Thursday, 24 August 2017

Death Comes as the End - Reading My Books

I thought this would be a "same ole, same ole" Agatha Christie book when I took it down from the shelf to read, but gosh, was I wrong!

I will share the blurb first which will tell you a little about the reason I was so wrong.

"Murder - four thousand years ago

Seeking peace after her husband's death Renisenb returns to her father's house on the banks of the Nile.  But beneath the calm surface of his prosperous household lurk greed, lust and hate.  And with the arrival of the arrogant concubine Nofret the family's passions explode in murder..."

There is also a quote from the Scotsman (a newspaper) that says "A fascinating problem... baffling the most perspicacious reader."

The blurb may be short and sweet - and contain grammatical errors (sorry I can't resist noting them!) - but it tells us just enough to tempt us in and is, in my view, an accurate temptation to read more.


The book is set 4000 years ago in 2000BC in Egypt and tells us the story of the family of Imhotep, his sons and their wives, his mother and daughter - newly bereaved after the death of her husband - and his new concubine Nofret.

At the start of the book there is an explanation about the seasons of ancient Egypt and how their calendar worked - three seasons and got to lagging behind over the years because it wasn't totally accurate - and also about something called a Ka Priest.  Essentially this is someone who was left property and wealth in return for maintaining a persons tomb and praying for them, giving offerings and so on.

Imhotep was a Ka Priest and that is how he came to be so wealthy and have so much land for his family to farm.  He had lands in the south and north and the story starts when his daughter has returned home after the death of her husband and Imhotep returns from his lands in the north with his new concubine Nofret - his two wives having died some years before.  The family do not like Nofret and the family are very upset by her presence.  Not long after Imhotep returns a scribe arrives with news that there have been wrongdoings at the lands in the north and Imhotep departs leaving Nofret behind.  That is when the troubles start.

The mystery is eventually solved after many harrowing events, and comes to a good conclusion.  I was totally wrong about the killer, to start with I didn't know who did it and then fixed on one person before being sure that it was another and I just waited for them to be revealed as the baddy.  I was wrong!  Completely wrong and this just shows how easily I am taken in by people.  I believed that someone was sneakier than they were and someone else was nicer than they were.  That is my life all over!!!

I found this book fascinating, it was interesting to read about life in ancient Egypt and I imagine that Christie's depiction was probably very accurate because she spent a lot of time at archaeological digs with her husband Max Mallowan who was a archaeologist so she would have had expert advice and seen many things first hand.  It was an interesting take on a murder mystery too because of the setting, the way the story was told and the characters and methods of dispatching people too which are all very different to any other book I have read before.

Would I recommend this book and did I enjoy it?  Yes, on both counts.  I really enjoyed it and because I was lucky enough to be able to take the time I read this over just two days.  I was hooked from the start, didn't want it to end and loved reading every page.  I think those are pretty good reasons for saying yes, I recommend this book to you.  I give it a 9 out of 10.  It misses one point, perhaps unfairly, because I was so fascinated by the details of life of the family I would have loved to have heard more, but that wouldn't have been relevant to the story, so I understand the reason it wasn't there.  So I am perhaps unfair in my mark, but it is what I am sticking with.  This one goes off to the charity shop, but that is only because of my lack of shelf space.  As far as I can tell there hasn't been a television of film adaptation of this book, but I am sure that it would make a great TV film and be really interesting to watch - perhaps one day!

So, that is it really for this review!  It was a totally different Agatha Christie book for me, a totally different sort of story in a totally different era of history and I really enjoyed it.  I would love to know if you have read this one and what you thought of it.  Do tell!

Happy reading!

Amy

p.s. my other book reviews can be found here - including reviews of other Agatha Christie books.

13 comments:

  1. I haven't read this book yet but it's coming up in my list, I'm looking forward to it now after your review.

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  2. I haven't read it but I've just seen an exhibition of photos of Agatha Christie's life. The photos were from her childhood onwards and were wonderful. I think the exhibition is going to tour the country, do have a look if it comes nearby.

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  3. Sounds very interesting. I've never read anything by Agatha Christie!

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  4. I didn't know Christie had written anything like this. It sounds very interesting xx

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  5. I haven't read many mysteries, but I might have to put this one on my to-be-read list.

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  6. I love how the grammar bothers you - I can't help but notice and get annoyed with bad grammar too (although I'm sure there is plenty from me, on my own blog!) I sometimes look into grammatical rules etc, just because I find it interesting, to be honest! I actually stumbled upon an article about using 'but' or 'and' at the beginning of sentences, and found it quite interesting, as it says that the teachers were wrong to try to stop it! Apparently, it is ok to use them! I thought you might like to read it, as it sounds like you have the same interest in that kind of thing as me!

    http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/can-i-start-a-sentence-with-a-conjunction

    I love that kind of thing! I'll be honest, I didn't even know 'and' and 'but' were called conjunctions - it shows how much grammar they taught us when I was at school! :)

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  7. Honestly, I have not read a book this year, but this one looks like one I would enjoy. I have managed to start one though, "Home" by Toni Morrison. So far, so good.

    Andrea

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  8. Phew it's a blooming relief as you show up on my new feed as "Death comes" so I rushed over here without reading the rest of the title clutching a tissue and a cuppa for a dear blogging friend in need...
    Ha ha! You still get a hug from me on this Friday and I'll sign off with a glad all's well and a cheery happy reading! :)
    Wren xx

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  9. Sounds like an interesting read Amy. I've been struggling with getting into any books this year. I've scraped through a few boring tales, and am now trying to find time for my latest attempt. I think I have too much on my mind and just can't settle into them.
    Wendy

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  10. Another interesting, inspiring and very enjoyable review, Amy!
    I had never heard of this book even though Wikipedia tells it has been translated into Finnish in 1974. (Wikipedia also tells that "a BBC television adaptation for broadcast in 2017 has been announced"!) I'm not a fan of historical novels, but this one was surely written with expertise.
    Wishing you a happy weekend and sending you many hugs! xx

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  11. Love reading your reviews! On the subject of Agatha Christie we saw her house on the river while in Devon last year

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  12. That really is something quite different from the usual stories you expect from AC.
    Glad you enjoyed it so much.
    Lisa x

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  13. Well, I learned something new ... I didn't realize Agatha Christie wrote a mystery in this ancient setting. Will have to see if I can find a copy. Thanks, Amy.

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