Travel journalist Andrew Eames was in the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo when he met an elderly lady who had known Agatha Christie. Fascinated by the exotic history of this quintessentially English crime writer, he decided to retrace the trip from London to Baghdad which she made in 1928 - a journey which was to change Agatha Christie completely and led to her other life as the wife of an archaeologist in the deserts of Syria and Iraq. Travelling from London to Baghdad by train on the eve of the Iraq war, through the troubled areas of the Balkans and the Middle East, Eames found stark contrasts to the old Orient Express route as well as some unexpected connections with the past.
If there ever was a lesson in how to construct a travel book, this is it. Eames has the acute eye and polished pen of an outstanding observer ... a splendid read
Two terrific subjects ... the surprisingly adventurous life of Agatha Christie and the major hotspots of current world politics
Vivid and atmospheric ... Eames has succeeded in the difficult task of closing an entertaining travel narrative with the brutal conclusions of modern history
The best travel book of 2004
A thoroughly enjoyable read that combines an Agatha-centric travelogue with a thought-provoking journey through a benighted land