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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment With Death, 14 Sept. 2012
This review is from: The 8.55 To Baghdad (Paperback)
This is a fascinating travel book, cleverly combining past and present as the author re-traces Agatha Christie's 1928 sojourn via Orient Express and Taurus Express to the great archaeological sites of the Middle East. Here, the Queen of Crime's big 'find' amongst the sun and sand was her second husband, Max Mallowan, allowing her to get her life back on track and to become the global best-seller she now is. Andrew Eames duly plots biographical details and references to her various famous books as they emerge from the route followed - Murder On The Orient Express is the obvious one, but lots of her books were inspired by places and people encountered en route to her ultimate destination at Ur. So the book's journey starts with an amiable-enough jaunt on the Venice Simplon Orient Express - a well-trodden experience, so not that illuminating. Things get more interesting as the author has to start fending for himself and tries to make sense of the Balkans. He works his way through Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria before arriving in Turkey with lots of interesting historical discussion along the way. From here, he heads further east into Syria and finally Iraq - just as the 2nd Gulf War is about to be launched. If this was an Agatha Christie novel, then the pace of the book would be spinning inexorably towards the thrilling denouement on the final page - Eames doesn't have the benefit of that sort of conclusion. Instead, he sort of grinds to a halt in the desert sand, pretends he's being bombed by NATO, then flies home. A disappointing and sudden end to an otherwise compelling journey.
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Location: Richmond

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,925