Agatha Christie Wiki

Snow Upon the Desert is a romantic novel set in Cairo, and the first novel Agatha Christie wrote. She sent it to several publishers under the pseudonym Monosyllaba, but it was rejected and was subsequently never published. Christie's manuscript of Snow Upon the Desert still exists in the Christie Family Archive.[1]

Christie later made a back-handed reference to this book in Death on the Nile, where Salome Otterbourne, an indifferent novelist, has a book Snow on the Desert's Face.

According to Janet Morgan, after being rejected by various publishers, Clara Miller suggested that Agatha show the work to their neighbour Eden Phillpotts, who gave her an encouraging reply. He also recommended her to his literary agent Hughes Massey, who also rejected the story. Subsequently Agatha wrote a short story, Being So Very Wilful and showed it to Phillpotts. He replied with some more advice. Because this reply is dated 6 Feb 1909, this would suggest that Snow Upon the Desert was either written in late 1908 or early 1909.[2][3]

Christie biographer Laura Thompson describes Snow Upon the Desert as a "comedy of manners, wordly beyond its author's experience". Its characters were most likely based on people Christie met and observed while staying the Gezireh Palace Hotel in Cairo. The novel's structure is "disordered" and its plotting "chaotic", but it revealed Christie's gift of understanding people. In terms of character portrayal, the novel is "the finished article".[4]



  1. J. C. Bernthal, Agatha Christie: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2022), 859-860, ebook edition.
  2. Janet Morgan, Agatha Christie: A Biography (London: HarperCollins, 2017), 46, ebook edition.
  3. Lucy Worsley, Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman (London: Hodden & Stoughton, 2022), 53, ebook edition.
  4. Laura Thompson, Agatha Christie, A Mysterious Life (London: Headline, 2007), 64, ebook edition.