I don't know when I started reading Christie but I've been reading her most of my adult life. Out of her 80+ novels and short stories, I have read 65 of them and hope to read the rest. I fell in love with Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple from the beginning and continue to enjoy them on PBS's Masterpiece Theater. The actor David Suchet is the quintessential Poirot--he has nailed the character to perfection. So many actresses over the years have played Miss Marple that I don't have a favorite.
But my favorite Christie novel, They Came to Bagdad, does not feature either of those sleuths. It's a stand alone among all of her works. I read it in 1989 and it was the one novel of hers that I enjoyed the most. I have even mentioned it in one of my novels, Who'll Kill Agnes? In fact, that novel, a satire on gracious Southern living has quite a bit of Christie influence and some people have told me that the novel reminded them of Hyacinth Bucket (Boo-kay)in the Britcom, Keeping Up Appearances. However, I wrote the novel long before I ever saw that show.
But I digress.
According to Wikipedia, the book "was inspired by Christie's own trips to Baghdad with her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan and is also one of few Christie novels belonging to the action and spy drama genres, rather than to mysteries and whodunnits."
The novel centers around a young tourist named Victoria Jones who discovers a dying secret agent in her hotel room who says three mysterious words to her before he dies. Without giving away more of the plot, suffice it to say that Christie's own marriage to an archaeologist may have been the inspiration for one of the characters in Victoria's life.
I have always been a fan of international intrigue and this one entertained me more than most.