Andrew Wilson perfectly blends fact with fiction in his latest murder mystery that has plenty of twists and turns along the way.

This latest novel by Andrew Wilson sees famed author Agatha Christie being sent to Mesopotamia to investigate the death of explorer and writer Gertrude Bell who died two years prior to when the book is set of a drug overdose. But as Agatha begins to explore into further depth, she uncovers more than she realised with secrets and deception emerging from every corner of Ur the archaeological site – and location to the the Great Death Pit.

This carefully thought out and consistently intense read, grips from start to finish not only with the way in which the plot unfolds – but for all the attention to detail that Wilson pays, particularly when the truth emerges and how the accusations levelled at the prime suspect may not all be what they seem.

In contrast to ‘A Different Kind of Evil’, Death in a Desert Land is a slow-burner, yet despite this is still an intriguing read that keeps the reader guessing – particularly with regards to Katharine Woolley’s mental health and leads to some disturbing incidents including the death of her beloved cat. Throughout it all there are incidents that add a bit of drama and tension that beautifully builds throughout – particularly with regards to how the characters react and treat each other in the wake of a horrific murder.

But it is also the way in which the author manages to take inspiration from history and the characters to be found there but twists it round to make for an utterly convincing fictional tale. Characters such as Katharine and Leonard Woolley feel particularly well-rounded and it is clear that Wilson did a lot of background research to ensure that the characters were authentic and ultimately sympathetic.

Perhaps the way in which the final reveal is made is slightly too long and could have been more concise, there is no denying that overall this is still a thrilling and at times even chilling read.

By Emma Clarendon

Death in a Desert Land is available to buy now.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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