Friday, August 17, 2012

Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie

Cover of Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
Murder in Mesopotamia is one of the early Agatha Christie mysteries. It stars Hercule Poirot, and it’s part of the Poirot in the Orient set that I’m reading. The novel was published in the summer of 1936, and it’s perfect for summertime reading. The narrator of the story is Ann Leatheran, a nurse called in to help with a woman, Louisa Leidner, who seems to be having issues with fear. As Nurse Leatheran finds out, Mrs. Leidner is receiving threatening letters from her first husband, who was supposed to have died in a train wreck while trying to escape from execution for treason. When Mrs. Leidner found out about her husband’s treason, she turned him in to her father, who was in the US defense office. Every time Mrs. Leidner was close to a man, she would receive a threatening letter that would cause her to drop the man. She did not receive a threatening letter when she married Dr. Erich Leidner, an archaeologist. However, after the marriage the letters started up again. When Nurse Leatheran appears on the scene, the Leidners are in Iraq on an archaeological dig. Shortly after Nurse Leatheran starts on the job, Mrs. Leidner is murdered. Hercule Poirot happens to be passing through on his way from Baghdad, and the local police call him in to assist with the mystery.

I really loved the book. Although I read the book several times, I would have to admit that it’s not obvious who the murderer is and how the murder was committed, Even the second murder of Dr. Leidner’s assistant, Miss Anne Johnson, wasn’t an obvious one. Christie did a great job in telling the story through Nurse Leatheran’s eyes. She gives her opinion of Poirot, not impressed at first, but then seeing him as the skilled surgeon that she was assisting. Of course, at the end, Poirot gathers everyone together, and after explaining how everyone could have done the deed, he finally explains how it really happened. This is a great Christie story, and I would highly recommend it.

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