Leidner woke up and heard something in her next room. After the room had been checked, there was no one there. After that incident, Mrs Leidner told a story to Amy. Mrs Leidner said that this was the second marriage, the first husband, Frederick Bosner, was killed in war. After that, she began to receive a letter from her dead-husband. It was threatening letter which he would kill Mrs Leidner if she had any relationship with other man. She believed that the person who wrote the letter is Frederick or his younger brother, William who obsessed with Frederick and will took revenge to her. Because of that, Mrs Leidner became afraid of someone. However, On Saturday afternoon after she told the story to Amy on Friday, she had found dead in her room. The cause of the death is because a terrific blow on the front of the head. She was undoubtedly being murdered, but who was the murderer because no one saw stranger entered the house because all of people in their own business. After that, Dr. Reilly and Captain Maitland came to the house and made a conclusion that the murderer is from inside the house. After that they invited Hercule Poirot, A Belgian Private Detective to investigate the murder. In the investigation, he interviewed all the people with some helps from Amy. In the middle of investigation, Miss Johnson is also being murdered. So, who is the real murderer? To know the answer you have read the book.
I thought that the first chapter is directly talked about Hercule Poirot because it is Hercule Poirot series. In fact, Hercule Poirot is mentioned on chapter 13, and finally appeared in chapter 14. The book is started with Amy Leatheran and used I’s point of view of Amy Leatheran instead of using third people point of view like from Miss Marple series or Tommy and Tuppence series.
This book has 29 chapters. It is quite long, but most chapters are short. Hence it makes me not bored. However, the plot is slow because it needs 12 chapters until the murder happened. Most chapters after the murder are interviewing the people and asking their perspective about Mrs Leidner. It is also need two chapters of the Poirot’s explanation about the murder.
The chosen word in this book is really easy to understand and makes me really enjoy reading this book. In middle of reading this book, I was wondering why the author wrote detail description about each place of the room and then I realize. It is related to the murder. You have to read the book to know that.
For the character, I really admire Hercule Poirot. He is described as an odd, plump little man, quite old, with an enormous moustache, and a head like an egg. His appearance made Amy just wanted to laugh. He is also using old method like take a note of the interview, order the data and then make conclusion in his mind without share it first to the others to make sure of it. But, at the end – BOOM – he made excellent conclusion that I just nodded my head agreeing with his statement.
In conclusion, this book is really worth to read even though this book is published in 1936. There are many plot twists that the reader will not expect. The book also makes the reader will guess who is the murderer while read chapter by chapter. I really recommend this book to everyone, especially people who interest with mystery or detective story. Don’t forget to read other books of Agatha Christie.
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677 reviews304 followers
March 27, 2022
“Devi morire: non c’e più scampo per te”.

Non c’è più scampo (trad: no hay escapatoria) o Asesinato en Mesopotamia es el libro 14 de la saga del famoso detective belga, Hércules Poirot. Este libro me lo he leído en italiano. El nivel de idioma oscila entre un B1+/B2. Además, no contiene un vocabulario especifico pues Agatha Christie escribe de manera clara y concisa. Se podría decir que es un libro para todos los públicos.

“Quando le persone son costrette a vivere insieme per troppo tempo si danno sempre vicendevolmente fastidio”.

El principio sí es verdad que me ha parecido interesante, no lo voy a negar. Tenía ganas de saber que pasaba. Sin embargo, se me empezó a hacer bastante bola a partir de la mitad del libro. Los acontecimientos se me hacían eternos y parecía que el caso no se iba a desarrollar sino a partir de mitad del libro, cuando en otros libros de la autora en los primeros capítulos ya tenemos la presentación de los personajes, así como un cadáver. Sé que va a sonar mal esto, pero me alegré que por fin hubiese un muerto.

“Il delitto è un’abitudine”

La protagonista, la enfermera (de cuyo nombre apellido ya ni me acuerdo) llegué a un punto que no me hacía ninguna gracia. Me aburría ella también y me parecía un poco tonta. Asimismo, creo que me gustan mucho más los libros en los que mi querido capitán Hastings es el narrador del caso pues es uno de mis personajes favoritos de estas sagas, es un amor. Yo me casaba con él, sin problema.

En cuanto al resto de personajes y al caso en cuestión me han parecido un reciclado de otros de sus libros y bastante clichés. Eso sí, no llegué a averiguar quien fue el asesino, también porque llegué a un punto que me daba igual, como si era el mismísimo conde de Montecristo.

Creo que lo que más me alegra además de terminado es de haberlo leído en un idioma que aún estoy estudiando. Quieran ustedes o no eso hace sentirse bien con una misma. Sinceramente creo que si lo hubiera leído en español lo hubiera abandonado, pero conociendome igual lo hubiera odiado incluso más.

“Credete a me, la difficoltà non consiste tanto nel sapere come cominciare, ma soprattuto como finire”.
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