Murder in Mesopotamia

  • Hercule Poirot
  • Novel
  • 1936

When Amy Leatheran travels to an ancient site in the Iraqi desert to nurse the wife of a celebrated archaeologist, events prove stranger than she has ever imagined. Her patient’s bizarre visions and nervous terror seem unfounded, but as the oppressive tension in the air thickens, events come to a terrible climax – in murder. With one spot of blood as his only clue, Hercule Poirot must embark on a journey across the desert to unravel a mystery which taxes even his remarkable powers.

A woman who doesn't lie is a woman without imagination and without sympathy.

Dr Reilly

More about this story

Full of rich detail from Christie’s own travels in the Middle East, Murder in Mesopotamia sees Poirot on an archaeological expedition, not unlike those his author attended. It isn’t long before a murder interrupts the progress of the dig and Nurse Leatheran requests Poirot’s assistance.

By 1936, Christie had frequently travelled with her husband Max Mallowan on his archaeological digs. The cast of characters in Murder in Mesopotamia is largely derived from the people she met, including the fierce and determined Katherine Woolley, who first introduced the couple, and whose tempestuous nature is likely to have inspired the victim in the novel. Robin Macartnay who acted as draughtsman on the Mallowan's own digs, illustrated the jacket for the Collins Crime Club edition.

A TV adaptation was broadcast in 2001 as part of the series starring David Suchet. Hastings was added to the story, played by Hugh Fraser, and becomes the uncle of one of the characters. The story was also dramatised for BBC Radio 4 in 2005, featuring John Moffatt as Poirot. It was published in English as a graphic novel in 2008, having been translated from the French edition of 2005, Meurtre en Mésopotamie.

Did you know?

  1. Agatha Christie used her first-hand experience of archaeological digs to provide the setting for the novel.

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