فصل 07

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 07

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CHAPTER SEVEN

A young archaeologist

During the first weeks of 1927, Agatha went to stay with Madge and her husband in Cheadle, near Manchester. Archie stayed at Styles, but he wanted to marry Nancy Neele, and he asked Agatha for a divorce. At first she would not agree, but at last she said yes, and they were divorced in April 1928. Rosalind lived with Agatha.

‘I don’t want to use the name “Christie” again,’ Agatha told her publishers. ‘I will think of another name to use.’ ‘But you can’t change it now,’ they said. ‘Your readers know “Agatha Christie” - that’s why they buy your books. If you change your name, nobody will know who you are!’ In the end, Agatha agreed to keep the name Christie, but she was not happy about it. But William Collins was right. Thousands of people in England (and America) were reading Agatha’s books now.

Then, in the autumn of 1928, Agatha decided to visit the West Indies. Rosalind was at school, and Agatha wanted a holiday in the sun, so she got tickets for a ship to Jamaica.

Two days before she left England, Agatha went to dinner with some friends. During the evening, she talked to some people who were just back from Baghdad, in Iraq. Their names were Commander and Mrs Howe.

‘People always say that Baghdad is a terrible place,’ said Mrs Howe. ‘But we loved it.’

She went on talking about the city, and Agatha listened with great interest. She soon decided that she wanted to see Baghdad for herself.

‘How do you get there?’ she said. ‘By sea?’

‘You can go by train,’ said Mrs Howe. ‘On the Orient Express.’

‘The Orient Express!’ said Agatha. ‘I’ve always wanted to ride on that famous train. I’ll go to Baghdad, not the West Indies!’

The Howe’s were very helpful and wrote down the names of interesting places for Agatha to visit. ‘And you must go to Ur,’ Commander Howe said.

Next day, Agatha changed her tickets for the West Indies for tickets to Istanbul by the Orient Express, and then on across the desert to Baghdad.

It was an exciting journey for her, travelling alone for the first time. And later it gave her the idea for another of her most famous books - Murder on the Orient Express.

While she was staying in Baghdad, she remembered Commander Howe’s words, ‘You must go to Ur.’

Archaeology was something that interested Agatha very much, and Leonard Woolley, the archaeologist, and his wife were working at Ur.

Katherine Woolley was very happy to meet Agatha.

‘I love your books!’ she told Agatha. ‘I’ve just finished reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. It was wonderful!’

Agatha became the Woolleys’ special visitor. She loved Ur, and she loved watching the archaeologists. It was slow, tiring work, and they had to dig very carefully. Sometimes they found nothing for hours, and sometimes they found old pots or knives. It was always exciting when one of the workers found something that was thousands of years old.

‘You must come back again another year,’ Katherine Woolley said.

So Agatha did. She went out in March 1930, the week before the Woolleys planned to come back to England. The plan was that Agatha could travel back with them through Syria and Greece.

A young archaeologist called Max Mallowan was working with the Woolleys. He was twenty-five years old, and a quiet young man.

‘I’ve told Max to show you Nejef and Kerbala,’ Katherine Woolley told Agatha. ‘Nejef is the holy city of the dead, and Kerbala has a wonderful mosque. When we leave here and go to Baghdad, he’ll take you there. You can see Nippur on the way.’

‘Oh, hut doesn’t Max want to go to Baghdad with you?’ said Agatha. ‘He will have friends to see there before he goes home to England.’

‘Oh no,’ said Katherine. ‘Max will be pleased to take you.’

The young archaeologist was pleased to take Agatha. He liked her immediately, and Agatha liked him. They talked and laughed and enjoyed every minute of their time together.

They met the Woolleys in Baghdad, and the four of them travelled to Greece together. But when they got to their hotel in Athens, there were seven telegrams waiting for Agatha. They all said the same thing. Rosalind was ill. Agatha must come home quickly.

‘I’ll go with you, Agatha,’ said Max.

‘Oh, thank you, Max,’ said Agatha. ‘But haven’t you got plans to-?’

‘I’ve changed my plans,’ said Max, quietly. ‘I’m coming with you, Agatha.’

So they travelled home together. When they arrived, they found that Rosalind was much better, so that was one happy ending. Soon, there was another.

Agatha was fourteen years older than Max, but during the journey home Max decided to ask her an important question. And when they were back in England, he asked Agatha to marry him.

They were married on the 11th of September, 1930, in Edinburgh, in Scotland.


1930 was also the year when Agatha’s other famous detective first appeared - in The Murder at the Vicarage. Her name was Miss Jane Marple - a little old woman who lived in the quiet English village of St Mary Mead. Miss Marple looked like somebody’s grandmother, a nice kind woman who enjoyed cooking and gardening. But she also had very good eyes and ears. She saw, heard, and remembered everything - names, faces, the times of trains and buses, the colour of a shirt, the sound of a door shutting. And she always found out the name of the murderer before the police did.

Readers loved the Miss Marple stories, and she was soon as popular as Hercule Poirot. But was she a real person? Where did the idea for the character come from?

‘Where? I can never remember,’ Agatha always said.

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