The Disappearance of Agatha Christie (Article)
While most young readers were reading animal stories or Nancy Drew, I was reading Agatha Christie. Her books were my first and were the only thing I read for years. I have been a devoted fan since I was ten years old.
On December 4, 1926 Mrs. Christie’s car was found abandoned in Newlands Corner, England. This was the beginning of an eleven day search for the 36 year old famous author. Nearby lakes were dragged, fields were thoroughly searched, and newspapers around the world reported the mystery, but Mrs. Christie could not be found. Agatha’s husband, Colonial Archibald Christie, was suspected of foul play, but since no body could be discovered he was not arrested.
Earlier in the year Agatha’s mother passed away, which sent her into a deep depression. She and her daughter Rosalind spent months at her mother’s home attempting to get it in order after the death. Archie stayed in their mansion and continued his work as an investment banker. When he finally did go to visit Agatha and his daughter he told Agatha that he had fallen in love with his secretary, Nancy Neal and that he wanted a divorce. This news did not help Agatha’s depression. She disappeared shortly afterwards.
On December 15th Agatha was finally recognized and found over 200 miles away at an exclusive health spa. She had registered under the name of her husband’s mistress, Nancy Neal. Agatha never explained her disappearance. The press assumed she suffered a psychotic break because of her depressed state and left it at that. Agatha never explained what happened to her to anyone.
Years later Agatha Christie wrote her autobiography, but she never mentioned her disappearance or what had transpired during those mysterious eleven days she was missing. A movie was made about the incident, “Agatha” staring Vanessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman. The movie suggested that Agatha went to the spa because she wanted to commit suicide and implicate her husband and Ms. Neal in her staged murder. This is merely conjecture, of course, but seemed like something the great detective novelist would be capable of pulling off. Luckily, that did not happen, and she lived on many more happy years writing several more beloved novels. Agatha and Col. Christie eventually divorced and she was married to archeologist, Max Mallowan a few years afterwards. They were happily married for the remainder of her life.
Ms. Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time to this date. She was the queen of the surprise ending. But her most compelling mystery was not something she ever wrote about. The solution to the mystery of her disappearance went with her to her grave.