I have either not previously read nearly as many Poirot novels as I had thought, or my memory is far, far worse than I fondly believe. Because this story was entirely new to me, in every particular, and since it is such an excellent one, I feel certain I would have retained, at the very least, a general feeling of goodwill towards it, and have remembered its title, had it ever actually crossed my brain.
For all that it is set in the sun-bleached sands of Iraq, at an archaeological dig in the desert that is, of course, being conducted predominantly by foreigners to the land — because, infuriatingly, the Middle East has long been an outpost of Empire — this novel takes on quite a chilling and even Gothic note, as a beautiful, beloved wife is found dead, and a shady cast of suspects keeps us guessing to the very end. Told mostly from the perspective of practical British nurse Amy Leatheran, of course Hercule Poirot shows up — why is he always around when these things happen? I have never once had a murder occur anywhere near to me — to get to the bottom of what is one of the more ingenious modus operandi I have ever encountered in detective fiction.
The story’s pace is gentle, but no less compelling for it, and I continue to be impressed by how well these books — if not the social mores and imbalances of the world they present — continue to stand the test of time.
The next Poirot novel, in publication order, is called Cards on the Table, and I am pretty sure I have never read that one, either. All this time, I thought I’d Poiroted all I could Poirot in this life — how wrong I was.
TBR DAY 154: Murder in Mesopotamia (Hercule Poirot #14) by Agatha Christie
TIME ON THE TBR: ~ 5 years.
PURCHASED FROM: Vintage shop.