Publication: 11th July 2019 – Simon & Schuster UK
I’m Mrs Christie. I think you are expecting me…
Baghdad, 1928. Agatha leaves England for the far-flung destination, determined to investigate an unresolved mystery: two year ago, the explorer and the writer Gertrude Bell died there from a drugs overdose. At the time, the authorities believed that Bell had taken her own life, but a letter now unearthed reveals she was afraid someone wants to kill her…
In her letter, Bell suggests that if she were to die the best place to look for her murderer would be Ur, the archaeological site in ancient Mesopotamia famous for its Great Death Pit.
But as Agatha stealthily begins to look into the death of Gertrude Bell, she soon discovers the mission is not without its risks. And she has to use all her skills to try and outwit a killer who is determined to stay hidden among the desert sands…
I do love Andrew Wilson’s series of historical novels that has as its protagonist none other than the Queen of Crime Agatha Christie. DEATH IN A DESERT LAND is the third book in this fabulous series in which she takes the place of her creations and becomes a detective herself. After her mysterious disappearance and a case in Tenerife in the first two books, now Agatha travels to Iran to investigate the suspect suicide of an explorer on behalf of the British Secret Intelligence Service. She infiltrates herself in a team of archaeologists digging in Ur (former Mesopotamia), but soon her investigation is complicated by the tension between the members of the group and an unexpected murder.
The author craftily mixes real-life characters and events with fictional ones to create a gripping and twisty story. In true Agatha Christie’s style, the plot is multi-layered and intricate with suspicious deaths, murders, and a long list of suspects all with their own motives (I almost expected Hercule Poirot to make an appearance). The detailed descriptions of the evocative and claustrophobic setting of the desert and the archaeological site, the history of the place, the treasures, the local people, make the story feel more authentic and intriguing.
I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie and her novels and, as such, I put her on a pedestal, imagining her invincible, but Andrew Wilson portrays her not only as resolute, smart, and creative, but he also describes her insecurities, her fears, and her shyness making her more realistic and relatable. She is surrounded by a cast of characters that are well-developed and intriguing, all excellently playing an important part in the story.
DEATH IN A DESERT LAND is a must for all fans of Agatha Christie out there. The novel will take the reader in a fantastic journey of mystery and twists.
A big thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the novel.