They Came to Baghdad

  • Novel
  • 1951

Baghdad is the chosen location for a secret summit of superpowers, concerned but not convinced, about the development of an, as yet, unidentified and undescribed secret weapon.

Only one man has the proof that can confirm the nature of this fantastic secret weapon – a British agent named Carmichael. Unfortunately the criminal organisation responsible for the weapon’s development will stop at nothing to prevent him entering Baghdad and presenting his proof to the assembled delegates. Can Carmichael enter the city against such odds?

Into this explosive situations appears Victoria Jones, a girl with a yearning for adventure who gets more than she bargains for when a wounded Carmichael dies in her arms in her hotel room.

Now, if only she could make sense of his last words ‘…Lucifer…Basrah…Lefarge…’

Either my best, my most reliable man has gone mad: or else - this thing is true...

Crosbie, They Came to Baghdad

More about this story

From a classic Miss Marple (A Murder is Announced, 1950) to the deserts of Iraq. Hot on the heels of the success of her "Fiftieth" book, Collins licensed a serialisation of They Came to Baghdad to John Bull the weekly magazine which ran from January to March 1951. The Collins Crime Club first edition followed on the 5th March.

Agatha and Max Mallowan kept a house in Baghdad for many years and she knew the city very well. Although a departure from her usual murder mysteries, the novel was well received on publication. Anthony Boucher in The New York Times thought it was “All in all, the most satisfactory novel in some years from one of the most satisfying of novelists.”

A very human heroine, whose powers of invention, just like those of her creator, never fail her.
Times Literary Supplement

An interesting comparison can be made between the romance themes of this novel and The Man in the Brown Suit, which is also primarily an adventure novel, rather than a straight whodunnit. In that book, the exciting, mysterious young man that falls into the heroine's room ends up as the romantic hero. In Baghdad, an exciting, mysterious young man also falls into the heroine's room, but he is disposed of, as is the other exciting, mysterious young man that the heroine has followed to Baghdad. A more conventional and staid archaeologist ends up as the romantic hero; Christie herself was married to Mallowan by this date.

Did you know?

  1. This is one of the few Agatha Christie novels where one of the minor characters is a real person.

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