Review: Death in a Desert Land (Agatha Christie #3) by Andrew Wilson

I would venture to say that most people have heard of the great mystery writer Agatha Christie. She’s written so many classic mysteries and I would be hard pressed to meet someone who hasn’t heard of at least one of her books in one way or another.

Because she is so recognizable and such a classic mystery writer, I was thrilled to see that someone had turned her into her own fictional sleuth. My first thought when I saw that someone had done this, was that it sounded hokey. Agatha Christie is such an icon and to mess with that and turn her into a fictionalized detective sounded trite…..but at the same time, I was also here for it.

Especially when I read the description. It sounded like Agatha Christie was going to be kind of a female Indiana Jones—at least in this book—who solves crime. And to be honest, I didn’t care how hokey this book could potentially be, I just knew that I needed to read it!

Book Summary

Queen of Crime Agatha Christie returns to star in another stylish mystery, as she travels to the excavation of the ancient city of Ur where she must solve a crime with motives that may be as old as civilization itself.

Fresh from solving the gruesome murder of a British agent in the Canary Islands, mystery writer Agatha Christie receives a letter from a family who believe their late daughter met with foul play. Before Gertrude Bell overdosed on sleeping medication, she was a prominent archaeologist, recovering ancient treasures in the Middle East. Found near her body was a letter claiming that Bell was being followed and to complicate things further, Bell was competing with another archeologist, Mrs. Woolley, for the rights to artifacts of immense value.

Christie travels to far-off Persia, where she meets the enigmatic Mrs. Woolley as she is working on a big and potentially valuable discovery. Temperamental but brilliant, Mrs. Woolley quickly charms Christie but when she does not hide her disdain for the recently deceased Miss Bell, Christie doesn’t know whether to trust her—or if Bell’s killer is just clever enough to hide in plain sight (summary from Goodreads)

Review

My first thought when I finished this book was ‘where have you been hiding?!’. This series is a new to me series, as is the author and as soon as I finished I went and brought the other two books in the series because I loved this one and needed more!

This book had such great tone and presence about it and I loved that the author stayed true to Christie as a person, as well as the time period. This author has written a lot of non-fiction/biographies from what I understand, and this series is his first fictional writing. I think being a non-fiction writer helped him stay true to the period as well as Christie herself. I was glad he didn’t make her into a caricature of herself, he kept her smart, a little romantic and introspective. I think fans of Christie’s novels will find a lot to love with this series.

Other things that went through my mind while reading this one were how much I love exotic settings for murder mysteries! I adored the Amelia Peabody series and often try to find another series that might fill that void and this particular book at least, reminded me of all the things that I love about the Amelia Peabody books—intelligence, interesting mystery, exotic location, archeology, and some cheek.

This book is the third in a series so naturally I was worried about picking this book up late in the game, but I didn’t feel lost in the slightest. The author does a great job keeping the reader up to speed on previous plot points but overall this book focuses on the mystery and for that, there isn’t much back story needed.

On the whole, I loved this book and truly enjoyed picking it up each night! I can’t wait to read the other books in the series as well, what an interesting heroine! Also, the cover alone makes me want to read this book. It screams adventure and archeology and I would easily have grabbed it off the shelf at any bookstore!

Book Info and Rating

Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Atria Books
ISBN 1501197452 (ISBN13: 9781501197451)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Atria Books, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: mystery, detective novel, historical mystery

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