Inspired by Archaeology

"Appointment with Death and Murder in Mesopotamia were created from the surroundings of the archaeological digs themselves. The first one is based in Petra and was nicknamed Rose Red Murder and the second revolves around Chagar Bazar and Ur. Both books contain many characters loosely based on Nima and Max’s archaeological friends and helpers, and apparently the books, when they appeared, were eagerly scanned by the participants. Murder is Mesopotamia is indeed dedicated to “my many archaeological friends in Iraq and Syria”. Not all were pleased, but history does not relate whether this was because the people concerned were, or were not, characterised in the books!

Undoubtedly the tour de force of Nima’s oriental writings was Death Comes as the End (written in 1943 as I was born!) This is a story set in ancient Egypt with ancient Egyptian characters and is a dark, brooding tale with a family that falls into disarray when Imhotep, a wealthy widowed priest and farmer from ancient Thebes, imports a new and thoroughly evil concubine called Nofret. The book is full of violent murder, cunning poisoning and intrigue. It is impeccably researched, with the help of an old friend of Max’s called Stephen Glanville, and is particularly clever because although there is quite enough authenticity to transport the reader convincingly back to ancient Thebes, the intrigue and plotting would certainly not be out of place in the twentieth century. Without Hercule Poirot, or Miss Marple, this book has never been famous, nor the fastest seller, but I think it is one of Nima’s finest achievements." - Mathew Prichard

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