Happy Publication Day to ‘The Christie Affair’, a fabulous new mystery novel about what happened to Agatha Christie during her disappearance in 1926.
In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth about her disappearance. I’m no Hercule Poirot. I”m her husband’s mistress.‘The Christie Affair’
Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.
Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.
After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights of Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.
Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to…
I’ve recently started to read my way through some of the Penguin ‘green’ classic crime novels, and Agatha Christie is quickly becoming one of my favourites. Anyone expecting an actual explanation about the reasons why Christie went missing in 1926 will be disappointed, but I was pleased to read about how much research Nina de Gramont had put into this book – whilst the plot is very unlikely to represent what really happened, the details about Christie’s life are true enough to enamour even an ardent fan of her work. As a work of fiction, this is a great read, and the story of Christie’s disappearance creates an intriguing premise that frames the real story here – that of Nan.
I really liked the character of Nan, and using her as the narrator creates an empathy that it is very difficult to gain here – Nan is, after all, the woman having an affair with Agatha Christie. Nan’s character is complex and beautifully drawn. We see her development from a shy, teenager to a confident woman, and the harrowing events that lead her there. The character of Agatha, for this is indeed a work of fiction, is not perhaps as well-formed – we only see her at one stage of her life, although details of her past are provided along the way. I commend the author for using Christie’s disappearance as part of the story, and not the whole story. It’s enough to pull in fans of the mystery genre, but not enough to create a reimagining of any more than the missing eleven days.
‘The Christie Affair’ is perhaps not as Christie-esque in its style as I was expecting, with the alternating chapters between past and present not being something that, to my knowledge, Agatha Christie even did; nor is the detective in this novel as central to the plot of Christe’s Poirot or Miss Marple tales. However, this is a modern mystery novel that is worthy of the genre and a very enjoyable read. The twists are clever and difficult to guess, the ending is completely satisfying and the detective solves his case – I’m sure that, Agatha Christie herself would approve!
Thank you to NetGalley UK and Mantle for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.