In 1926 mystery novelist Agatha Christie disappeared without a trace for 11 days. There were massive man-hunts and front page headlines as to what could possibly have happened to her. Rumors swirled that her marriage was breaking down, although her husband denied the claims. And then she came back claiming amnesia. But, for the rest of her life Christie never spoke of those missing days, (not even in her own autobiography).
Enter historical fiction writer Marie Benedict and through her impeccable research creates a very interesting explanation as to what could have possibly been the reason for the sudden disappearance. Christie vanished at a volatile period in her life with her mother having recently passed away and not long prior becoming aware of her husband’s infidelity. Could it be possible that these pressures could have given way to Christie’s heightened anxiety and caused some sort of a breakdown?
Benedict’s amazing fictional account at attempting to recreate what could possibly have happened and why is written in two time frames, the first being Christie’s tumultuous marriage to her husband Archie and their seemingly different bond with their daughter Rosalind, from their first meeting up until the day she disappeared, as well as Archie’s reaction to his wife’s untimely disappearance just as he was planning to leave her. Could Archie possibly have known more than he was telling the police?
What we do know is that whatever happened in those 11 days made Christie a stronger writer and she was able to create her greatest masterpieces upon her return.
The compelling theory Benedict gives as to why Agatha Christie disappeared is incredibly intriguing and although this book is a bit of a departure from her other historical fiction novels, nevertheless it is just as gripping. And true to form she has picked another strong historical woman’s story to tell.