On Sunday, I went to the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History and spent part of the afternoon with the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, in the exhibition Investigating Agatha Christie. I have been a fan of Hercule Poirot for decades–and have been re-reading all volumes in order these last couple of years–and, evidently, I know of Christie’s work on her second husband’s archaeological digs.
Photo taken by my brother, who tagged along for the afternoon.
The exhibition was interesting because it presented Agatha Christie beyond archaeology (I wished there had been more of that, though). We learned more about her as a girl (with great family pictures to go with the information) and while I knew she had been trained as a nurse, I didn’t realise that she also had a degree in pharmacology. No wonder there is murder by poison in several of her novels!
The second floor was dedicated to archaeology, Near Eastern archaeology to be precise because Sir Max Mallowan worked at Ur, Niniveh, and Nimrud (among other places), but there is a small section on Egypt as well. Artefacts from the British Museum in London as well as the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto were displayed in this archeological section. There were great excavation photos and I did notice on a wall panel a mention that certain archaeological sites presented in the exhibition had been destroyed by Daesh this past year (many people gasped at reading this). That touched me particularly…
I visited on my own, but there was a guided tour at my heels and I did eavesdrop a little (it was hard not to!). Should you plan to visit the exhibition, do take the guided tour–it sounded like great fun! The exhibition brings remarkable context to the literary work of this prolific author and it’s worth a visit if you’re a fan of Poirot, Miss Marple or anything else written by Agatha Christie.
Are you looking for a little something archaeological to do with the family during the Holidays? If yes, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History is presenting an interesting exhibition about Agatha Christie and archaeology. Indeed, the Queen of crime is intimately linked to archaeology: not only did she used several important historical and archaeological sites in a number of novels, she also was married to archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan, whom she accompanied on excavations in Mesopotamia.
Excerpts about the exhibition from the Museum’s website:
Pointe-à-Callière is mounting Investigating Agatha Christie, an original exhibition focusing on an exceptional woman whose unusual life and compelling novels left their mark on international literature. The exhibition, to run from December 8, 2015 to April 17, 2016, will look at Agatha Christie through her work, her imagination and her world, including archaeology. It is one of the major international events planned to mark the 125th anniversary of the famous novelist’s birth, on September 15, 1890.
Christie drew heavily on archaeology and history as inspiration for many of her famous novels, including Murder in Mesopotamia, They Came to Baghdad, Appointment with Death and Death Comes as the End. She also described daily life on dig sites in a fascinating little book entitled Come, Tell Me How You Live. She wrote that an archaeologist and a detective have much in common: both must come to understand an event (recent or in the distant past) using their observation skills and clues that are brought to light, piecing them together and relying on a bit of luck, too!
No wonder many archaeologists are fans of Christie’s novels! Indeed, I count myself amongst them: I am quite fond of Hercule Poirot (slowly but surely, I have been re-reading all the Poirot stories in order). I’m very much tempted to go see this exhibition. Perhaps I might have time during the holiday…