Agatha Christie Wiki

In the novel They Came to Baghdad, “Sanders of the River” (named after a character created by Edgar Wallace) is the alias of a man who leads an intelligence team with mission of conducting surveillance operations on Anna Scheele in London. Their ultimate objective is to prevent her from travelling onwards to Baghdad.

Sanders' team[]

Sanders was described as a small dark man in a raincoat. He had a large team of operatives, most of whom did not have names:

  • A taxi driver
  • A fair vacant-looking young man driving a grey Standard
  • A young well-dressed woman
  • Louisa - a short plump woman

Sanders' surveillance activities[]

Sanders' team followed Anna Scheele from the Savoy first to Cartier's of Bond Street, then to the florist Jane Kent at The Arcade. Anna then went to Bolford and Avory's of Savile Row. While most of the team were following Anna around, Louisa entered and searched Anna's belongings in her room at the Savoy but found nothing of significance.

After visiting the tailor, Anna returned to the hotel for lunch and then went to her own, took an overnight case and visited her sister Elsie at 17 Elmsleigh Gardens, Kensington. Her sister was meant to have an operation at a nursing home in the evening. Anna was spotted going to the nursing home. Sanders believed Anna intended to spend the night at the nursing home, presumably with her sister.

Thereafter, Sanders and his team lost contact with her. Anna was not seen to leave the nursing home. They found out later that a nurse had accompanied a patient in an ambulance from there to University College hospital. The staff there had no idea where the nurse went after the patient arrived. Sanders surmised that nurse must have been Anna.

Sanders maintained watch on airports but ultimately his mission was unsuccessful.

Throughout, Sanders reported his progress to his superior at the Valhalla Gramophone Company. When he called, he would be challenged: "Sanders of the river? What river?" To which Sanders must reply "The river Tigris".