Blog tour: 17 January to 19 February 2022
In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance.
I’m no Hercule Poirot.
I’m her husband’s mistress.
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 on 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 …
The Christie Affair is a stunning novel which reimagines the unexplained eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926 that captivated the world.
The Christie Affair is the fictional account of a true-life event – the disappearance of Agatha Christie (36) for 11 days on Friday 3 December 1926, which is thought to have occurred after her husband, Archie, left her for another woman. Her mother, Clarissa, had also recently died and she was still in mourning. The couple lived in Sunningdale in Berkshire with their daughter and Agatha’s car was discovered abandoned on the edge of a chalk pit in Guildford. Agatha Christie has never discussed her disappearance and claims she can’t remember what happened.
The fascinating story is told solely from the viewpoint of Nan O’Dea, who is Colonel Archie Christie’s mistress in the novel (she was Nancy Neele in real life). She admits to embellishing events that she wasn’t actually privy to and filling in the gaps about various encounters of the other people.
Nan is a fascinating character but I was surprised that the story was focused more on her than Agatha Christie. We learn about her difficult upbringing as one of four sisters (Colleen, Megs and Louisa), the summer spent in Ballycotton in Ireland with her Uncle Jack, Auntie Rosie and family, and what happened to her around the time of the First World War and afterwards.
It’s an intriguing, twisty and eventful tale with some dark and disturbing scenes. The story is cleverly written and the strands are well woven together, with it not being clear exactly what’s going on until the end, when everything is finally revealed! Very compelling and cleverly done!
I really liked Nan – she was quite a feisty character! Nan’s Irish boyfriend and fisherman’s son, Finbarr Mahoney, and the policeman who is sent to Leeds to search for Mrs Christie, Inspector Frank Chilton, were also fascinating protagonists.
Overall, I really enjoyed this excellent novel, which has elements of everything from mystery and intrigue to romance, heart break and distress. It’s a gripping read and very thought provoking and poignant at times and I raced through it, keen to see how it would all be resolved. As befitting a novel about Agatha Christie, there’s the odd dead body and a possible murder inquiry too!
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About the author
Nina de Gramont (also known as Marina Gessner) lives in coastal North Carolina with her husband, the writer David Gessner. She teaches at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and is almost always in the company of her two dogs, Missy and Isabelle.
She’s the author of the acclaimed Meet Me at the River, Every Little Thing in the World, Gossip of the Starlings, The Last September, as well as The Distance from Me to You, which has recently been optioned for a movie.
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