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. 

The Julius House by Charlaine Harris


After my Morocco travels, it's a daunting task to bring my blog up to date, but I'll get there! 

The fifth Aurora Teagarden Mystery picks up some of the momentum that was missing in the third and forth novels of the series. An old unsolved crime gives readers the chance to dig a bit further into Lawrencetown's quirky past. Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed, typically, giant old houses bode well for mysteries, so The Julius House is a win-win. The book also results in some serious developments regarding the heroine's personal life, that's been ever-evolving since the first novel, Real Murders. You can learn more about the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries in my first post about the series. 
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