Death in a Desert Land

Washington Square: Gallery. (Agatha Christie, Bk. 3). Jul. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781501197444. $28; pap. ISBN 9781501197451. $17ebk. ISBN 9781501197468. Mys
Wilson’s third “Agatha Christie” entry (after A Different Kind of Evil) sees the famous writer traveling to an archaeological dig at Ur at the request of the British Secret Intelligence Service, tasked with finding out if the well-known adventurer Gertrude Bell was murdered. After a close call with a thief in Baghdad and a coincidental rescue by the dig’s photographer, Agatha arrives at Ur and meets the crew assembled there. Leonard Woolley and his wife, Katherine, are hosts to a priest; a secretary; an architect, and his nephew; an ultrareligious American millionaire, his wife, and flirtatious daughter. Each of these individuals has quirks, but none as great as Katherine, whose behavior verges on madness. As Agatha pursues her investigation, secrets and intrigues are uncovered. A shocking murder leads her to discover both the identity of the murderer and answers to Bell’s death.
VERDICT As in the beloved Agatha Christie novels, a large cast of characters and many red herrings keep readers guessing. A strong sense of place and a thoughtful protagonist add interest. For readers of classic mysteries and, of course, Christie’s legions of fans.
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