Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
They Came To Baghdad: Agatha Christie, December 9—18, 2013
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊
It’s fair to say this is not your standard Agatha Christie. Gone is Poirot, and of Miss Marple there is no sign. There isn’t even a great deal of wondering about “whodunit”, and there’s certainly no English villages.
Young, sassy, sexy Victoria Jones is an adventurer, compulsive liar and the worst typist in London. Not long after getting the sack (not for the first time, no doubt) she meets a dashing young man called Edward (suck it up Meyers, Christie beat you by 60 years!) who is off to Baghdad and so the besotted and bonkers heroine duly finds a way to stalk him out there.
The characters are bursting with life and colour, from the ever-hospitable Marcus to the positively barmy Dr. Pauncefoot Jones. Victoria herself is great fun, and highly likeable even when trotting out the most appalling whoppers.
There’s a great deal of humour that laces the tone and keeps it relatively frothy despite its look at an apparently dark and murky underbelly of society. Somehow it’s all quite civilised in a Christie sort of a way, but there are a number of moments when your jaw just bangs on the floor.
There are quite a lot of names to remember at first, particularly when trying to bear in mind who is on which side. Christie could have mined this novel much more – Sir Rupert, for example, might have had a much bigger part. It feels like it stayed very surface when there were opportunities to develop the characters more and deepen the plot.
It’s a fabulous romp through Iraq and terrific fun. Most definitely one of the best casts ever assembled by Christie and an episode you won’t want to miss!