Friday, 30 May 2014

Book Review: Murder In Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie.....

This week I've finished another in my very recent conversion to Agatha Christie novels, featuring my TV favourite, Hercule Poirot, Murder In Mesopotamia

Set on the site of an archaeological dig in Iraq, Christie drew on her own personal experiences for this particular tale. It was on a visit to Ur in Iraq that she met her husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan in 1928. A keen semi-amateur archaeologist herself, she passionately supported her husband's career throughout her life.

Published in 1936, this was the fourteenth Poirot story. Christie had continually written new additions to the series since 1920, though there were still another thirty one to come at this point! As I've mentioned here before, I was a big fan of the TV adaptations of the Poirot stories long before having picked up a Christie novel, but I'm pleased to say that knowing the outcome of the mystery beforehand did not detract from my enjoyment. Indeed, I have to say that the one crucial element to the story that I found outrageously far fetched back when I first saw the TV version, is equally as ridiculous in print, but this is fiction, and entertainment after all.... I won't spoil your enjoyment by revealing the particular plot device that suspends one's disbelief above and beyond natural limits, you'll be sure to spot it for yourself.

That aside, Christie's characters have great, almost vaudevillian appeal, the plot is as always, extraordinarily clever. Her style of writing is enchanting, in it's own way entirely in keeping with the time at which the novel was written. This is Art Deco novel writing. 

I can't help thinking after having read just a couple of Christie's works that reviewing them is something of an exercise in futility. There is absolutely a 'sameness' about them, that is not actually a negative trait. One definitely seems to know what one is going to get from Agatha Christie, at least in terms of the broad strokes, which I think has been a major contributing factor in her huge popularity over almost ninety years. She is formulaic in her writing, but it is a successful formula that makes me want to keep reading more.

B.L.M. Stevie