Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review--> Hercule Poirot #14- Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie

Title and Author: Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
Print Length: 288 Pages
Publication Date: 1936
Language: English
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Suspense, Thriller, Detective Fiction, Classics

Book Review:
When Nurse Leatheran is called on to look after Loiuse, the wife of Dr. Leidner who is busy in the excavation activities going on at the Hassanieh dig in Iraq, she finds the atmosphere there to be filled with tension and one of impending doom. 
 "...I dont know what it was exactly...Nobody seemed quite natural. There was a queer atmosphere of tension..."

Loiuse or "Lovely Louise" as the Doctor's wife is called, is said to be afflicted with hallucinations. She claims to have seen a scary "yellow face" outside her window at night and strange scratching sounds outside her room etc. which though seen by her is not witnessed by anyone else in the house!
No one believes Louise and amidst the back story of strange threatening letters and mysterious lights at night, Loiuse is murdered with a blow to her head. The windows are locked from inside and there are witnesses who claim that no one went in her room or came out of it.
How did Louise die?
Is there any truth in her hallucinations?
As Hercule Poirot is called in to investigate, it is soon established that this is a crime most "fantastic"!

Agatha Christie married Max Mallowan who was an archaeologist and went on many excavation trips to the middle east. Her knowledge of the archaeological sites, the behavior of people there and the local color is very expertly used in this mystery. Add this knowledge to the sheer ingenuity of her mystery building skills and we get a mystery most entertaining and so unconventional that it leaves us spellbound. The solution when it comes is so obvious and yet so extraordinary. This is the skill of the Queen of Crime who makes the reader ignore the glaring obvious. 

The characterization is complex and still very teaching. Christie effectively flaunts her knowledge of human nature and uses this knowledge to give us characters that are a great study. The story is character based and it is by deciphering their nature that the reader can solve this mystery!

"She had been beautiful. It wasnt the kind of looks you were jealous of -you just sat back and admired. I felt that first day I met her that I'd do anything for Mrs Leidner!"

“The popular view that a child forgets easily is not an accurate one. Many people go right through life in the grip of an idea which has been impressed on them in very tender years.” 

It was very interesting to follow Poirot as he tries various tactics with different people to get information and also amuses the readers with his tricks. While he looks and acts funny, his every action is well planned and aimed at solving the crime.

The story flows fluidly and the author handles a variety of characters with ease. She throws clues at suitable junctures and increases the interest of the reader with some well chosen words whenever it looks like the story is slowing.

“I joke, mademoiselle," he said, "and I laugh. But there are some things that are no joke. There are things that my profession has taught me. And one of these things, the most terrible thing, is this: murder is a habit...” 

While I loved the mystery, I did crave for more descriptions of the middle east at that time and a deeper look into the local people's lives.

Overall, I loved the story and was shocked at the conclusion. A mystery that deserves to stand among the bestseller mysteries of all time, Murder in Mesopotamia is a great read with a solid plot, complex and insightful characters and a story that takes us back in time to Iraq where we are able to visualize the work and the hustle bustle at the excavation site, the thrill of new discovery, the feel of places and people almost a hundred years back in time and a story that will make you forget everything! I give it 4 stars out of 5 and highly recommend it to all book lovers. :)

Buy From:
Amazon.com: Paperback
Amazon.in: Paperback | Kindle Ebook
Flipkart.com: Paperback | EBook



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