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07 July 2017

Book Review: Murder in Mesopotamia

Murder in MesopotamiaMurder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I scrolled WAY down the list of editions to find this edition because when I pulled this book off the shelf to take on vacation, I realized that I bought it for 25 cents at the used bookstore that benefitted the Manchester Cancer Society in Mandeville, Jamaica. There's even a date stamp; 09 March 1982.

I don't remember reading it. Though I'm sure I did. There were moments in the text that I remembered. But I didn't remember whodunit.

I DO remember, as a young teenager, being enthralled with the setting; an archeological dig in the middle east. As an adult, I saw the disdain Christie had for the non-British vagaries of that society; the imperial sense of superiority. But I didn't see that as a kid; I superimposed Raiders of the Lost Ark over Christie's setting and, for a while, I wanted to be an archeologist. It's rather disappointing to re-read this as an adult and think "no running water?" "oh, how tedious!" "that sounds hot and miserable!" instead.

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Book Review: The Labors of Hercules

The Labors of HerculesThe Labors of Hercules by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read a 1964 Dell edition that was originally 45 cents and truly fit in my pocked. Back when we didn't have phones to keep us occupied on trains and buses.

Enjoyable set of stories, wherein Poirot decides to take 12 cases that will parallel the 12 labors of Hercules. Since his name is Hercule (and his brother's name is Achille, though he only shows up here in a mention).

I don't, as a rule, enjoy short stories as much as full-length novels because once I get to know the characters, boom, the story is over.

For example, in "The Horses of Diomedes" Poirot is in a small town, gently pumping an old hen for information. He asks if she is acquainted with the classics and then reveals that the case he's working on emulates his namesake, Hercules and his taming of the wild horses of Diomedes.
"Don't tell me you came down here to train horses--at your age--and always wearing patent leather shoes! You don't look to me as though you'd ever been on a horse in your life!"
"The horses, Madame, are symbolic. They were wild horses who ate human flesh."
"How very unpleasant of them. I always so think these ancient Greeks and Romans are very unpleasant. I can't think why clergymen are so fond of quoting from the classics--for one thing one never understands what they mean and it always seems to me that the whole subject matter of the classics is unsuitable for clergymen. So much incest, and all those statues with nothing on--not that I mind that myself, but you know what clergymen are--quite upset if girls come to church with no stockings on--let me see, where was I?"

I would like Poirot to have 100 more conversations with this gal.

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