Murder in Mesopotamia: Agatha Christie & Archeology

From the Melbourne Museum website. Reproduced with permission.

What do crime fiction and archaeology have in common? A public forum at Melbourne Museum on 9 September will solve this intriguing question with a focus on famous crime writer Agatha Christie’s 1936 novel Murder in Mesopotamia.

A distinguished panel of Melbourne crime writers and international museum experts will discuss the genesis of Christie’s novel, consider the place of archaeology in her career and life, as well as examine the similarities between crime fiction, archaeology and museums.

“Agatha Christie is one of the best-selling authors of all time and was greatly inspired by archaeology. She helped on one of the most important digs of the last century, the uncovering of the great ancient city of Ur, Mesopotamia, in modern Iraq,” said Bernard Caleo, Programs Officer at Melbourne Museum.

“Not only was her writing inspired by archaeology, but it was at the dig in Ur that she met her husband, the archaeologist Max Mallowan, whom she accompanied on every one of his digs in the Middle East.”

Several novels came out of Christie’s ‘archaeological life’ and the dig at Ur lead to her inspiration for the novel Murder in Mesopotamia. “Her life with Max Mallowan brought Agatha Christie happiness and the material for several of her novels,” said Caleo.

The Murder in Mesopotamia: Agatha Christie and Archaeology forum features:

  • Angela Savage, author of the crime novels Beyond the Night Bazaar and The Half-Child, who will chair the forum.
  • An exclusive pre-recorded interview with the British Museum’s Henrietta McCall, an expert in Agatha Christie and archaeology.
  • Kerry Greenwood, author of the Phryne Fisher series of murder mysteries, recently been adapted to TV, who will discuss the ‘golden rules’ of detective fiction epitomised by Christie’s writing.
  • Dr Patrick Greene, Museum Victoria CEO and archaeologist, who will provide insights from his own experiences on digs and speak about his recent trip to Egypt.
  • A special cameo appearance by detective Hercule Poirot, one of Agatha Christie’s most famous characters.

Agatha Christie wrote 66 detective novels as well as numerous short story collections and plays and was known as the queen of crime. She would be turning 122 years old on 15 September.

Murder in Mesopotamia: Agatha Christie and Archaeology is on Sunday 9 September at 2pm at Melbourne Museum. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for concessions and MV Members. An additional $10 will allow entry to The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia exhibition. Bookings are required, please call 13 11 02.

The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia exhibition is on show until 7 October 2012.
Adults $24, concession $16, children $14 (includes entry to Melbourne Museum).

Presented by Melbourne Museum and Sisters in Crime Australia.

Museum Victoria Public Relations and Media contact:
Amanda Linardon, 03 8341 7726, 0400 130 307 or

For all general public enquiries, contact the museum’s Discovery Centre

About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. She won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and the Scarlet Stiletto Award short story award. Her latest novel is, Mother of Pearl, published by Transit Lounge. Angela holds a PhD in Creative Writing, is former CEO of Writers Victoria, and currently works as CEO of Public Libraries Victoria.
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3 Responses to Murder in Mesopotamia: Agatha Christie & Archeology

  1. no one engages you like christie…


  2. kathy d. says:

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the room where that panel will take place! Even the Belgian detective will be in attendance!


  3. This sounds absolutely fascinating. I hope to make it!


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