Agatha Christie set many of her novels in beautiful grand houses, quaint villages and the English countryside but many settings were also taken from the numerous archaeological sites she visited throughout the Middle East in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq.
Indeed, it was on a trip to an archaeological site that she met her husband Sir Max Mallowan.After they married they continued to work together on countless archaeological digs throughout the Middle East. Not only did Christie write novels and short stories but she also helped with restoration, labelling, cleaning and conservation as well as taking photographs of the sites and keeping field notes.
On Christie's first visit to Egypt, she spent three months in Cairo attending parties and dances, while staying at the Gezira Palace Hotel (now the Cairo Marriott), with the occasional visit to the Cairo Museum.
Years later she returned to Egypt and before setting off on her Nile cruise, stayed at the Old Winter Palace in Luxor, a historic British colonial-era hotel located on the banks of the River Nile, just south of Luxor Temple. She sailed to Aswan on a Nile paddle boat and then stayed in Aswan at one of our favourite hotels, the Old Cataract, where she is said to have written part of her novel ‘Death on the Nile’.