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on 27 June 2004
Victoria Jones is a recently sacked shorthand typist who has an elastic approach to telling the truth, and a great longing for adventure "to Victoria an agreeable world would be one where tigers lurked in the Strand and dangerous bandits infested Tooting". She gets a chance at adventure when she meeets Edward, a handsome and charming young man on his way to Baghdad to work for an organisation called the Olive Branch, the purpose of which is to foster understanding between nations by getting young people together to read Shakespeare and Milton. He wishes that Victoria could join him there, and by a lucky coincidence, the very next day she is offered a job accompanying a lady with a broken arm on the journey out. She enterprisingly provides herself with fake references and claims to be the niece of archaeologist Dr Pauncefoot Jones, excavating at Basra. Victoria is entranced by Baghdad, but before she has a chance to find Edward, a wounded man stumbles into her hotel room and dies in her bed. Who is he? And who is the mysterious Mr Dakin? And what are the people at the Olive Branch really up to. And who on earth is Anna Scheele? This is a tremedously enjoyable book. Victoria is a delightful heroine, imaginative, romantic, enterprising, and quite outrageously untruthful. There are wonderful vivid descriptions of Baghdad, a complicated and exciting plot, and plenty of humour. Great fun.
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on 15 September 2006
They Came to Baghdad is one of Agatha Christie's thriller adventure novels, and it has many parallels with her much earlier work: The Man in the Brown Suit.

Like Anne in The Man in the Brown Suit, They Came to Baghdad involves another young British heroine, Victoria Jones, who sets off on an adventure to exotic climes. She quickly gets mixed up in an international plot, and proves herself to be as feisty and intrepid as any decent heroine should be. The book is particularly fascinating for the snapshot it presents of Baghdad and Iraq in the 1940s, which was directly drawn from Christie's own experience there.

Those wanting a straightforward murder mystery Poirot/Marple-style will possibly be disappointed, as will those who insist on a water-tight and credible plot, but Baghdad is still enormous fun. And without wanting to give plot endings away, if you know a bit about Christie's marital status in the 1930 and the 1940s, the respective choices of romantic hero in the two works is somewhat touching.
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on 8 January 2015
I've loved this book since I was 12 and now I read it whenever I'm feeling nostalgic. Marmite on toast, a cup of tea and They Came to Baghdad is one of my great pleasures in life.

The book itself is a lighthearted thriller set in the Baghdad that my grandad (stationed there in WW2) used to tell me about. Its heroine, Victoria Jones, is the kind of spirited Christie young girl that could surely only ever have existed in novels who finds herself wishing for adventure, finding it, and meeting it head on. As with a couple of other of her novels, there are the usual archaeological references and at times you feel Christie is almost living through her character but this just makes it more enjoyable for me.

Spies, kidnappings, assassinations, idealists and world leaders converging in Baghdad for a summit conference. And Victoria Jones, shorthand typist at the centre of it all. A glorious thriller, lighthearted, escapist but with the underlying menace of a hidden enemy, They Came to Baghdad is the best of Christie's non-detective novels.
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on 6 September 2007
If you are looking for a traditional murder-in-the-grange-by-the-butler-type murder mystery, then this might not be for you. This is a tale of international politics, spycraft and intrigue.
At the heart of the book is Agatha Christie's trademark ingenious plot. The first couple of chapters are heavy going, as the many characters in the book are introduced and the plot is a bit cryptic, however it certainly gets better.
I thought the characterisation and description in this book was better than any Christie book I have read and there is certainly more emotion and romance.
Overall this book is excellent and certainly recommended.
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on 2 December 2013
I loved this book. As other reviewers have mentioned, it starts a little slowly, but I was feverishly racing through the later chapters to see what happened to Victoria. As a character, she becomes more and more likable as you get to know her, and it's really important to you that things turn out well for her. I found this a real edge of the seat story with some classic adventures and escapes from seemingly hopeless situations. One part in particular was very creepy - it filled me with horror and made my blood run cold... The descriptions also made me nostalgic for the Middle East - I was reminded so much of Syria (where unfortunately I won't be going again any time soon) and Egypt. Lovely descriptions of the archaeological dig and great characters. Fantastic!
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on 9 May 2012
Ehis is my favourite Agatha Christie story and was read well by Emilia Fox, although I had never thought of the heroine as especially cockney, which somewhat grated. It is a mixture of mystery and romance, totally far-fetched and quite dated but very charming, and the heroine is a favourite, funny, impulsive and resourceful. I would recommend this as a fairly light-hearted tale, with Agatha Christie's magic touch.
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on 23 July 2013
A change from detective stories. This one is set in Iraq whilst it was still a British protectorate. Its an espionage story, and a very good one. It also gives a fascinating glimpse of Baghdad and other locations after the second world war. Highly recommended.
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on 21 April 2013
I have read the book and this is my best way to travel. Listeneing to this in the car. Well read
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on 9 June 2016
This was a book by Agatha Christie that I had not been aware of before - I have many of her other books. I really enjoyed the story, the descriptions draw a colourful picture of life in the heat and dust of Egypt, Iraq and the neighbouring mountainous areas; very evocative. Excellent adventures with satisfactory ending.
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on 3 October 2001
This is a Christie book which differs from the majority of her work. Most obviously, the main character is not one of her famous personalities - Poirot, Marple, Tommy and Tuppence. Furthermore, instead of murder committed in the middle of someone's ordinary life, as so many of her stories are shaped, this book tells of a heroine who goes looking for excitement, romance and foreign adventure. She finds herself in a strange land, surrounded by unfamiliar faces and much that she sees but does not understand. When a murder occurs it seems so in keeping with the sinister atmosphere created by Christie that it does not stand out. It is just one of many mysteries to be solved.
This was a very easy read, enjoyable whilst it lasted, but easily forgettable, unlike some of her other books.
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