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Publisher's Summary

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..."

©1951 Agatha Christie Mallowan (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London UK

Critic Reviews

"A very human heroine, whose powers of invention, just like those of her creator, never fail her." (Times Literary Supplement)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun story and easy to listen to

This is one of Agatha Christie's adventure stories, so if you're looking for her traditional "whodunnit?" this won't be it, but it is still a lot of fun and surpassed my expectations.

Emilia Fox's performance was excellent. I only gave her four stars because her male voices don't sound like real men! haha, but this is an issue with almost all narrators performing voices of the opposite sex.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • MigratingFishSwim
  • 11-13-16

Like an Eric Ambler, but with a heroine

Leaves behind typical English bourgeoisie setting, and leads with a bright, resourceful, working class heroine. Very enjoyable and gripping, my new favourite among all the Christie novels I've read.
Narrator seems to think that women over 40 talk in shrill braying tones, but other than that bit of sexism and racism, is pretty good

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • KittyPryde1962
  • 08-28-16

Not an obvious Christie tale.

Love this slightly silly story, very 1950s paranoia/spy type narrative with a charming and humorous heroine in Victoria Jones. Unfortunately it is occasionally let down by some of Emilia Fox's accents and voices (something I've heard before in her other adaptations, (it is a shame the publishers couldn't overcome their gender expectations and just use Hugh Fraser for all of the Christie adaptations).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Hannah
  • 07-26-09

Not Christie's best but still worth a go

Being a major fan of both Christie and Fox cannot I'm afraid blind me to the fact that this is not one of Agatha Christie's more stellar works. The story really lacks any of the suspense or urgency of her other crime novels and some of the characters are a bit slack.

However like all her work it is laced with divine comical satire and brillant observations of human nature through said characters. Plus the heroine Victoria Jones - while perhaps a bit silly - is absolute fun and a peasure to identify with and travel along with on her wacky adventure filled trip to Baghdad.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 10-25-08

Another great read from Emilia Fox

Excellent story, brilliantly read by Emilia Fox as she makes the characters really live. Its almost like a drama production! Highly recommended, you won't be disappointed if you like Agatha Christie.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LHENWaJaBF
  • 08-14-18

Escapist Retro Thriller, Emilia Fox perfect.

Christie casts her secret spell for this willing listener as so many others, Among the leading names female narrators, Emilia Fox is unsurpassed and is particularly good at reading Christie's books. Fox is efficient and without rushing or plodding recounts a character's back story with as much appeal as the more thrilling aspects of a chapter of high drama. Many readers adopt too much dramatic emphasis, Emilia Fox cleverly keeps up the pace, delivers the back story without theatrical shifts, and implies a request that the listener pay attention. I first read Agatha Christie as a young girl, they held me wrapt until I had finished each of her works, always amazed at the identity of the murderer responsible for the bloody crime or crimes . Fifty years later I am held just as tightly to the books and enjoy the audible quality and sense of fresh material being delivered, and manages this without any effort at all. Today I enjoy the stories as much as ever. My interests lie just as much in the historical detail as in the well crafted story. The whole book starting with the extraordinary talent of Mrs Christie for delivering yet another winner, and a large part of the great author's talent for telling a tale must go to Emilia Fox for her well judged delivery of Christie's works. Bravo. Excellent. Hugely recommended.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher Leach
  • 06-29-18

exciting adventure<br />

Cristie draws beautiful ly on her experiences as archeologist wife and brings to life the sights, and sounds of Baghdad with mystery and humour, one of her best.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • G R
  • 01-18-18

Superb read.

Gripping from start to finish. Brilliant twists! One of my favourite Agatha Christie's book! A++++++

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dr. R. Brompton
  • 12-24-17

A cracking Eastern Adventure

This is one of my favourite Agatha Christie stories as it combines a plucky heroine, daring escapades and (perhaps the real star of the show) the country and people of Iraq. Agatha Christie was well travelled in the East and spent a lot of time helping her archeologist husband Max Mallowan at his digs. I feel that her love of this region and it's people comes out in the details described in the book and really brings it to life. This is a 'spy' story rather than a straightforward 'whodunit' and the listener occasionally needs a strong 'willing suspension of disbelieve', however, aside from that this is a cracking story and one that many will enjoy.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Irish Shash
  • 04-04-17

great yarn, great narrator

Really enjoyed this spy adventure story with the young female heroine Victoria Jones at its heart. Emilia Fox changes voices and accents seamlessly and her timing is perfect when narrating the humourous lines. I loved her 'Victoria'; who'd have thought Ms Fox could sound so cockney! Thoroughly enjoyable.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mme Jabini
  • 03-14-16

The clever lying of Victoria Jones

I did love listening to this story, although there were just a couple of moments when I mentally switched off. Well read. Enjoyable.

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  • David Lee
  • 05-24-15

A wonderful story

Very good like this a lot the story was very riveting 👌👌👌👌👌 my attention was captured