I do love Agatha Christie! She is one of my favorite authors. She also happens to be the second most successful author of all time and left us reeling with some of the world’s most spectacular mystery crime stories. She was famous for creating the Miss Marple novels and the proper Belgium investigator Hercule Poirot. Her novels are filled with intrigue, suspense, and murder that included lush settings such as Paris, Egypt and the famous Orient Express. But what very few people realize is that the incredible Mrs. Christie carried around her very own curious mystery, one that held England in a grip of panic and wonder for over 11 days and the many years following.
The mystery that has had investigators puzzled for over 85 years is not necessarily a who dunnit…but a why dunnit. On the evening of December 3rd 1926, the crime author left her home in Berkshire in her Morris Crowley. Her car was found later at the bottom of a slope…but Agatha was no where to be seen!
This sounds like the start of a wonderful Christie novel and that’s what many people believed. It had all the elements of one. She claimed she was going to Yorkshire but never arrived. There was a famous pond near the car accident called the Silent Pool where she could have drowned herself or have been drowned. She had an adulterous husband with a known affair. She was definitely famous even for the times and maybe a target for a desperate fan or jealous writer.
There was even the speculation of murder at the grip of her unfaithful husband Archie. But these claims were probably caused by the media frenzy.
After a massive manhunt she was discovered safe living in a spa hotel in Harrogate under the name Ms. Teresa Neele (coincidentally the last name of her husband’s mistress). Christie claims not to have seen the newspaper reports of her disappearance though the news made it as far as New York. Some claim she suffered amnesia from the car crash while some still believe the whole fiasco to be a hoax. The sad truth could be that she suffered from a curious bout of depression or stress and suffered what is called a fugue state which is a deluded condition which may have lead her to “disappear”. This could have been brought about by fame or the blatant admission from her husband of his affair.
Luckily for her she divorced in 1928 and later married archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan thus gaining a title. Even though this incident gripped a nation for almost two weeks, Agatha Christie will always have the best mystery kept to herself. It was a real life mystery that defined the life of the greatest crime writer in history.
For more curiosity: Jared Cade wrote Agatha Christie and the Missing Eleven Days; Dustin Hoffman starred in a movie about her disappearance called Agatha; and an excellent site on the happenings Altered Dimensions.