Death On The Nile
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ibsn13: 9780062073556

Agatha Christie is described as the “Queen of Mystery” and the “Queen of Crime”.

After reading through Death on the Nile for the first time, I’d recommend that we add the “Queen of Camp” to that list.

Death on the Nile is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I don’t think that was the intention of the author almost one hundred years ago when it was first published but reading it now I was chuckling nonstop at how campy and absurd it is.

Hercules Poiroit, the world famous private investigator specializing in murders, finds himself on a boat on the Nile. He was looking to go on vacation, take a break from his work and relax.

Unfortunately for M. Poirot, there are more than a dozen rich British people on the boat with him capable of murder.

Soon enough a murder is committed and then it’s up to M. Poirot and his buddy Colonel Race (who also happens to be on the same boat for some reason) to solve the crime.

Think about what that would actually be like and take a gander at a few scenes I’ve picked out which had me rolling on the floor laughing.

Scene 1:

Hello world famous private investigator specializing in murder investigations, let me talk to you about who I want to kill in precise detail and also here’s the gun I’m going to use.

Scene 2:

“So we’ve got to go somewhere.

[…] “I suppose we might as well go on to Egypt. It doesn’t make any difference.”

“It’s certainly not a matter of life or death,” agreed Mrs Otterbourne.

But there she was quite wrong - for a matter of life and death was exactly what it was.

Scene 3:

“Oh, yes, Mrs Robson. I went over to Paris with Miss Van Schuyler last Fall. But I’ve never been to Egypt before.” Mrs Robson hesitated.

“I do hope — there won’t be any — trouble.”

Scene 4:

Lady who is probably going to die: HELLO M. POIROT, PLEASE HELP ME. EVERYONE HATES ME.




M. Poirot: Uhhh chill out lady, don’t be melodramatic.

Now, after reading through the whole novel some of the absurdity earlier in the book is explained (it’s a mystery after all) but there’s no explanation for the extreme campiness other than this being a product of its time.

And, I absolutely loved it.

What didn’t I like?

  1. Well, the book was written by a British lady almost a hundred years ago so unless you’re reading a censored version of the text, you should expect a healthy dose of Imperialism with a side of racism.

  2. The campiness dries up about halfway through the book and then ramps back up until the finale. I wasn’t as interested in the “by the numbers solving the mystery” part of the story. It was fine, probably good even, if that’s what you’re looking for but I wanted the story to be all camp all the time.

I loved my time with Death on the Nile, if you love camp then you’re going to love this book. It’s a great book club book!