How Archaeology Influenced Agatha Christie’s ‘Death on the Nile’

Smithsonian explains how accompanying her husband during his archaeology trips in the Middle East inspired one of Agatha Christie’s most notable works.

Poirot’s comparison is an apt one that reflects his creator’s oft-overlooked interest in archaeology. As the wife of Max Mallowan, a British archaeologist who led digs in Syria and Iraq, Christie often accompanied her husband on his trips to the Middle East, all while she was at the peak of her powers as a best-selling author. She spent her mornings writing and her afternoons in the field, photographing excavations and conserving and cataloging finds. The methodical nature of the work greatly appealed to the mystery novelist, who “was of course fascinated by puzzles, by the little archaeological fragments,” as Charlotte Trümpler, who co-curated an early 2000s exhibition on Christie and archaeology, told CNN in 2011. “[S]he had a gift for piecing them together very patiently.”

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