Death & Life on the Nile, Agatha Christie’s Egypt

by Veronica Hackethal

"Gosh, a funeral procession," exclaims a fellow passenger, with typical English understatement.  He points dockside where a wedding procession had passed minutes before, filling the streets of Esna with hope for the future.  The air instantly grows heavy. A hundred men shuffle behind a rickety wooden bier.  Inside lies a body shrouded in white linen.

"Unusual," says one of the ship's employees, "Muslim burials usually don't happen at night.  Islam requires burial before sundown on the first or second day after death.  For such a rushed burial, the person must have ...

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