Does an Agatha Christie Death on the Nile Tour Enrich the Book?

The Old Cataract Hotel
The Old Cataract Hotel, used as a location in the 1978 film of Death on the Nile

Books are positively brimming with imaginary worlds. When you have a good book in hand you can travel millions of miles in moments, all without leaving the comfort of your cosy armchair. And the cosiest books of all are probably those charming murder mysteries, thick with intrigue, a wide ensemble of characters and a genius detective at the heart of the case, ready to solve the crime. 

Agatha Christie
The Mistress of Mystery herself

The “Mistress of Mystery” is, of course, the inimitable Agatha Christie and the chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you are already familiar with Christie’s myriad works. Her crime fiction is perhaps most associated with quaint English country villages or grand English houses, but of course, she wrote several stories that take place in other parts of the world and these were in part inspired by her own passionate love of travel. 

One of the most famous examples of an exotic setting in an Agatha Christie novel is that of Death on the Nile, a Poirot mystery that takes place almost entirely on a steamer on the River Nile. Other locations are visited, however, and it’s for this reason, and for the incredible grandeur of each location, that we’ve put together an Agatha Christie Death on the Nile Egypt Tour. 

An Inter-textual Experience

Death on the Nile

You may be wondering: if books are a passport to the world, why bother visiting the settings of these books at all? What could they add? To this we say: A LOT! Because, whilst the author may paint a clear picture in your mind, whilst you may research and see pictures of certain sites and events, nothing beats seeing the sites in their physical glory. Not only will it enhance your understanding of the geography of some of the scene you are reading, but it will give you a deeper inter-textual experience.

The Five Senses

White desert of Egypt
White desert of Egypt

Part of the inter-textual experience is in relating to the world of the books using your five senses. Whilst you can imagine what you see, it is a lot harder to get a sense of how the world feels around you. When you go on a trip to the locations of the book, you can experience the Egyptian heat, feel the sand in the air, see the white hot sunshine bouncing off the desertscape, and enjoy the cool moisture in the air as you approach the rushing River Nile. You can get a true understanding of the scope of the landmarks mentioned. And trust us when we say that the height and scale of a pyramid can only be understood in person! You can smell the food perfuming the air, hear the cacophony of busy Cairo streets, get up close and personal with camels and steamships, experience the luxury of the hotels the characters visited — there is a sensory mapping that can only take place when you are up close and personal with the world Agatha Christie experienced first hand and was inspired by. 

A New Understanding

Pyramids of Giza
Pyramids of Giza

Once you’ve seen the places that Agatha Christie visited herself – places she depicted in her books – a new understanding of the text emerges. Re-reading the book, you’ll find you’re seeing each scene in a new way. You memories of the place, complete with all those sensory touches, fill in blanks you won’t have realised you had before. In a sense, you will find yourself reading the book as if for the first time.

Historical Context and New Information

Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel

And finally, another benefit of visiting the sites depicted in the book is that it will deepen your understanding of the country, the culture and the history of the place. With new information and knowledge comes new paths. It opens up a different way of reading the text, but it also might encourage you to read new books that explore the same area but tell a very different story. In travelling and touring the sites of the novel you will find your horizons expand and a new world will open up to you. 
So there you have a few of our reasons why an Agatha Christie Death on the Nile Tour will enrich the book. And if we’ve encouraged you to check out our Death in the Nile tour, and you are interested in exploring other books in a similar fashion then please check out the other Literary Tours in Egypt we have on offer. If any of these tours pique your interest, or if you have any other questions for us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. The real Egypt is waiting for you!