A ‘Christian Spy Thriller’–by Agatha Christie

Image result for images of they came to baghdad

Agatha Christie was one of the most successful novelists ever, but we don’t generally think of her books as offering any identifiable Christian content. True, her two most famous detective characters, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, were solidly Christian. Poirot was a Roman Catholic, and Miss Marple always read her devotionals before getting out of bed in the morning. To most Christie fans, that’s about the long and the short of it, as far as Christian content goes.

Neither Poirot nor Marple appears in They Came to Baghdad–a spy thriller, not a detective story, published in 1951. Underlying this book is a surprisingly firm Christian foundation: not what anybody expects from a cloak and dagger job.

The plot concerns a secret superpower summit to be held in Baghdad, and the effort by British intelligence to foil a plan to turn the conference into a catastrophe–maybe even a new world war. And the success or failure of the intelligence campaign winds up depending on Victoria Jones, an unemployed typist with a gift for coming up with amazingly convincing and creative lies at short notice.

The bad guys are identified only as a shadowy organization, global in its scope and resources, neither communist nor capitalist, committed to manipulating the free world and the communist bloc into a mutually fatal showdown.

Here’s how Victoria’s mentor explains it to her.

“What they want is, I fear, the betterment of the world! The delusion that by force you can impose the Millenium on the human race is one of the most dangerous delusions in existence. Those who are out only to line their own pockets can do little harm–mere greed defeats its own ends. But the belief in a superstratum of human beings–in Supermen to rule the rest of the decadent world–that, Victoria, is the most evil of all beliefs. For when you say, ‘I am not as other men’–you have lost the two most valuable qualities we have ever tried to attain: humility and brotherhood.”

Coming out with that in 1951–wow!

Later on, Victoria reflects: “You get mad, perhaps, if you try and act the part of God. They always say humility is a Christian virtue–now I see why. Humility is what keeps you sane and a human being..”

Or, as the Bible puts it, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

Our original temptation, provided by the Devil, was “ye shall be as gods, knowing [deciding for themselves] good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

Have we ever been given a more accurate description of the humanist mind-set?

Hey, everybody–try this book. There’s a lot more to Agatha Christie than you thought.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

2 responses to “A ‘Christian Spy Thriller’–by Agatha Christie

  • Phoebe

    I always used to like Agatha Christie’s mysteries (although Poirot’s little grey cells sometimes got on my nerves), but this is one of the few that’s held up for me over the years. In fact, it’s one of the few that I kept when I downsized last year. I think I’ll go read it again.

    Like

  • UnKnowable

    By George, I think you are onto something here, Lee. Just this morning I was musing that the “I know better” attitude seems to be growing in prevalence, of late. I hadn’t thought it through far enough to link it to Genesis 3:5, but it sure fits.

    Ecclesiastes 8:9 “All this I have seen and applied my mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt.”

    I have noticed that many problems between people seem to happen when one, or both, parties act as if they are in a position to correct one another and perhaps even to enforce their opinions. In other words “I know better” than the other guy.

    This describes many politicians today on both sides of the aisle. It also explains people that can’t even conceive of the notion that there are valid opinions beyond their own. It describes the way many people treat one another in day to day transactions and it describes the dynamics within many families. Sounds like Agatha was spot on.

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