Agatha Christie was a prolific writer who churned out one or more books each year for decades. She was invariably on the Best Seller lists in several countries at any given moment, usually had at least one or more plays running in London and saw several films made from her novels. One would imagine her life as divided between writing her novels in some comfortable English country house or attending various events publicizing her latest work or supporting some worthy cause. Instead of this life in the public spotlight for many years she spent every winter 'season' accompanying her husband, Max Mallowan, on archaeological digs in the Middle East, usually living in primative conditions and assisting him with his work. This book is her description of that part of her life, where she was not Agatha Christie, the world famous writer but Mrs Mallowan, the boss's wife.
This chronicle, written and published against her agent's and publisher's advice was written shortly before WWII broke out and describes life on archaelogical digs in the Middle East. Christie gives us descriptions of areas that figure prominently in today's news, Beruit, Basura, Afghanistan. Events that shape present day headlines are recent events at this time, the Armenian massacres for example. While Christie mentions these larger events her focus is on the day to day lives of those around her, the interactions of Europeans, Arabs, Kurds and others. She describes a time when a twenty five mile trip into the nearest town could take two or more days, and where communication was almost nonexistent. In this exotic location she relates homey little tales of village life such as Miss Marple would know (though without the murders).
As another reviewer has already mentioned these memoirs are reminiscent of Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody novels both in setting and wry tone. For fans of Christie it is a treat to get a glimpse into this very private woman's private life. From time to time a situation or person that has appeared in her stories can be seen here 'in real life'.