A few years ago, an author named Gillian Flynn wrote a book titled Gone Girl. It was eventually turned into a motion picture focusing on an unhappily married couple that clearly disliked each other. The wife intentionally dropped out of site in an effort to frame her husband for murdering her. I am not sure where Flynn got the idea, but I am sure it’s based on the life of Agatha Christie, the most famous novelist in history.
If her name doesn’t ring a bell, then get to a local theater to see Murder on the Orient Express. It’s Hollywood’s latest reboot of a murder mystery investigated by one Hercule Poirot, who was a creation of Christie.
Agatha Christie is the most famous crime writer in history. She’s even in the Guinness record book for selling the most novels. She wrote 66 novels about murder and intrigue. For such a fascinating woman, she also lived an equally interesting life. She was born in 1890 as Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller in England to a wealthy family. She was close to her family and had a happy childhood.
As she became older, she fell in love with reading and began writing crime novels. And like any other young person, she sought her true love. Eventually, she would meet a dashing aviator named Archibald Christie at a dance. He was a military officer in the Royal Flying Corps who went to France to fight the Germans during WWI.
The couple eventually married on December 24, 1914. Unfortunately, the marriage was turbulent. Archibald would carry on an affair with a woman named Nancy Neele. On December 3, 1926, the couple got into a heated argument after Archibald asked Agatha for a divorce. Archie angrily left the residence after the quarrel.
Sometime before 10 p.m., Christie also left the residence after leaving a letter for her secretary that she was driving to Yorkshire. She would never arrive at her destination as her car was found abandoned. She had disappeared and no one knew where she was. The media at the time became concerned. The New York Times even published a story about Christie’s disappearance.
Where had Agatha gone? Had she met with foul play? The world was concerned. Eventually, suspicion fell on the person who most likely wanted her dead—Archibald Christie. The couple had fought and he had a mistress. Had he killed his wife?
At the time, one of the largest manhunts in history was launched. Psychics were contacted to find her while volunteers and various police agencies combed England looking for the missing writer.
Christie would eventually be located on December 14, eleven days after her disappearance. She was located at the Swan Hydro Hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire. She had assumed the name Teresa Neele. Strangely, she had assumed the last name of her husband’s mistress.
Christie was diagnosed with amnesia by two different doctors. She would never address why she faked her disappearance. One of the beliefs is that her mother’s death and Archibald’s infidelity had driven her over the edge.
But the public wasn’t buying it. At the time, they didn’t appreciate Christie’s disappearance. They believed she intentionally went on the run to frame her husband for killing her. Others believed it was a publicity stunt to sell books.
Eventually, all would end well. Archie would marry his mistress while Agatha went on to find her own true love.
She married an archaeologist named Max Mallowan in 1930. The marriage lasted until her death in 1976.
Even today, no one knows the truth about why Agatha Christie stayed gone for 11 days. She never provided any official answers but then could we expect any less from the greatest mystery writer in history?
Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page Life with Grandpa and he also just wrote Just Bite Me: A Guide to Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Walking Nightmares, which is available on Amazon.com.