Mysteries and Writing

Death Comes As The End (1944) by Agatha Christie

Posted on: August 20th, 2013 by Sylvia Sarno No Comments

Death_Comes_as_the_End_1944_US_First_Edition_cover[1]Foolish patriarch, Imhotep, is ka-priest of the Meriptah tomb in ancient Egypt. When his young concubine, Nofret, turns him against his grown children they rise up against her. Multiple murders follow. Who is doing all the killing and why?

The love story that unfolds alongside the "investigation" adds to the mystery and provides the reader with an anchor character to follow along with. Will the young widow Reniseb marry her father's handsome new scribe, or her father's trusted man of business? Both who fall under suspicion, along with pretty much everyone else.

Since there are no detectives in ancient Egypt the mystery is solved by the characters taking turns puzzling through the evidence. That this book doesn’t have a Poirot or a Marple, with whom the reader is likely already acquainted, an introspective main character, in Reniseb is a necessity. That Reniseb is also a very likable character makes this novel even more fun to read.

It was Christie’s friend, Professor Stephen Glanville, who suggested she write a book set in ancient Egypt, and who provided her with the research necessary to create a realistic setting. Christie once said she found the act of writing detailed story settings tedious. Thanks to the Professor, the world in this novel is richly depicted. I can see the sprawling homestead the characters (most of whom are quite neurotic) share. The pomegranates they consume. The oils they rub on their bodies. The jewelry the women wear. And the sparkling river meandering through the desert.

Death Comes In The End is an intriguing read and the only Christie book set in ancient times. I hope you enjoy it too!

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