The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
This superb novel is inspired by the real-life story of novelist Agatha Christie disappearing for 11 days in 1926 after her husband, Archie, informed her that he wanted a divorce. The story is told from the point of view of Archie’s mistress, Nan O’Dea, who Archie intends to marry.
Agatha Christie never revealed anything about the 11 days she had disappeared, just repeating that she ‘didn’t remember.’ So novelist Nina De Gramont has cleverly worked up a piece of fiction exploring what might have happened during that time. But while the clever hook of this story is about Agatha Christie’s disappearance that prompted a massive manhunt and was front-page news in all the media, the story is very much about the mistress who would later become the second Mrs Christie.
The Christie Affair is a story of young love between an Irish lad and a young girl derailed by the first world war, and then an unplanned pregnancy, setting in motion a train of events with unexpected consequences. There are second chances, new beginnings, and revenge for old injustices. In Agatha Christie-esq style there is even a murder that must be investigated alongside the disappearance of the famous novelist by a memorable detective who is an expert at drawing people out with his calm and kind interrogations.
The Christie Affair is a wonderful novel that perfectly captures the era. It blends facts and fiction into an enjoyable read with a definite nod to the great novelist herself, Agatha Christie, with the setting characters and whodunnit plotline.
Review: Karen McMillan