Reading Challenges

February 24, 2011

Agatha Christie's Destination Unknown

As you've probably gathered, in January I read a handful of books written by Moroccan authors or set in Morocco in preparation for my travels. As so often happens, once in Morocco, I found even more such books, so you'll continue to see quite a few Moroccan-themed posts in the coming weeks as I work my way through these new purchases. My husband read Destination Unknown during our trip and then passed it along to me. He suggested it would be an enjoyable read as the book travels through various parts of Morocco that we visited. 

A woman arrives in Casablanca with hopes of escaping her sad personal circumstances back in England, but when she realizes that problems travel with us wherever we go, she attempts to end her own life. A mysterious fellow traveler manages to prevent the suicide and engages her as a spy on a dangerous mission instead. Pretending to be someone she's not, the protagonist, who feels she has nothing to lose, dives into a new life that carries her across the Moroccan landscape without ever knowing where she'll end up next. She travels alongside a host of quirky international scientists with a political agenda, but figuring out just what their agenda is becomes a mystery in and of itself. The book does a nice job of mixing both World War II and Cold War spy themes (with an almost sci-fi feel at moments, a first for Christie!) in a North African setting. As with most novels written by the Queen of Crime, the ending produces a twist that proves assumptions are never safe, at least not in Christie-land. 


  1. Lots of Christie showing up for the Vintage Challenge! She always a good one to go to....

    I've got you posted on the progress site.

  2. Thanks Bev! I'm ready to get going with Charlie Chan next!

  3. I've often wondered about Christie's work. I've never read anything by her...

  4. I think she' worth the read, especially since so many mystery/crime writers have been influenced by her. Some of the plots might seem a bit conventional now (and the "surprise endings" not really all that surprising), but then it helps to consider that at the time, she was really the innovator of the surprise "twist". I always like the vintage ambiance of the books with lots of boat and train travel :)


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