The Christie Affair

The Christie Affair
by Nina de Gramont
Publication Date: January 20, 2022
Pages: 368
Rating: ★★½
Genre: Historical Fiction

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.

I picked up The Christie Affair because I needed one more book to make use of a 3 for 2 deal at the bookshop, otherwise I would have passed on the book.

The thing is, though, that The Christie Affair was almost an interesting book. Almost.

There are basically two premises:

First, the premise that the lives of real people Agatha and Archie Christie were impacted by the fictional narrator and her companions during the 11 days of Christie’s disappearance in 1926. The whole idea is ludicrous. It is just made worse by the idea that the fictional narrator had an affair with Archie Christie. This is not a spoiler, it’s already given away in the blurb. The ridiculousness and fact-bendingbreaking offered by de Gramont does not stop here. There is also a child involved, who is not Rosalind (does Rosalind even get a mention in the novel?) and who was adopted by the Christies. Now, anyone with a little knowledge of Christie’s biography and her being raised in a time when being adopted carried a stigma of otherness, will probably have trouble suspending their disbelief for the length of the novel, or in my case, the length of the first two chapters. The first premise of the story was a pile of rubbish.

The second premise of the book was much more interesting: It’s basically a murder mystery, that also explores topics of homes for women who were labelled as fallen by their families or society and forced adoptions in Ireland. Think The Magdalene Sisters or Philomena.

Had it not been for shoe-horning the second premise into the first – presumably to increase sales by hopping onto the Christie franchise – this would almost have been a readable, even good book.

Sadly, the ridiculousness of the first premise killed off any engagement and interest I could muster for the underlying story.