In the novel They Came to Baghdad, Tio Hotel is a hotel in Baghdad. Located on Rashid Street, the main street of the city. The hotel is situated on the banks of the Tigris and is presided over by its ebullient proprietor Marcus Tio. A significant amount of action in the novel takes place at the hotel. Victoria Jones, the main protagonist in the story spends her first few days in Baghdad there and the rest of her adventures start with events occuring in her room. British intelligence, which Victoria eventually got involved with, also planned a secret rendezvous at the hotel.
The Tio Hotel is patterned after the actual Zia Hotel, a well-known high-end hotel in Baghdad during Christie's era, just as the owner Marcus Tio is patterned after the colourful Michael Zia. The Zia Hotel had a bartender named "Jesus" just as the Tio Hotel does in the novel. Christie herself stayed at the Zia Hotel and probably knew Michael Zia and Jesus in person.
Guests at the Tio Hotel
- Victoria Jones
- Mrs Hamilton Clipp.
- Mrs Cardew Trench
- Sir Rupert Crofton Lee
- Mr Dakin
- Captain Crosbie
- A nurse who works at the Jewish hospital
- John Curran, Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making (London: HarperCollins, 2011), 406. Christie's notes for this novel actually mentions the Zia Hotel.
- This blog article has a photo of Christie having breakfast on a balcony of the Zia Hotel.