- first published 1951
- ISBN 978-0-00-819635-6
- 294 pages
Baghdad is the chosen location for a secret summit of superpowers, concerned but not convinced, about the development of an, as yet, unidentified and undescribed secret weapon.
Only one man has the proof that can confirm the nature of this fantastic secret weapon – a British agent named Carmichael. Unfortunately the criminal organisation responsible for the weapon’s development will stop at nothing to prevent him entering Baghdad and presenting his proof to the assembled delegates. Can Carmichael enter the city against such odds?
Into this explosive situations appears Victoria Jones, a girl with a yearning for adventure who gets more than she bargains for when a wounded Carmichael dies in her arms in her hotel room.
Now, if only she could make sense of his last words ‘…Lucifer…Basrah…Lefarge…
Dedicated to "All My Friends in Baghdad", this story is based around an impending meeting, taking place after World War II, of the superpowers America and Russia. It gave the author an opportunity to vaunt her knowledge of archaeology and of Islamic/Arabic culture.
I first reviewed it on this blog ten years ago. I am re-reading it with my U3A Agatha Christie group, and it will be our last book for this year.
I was surprised to find that it really had so many connections to PASSENGER TO FRANKFURT which we read recently and which was published 20 years later.
Among them are
- a nefarious organisation siphoning of funds to use for evil purposes
- the disappearance of talented young from all walks of life (also raised in DESTINATION UNKNOWN) and their dedication to "making the world a better place"
- the conflict between ideologies
- the possibility of World War III
- the cult of the young Siegfried
- the idea that World War II concluded unsatisfactorily and really left more problems than it solved.
Things I have found out
- They Came to Baghdad was first published in the UK in eight abridged instalments in John Bull magazine from January to March 1951, and in Canada, in an abridged version in Star Weekly Complete Novel, a magazine supplement published in Toronto, in September 1951.
- the full version was then published in March 1951 by the Collins Crime Club
- Victoria, the heroine/detective, never appears in another Agatha Christie novel
My rating: 4.3