The 8:55 to Baghdad
Andrew Eames was in Aleppo when he discovered that Agatha Christie had stayed at the same hotel, some 70 years earlier.
He became intrigued, and decided to learn more. He discovered, what was to him, a totally unexpected side of the maven of drawing room mysteries - an adventurous side with a passion for archeology.
He became so fascinated, that he set off to follow her journey by train, from the well-heeled community of Sunningdale in England, to Baghdad. Of course, the journey was quite a different one in 2002, from Christie's in 1928, especially given the proximity to the events of 9/11.
Eames is so wonderfully descriptive, that you can smell the spices of the Middle Eastern bazaar, or the polish of the gleaming brass fixtures and marquetry of the train.
He is also terrific at imparting colorful, ineresing historical facts about everything from the history of The Orient Express, the specific coach he rode in, and even historic personalities who had ridden the exact same coach; to Biblical history. Eames seems to have done his research very well.
He writes just as vibrantly about the personalities that he encountered and the situations in which he found himself.
I loved this book unreservedly and have definitely added it to my list of favorites!