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The Mystery of Mrs. Christie Paperback – October 5, 2021
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THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER!
"A stunning story... The ending is ingenious, and it's possible that Benedict has brought to life the most plausible explanation for why Christie disappeared for 11 days in 1926."—The Washington Post
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room returns with a thrilling reconstruction of one of the most notorious events in literary history: Agatha Christie's mysterious 11-day disappearance in 1926.
In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car—strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.
The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.
What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?
Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie's masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie's untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.
Fans of The Secrets We Kept, The Lions of Fifth Avenue, and The Alice Network will enjoy this riveting saga of literary history, suspense, and love gone wrong.
Also By Marie Benedict:
The Other Einstein
The Only Woman in the Room
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From the Publisher
|The Other Einstein||Carnegie’s Maid||The Only Woman in the Room||Lady Clementine||The Mystery of Mrs. Christie||Her Hidden Genius|
|Don’t miss these inspiring reads from Marie Benedict!||The story of not-so-famous scientist Mileva Marić, who not only loved Albert Einstein, but also shaped the theories that brought him lasting renown.||Discover the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie's transformation from ruthless industrialist to true philanthropist.||Based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist Hedy Lamarr, this book celebrates the many women in science that history has overlooked.||The ferocious story of Clementine Churchill, the ambitious woman who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender to expectations or to enemies.||A thrilling reconstruction of one of the most notorious events in literary history: Agatha Christie's mysterious 11-day disappearance in 1926.||Shines a light on Rosalind Franklin, whose world-changing contributions were hidden by the men around her but whose relentless drive advanced our understanding of humankind.|
"Agatha Christie went missing for 11 days in 1926 and this novel tells Christie's story, building the events of her life and her disappearance to a crescendo right at the end of the book. This is an amazing story of one woman who subjugated herself to the benefit of her husband and the detriment of herself and her daughter, but eventually stood up for herself to the benefit of all who read her novels. I loved this book." ― Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop (Southern Pines, NC)
"Whether you love Agatha Christie novels or a good historical mystery, this book is for you! Did you know Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days in 1926? That disappearance has never been explained but Marie Benedict does her usual amazing job of delving into the hidden corners of the past to come up with a satisfying explanation that is just as much of a puzzle-box mystery as Agatha Christie would have written herself." ― Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book (Palmyra, NY)
"THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE is part domestic thriller, part Golden Age mystery-- and all Marie Benedict! An absorbing and immersive plunge into the disturbed private life of one of the world's most beloved authors, who confounded police, journalists, and generations of biographers when she disappeared from her home, like something out of one of her own novels. But you just might find a solution to the puzzle here.... (No Belgian detectives required. Knitting spinsters sold separately.)" ― Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author
"A winning whodunit from the thrilling life story of the mistress of whodunits, Agatha Christie herself, THE MYSTERY OF MRS CHRISTIE is a deft, fascinating page-turner replete with richly drawn characters and plot twists that would stump Hercule Poirot." ― Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network, The Huntress, and the upcoming The Rose Code
"What a read! Agatha Christie is so beautifully drawn, you could easily believe Benedict knew her intimately. Each page uncovers fresh layers of pain, rage, genius and suffering, culminating with a firecracker of an ending. I loved it." ― Stuart Turton, bestselling author of The Devil and the Dark Water and The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
"With twists, surprises, and an ending that packs a punch in more ways than one, THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE is a whodunit infinitely worthy of its famous heroine. Benedict's exploration of Agatha Christie's life and mysterious disappearance will have book club discussions running overtime. Quite simply, I loved it!" ― Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours and The Book of Lost Friends
"It's not a whodunit or even a whydunit, but a sort of how-the-hell-did-he-do-it? As Christie's first and best-known detective, Hercule Poirot, might say: Patience. All will be revealed." ― The Los Angeles Times
"[A] gripping historical fiction tale of true mystery." ― Good Morning America
"Benedict shines as a suspense writer." ― Christian Science Monitor
"If you're an ardent Agatha Christie fan, don't miss The Mystery of Mrs. Christie." ― HuffPost
"[A] clever reconstruction of Agatha Christie's mysterious 11-day disappearance in 1926." ― E! News
"With elements of a classic mystery novel, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie is gripping, making it possible to believe that, with her real-life disappearance, Agatha Christie surpassed herself and pulled off the perfect, unsolvable mystery." ― Foreword Reviews
"[Marie Benedict] keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain? A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour." ― Kirkus Reviews
"The clever premise here is that Christie vanished deliberately so as to ensnare Archie in a trap as payback for his infidelities... the story makes for good fun." ― Publishers Weekly
"Mystery lovers, especially fans of Christie's works, as well as those who enjoy period pieces, will find this an engrossing fictional answer to a real historical mystery." ― Library Journal
"Girl power advocates will find satisfaction in the solution she crafts to her man problem." ― Booklist
About the Author
- Publisher : Sourcebooks Landmark (October 5, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1728234301
- ISBN-13 : 978-1728234304
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.84 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #20,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The book's author is certainly not objective, portraying her heroine as suffering and blighted and Archie as selfish and brutal. But really, what mother of a supposed beloved child would carefully stage a disappearance in which murder seems the likeliest outcome? She had family and lifelong friends. What were they to believe?
Agatha Christie refused to mention the lost days in her own autobiography, as if to pretend that this incident didn't exist would make it so. Her personal life continued to be marred by marital unhappiness. Her second marriage to a much younger man lasted until.her death. She poured out financial resources to make her new archeologist husband successful and famous. He rewarded her enormous support by engaging in an affair that lasted decades, and which Agatha tolerated in order to avoid a second divorce. Really very sad.
The puzzle of Mrs. Christie’s missing eleven days has persisted to this day. Mrs. Christie herself even skips that period in her life in her autobiography. Ms. Benedict has taken on the task of imagining what happened to Agatha at this time in her life and failing marriage. The story is written intertwining two timelines; one immediately following Agatha’s disappearance and the investigation that follows told by Archie Christie and the other starting as the young Agatha falls in love with the dashing Colonel Archibald Christie before WWI and takes the couple up to the disappearance told by Agatha Christie.
I enjoyed this story immensely! I have never personally believed in the amnesia story or the story that the disappearance was for publicity for her new book. Mrs. Christie was a woman with a brilliant mind and Ms. Benedict’s historical fiction rendition makes so much more sense to me. In the 1920’s, women had so little power and I love to think of Agatha getting her due before her divorce. (PLEASE NOTE: if you have not read “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” this book does give away the ending.)
I highly recommend this compelling historical fiction featuring Agatha Christie!
I almost quit reading after the first paragraph, in which we have “footsteps thundering across the floor. . . . The black, spiky words that possess the ivory page seem to come alive and pulsate with each heavy tread.” Oh, good grief.
Although I don’t think that’s quite as bad as, “not one of the black uniformed officers gathered in the kitchen like a swarm of deadly bees gathered around their queen takes notice of him.”
And then we have people blushing. Again and again. A few examples from my twenty minutes of reading:
“A fierce blush overtaking my face”
“A soft pink hue begins to spread across Nancy’s cheeks, and though she looks lovely with her cheeks aflame. . . .“
“His cheeks turned a fiery red, visible even in the low ballroom light.”
“My cheeks flushed and warm”
“whose cheeks shone bright red.”
In addition, I was irritated by the numerous long, run-on sentences, the strange use of adjectives, and the misuse of words (“his wife’s distinctive ivory stationary”).
Did people ever talk like this: “I intend to be integral to the war effort, a critical cog in the massive military machine”?
I’ll also add that I am sick and tired of the overuse of dual timelines in novels. Can’t anyone just tell a story in a straight timeline anymore?
Top reviews from other countries
As a member of the Royal Flying Corps, Agatha's husband Archie Christie fought for his country in World War One and deserves respect for this. Benedict's statement, "I expected that the Archie who returned from the war would be the same Archie who had left for it" underpins an emotional lack of maturity and perception that permeates the entire book in which Archie is unfairly portrayed as a social misfit despite being a successful businessman and high-flyer who had a number of titled family members and friends.
Moreover, the book takes the clichéd view - which is typical of a lot of romantic fiction - that the man is always the villain of the piece and the woman is his long suffering and thankless victim. This is very much a one-side account of a marriage breakdown and a badly told one at that
Benedict is a young and up coming lawyer, so I was expecting a very exact treatment of Christie's disappearance, but her book is riddled with silly errors. She tells us on page 26 that Archie's father died in England, then contradicts herself on page 93 saying Archie's father died in India.
As someone who lives near Ealing in London, I have visited the graves of Agatha's mother, her father, her sister and Auntie-Grannie at Ealing cometary so why does Benedict tell us that the funeral of Agatha's mother took place in Torquay, Devon, where she was subsequently buried?
According to Benedict, in August 1919 Auntie-Grannie was still alive and joyfully anticipating the birth of Agatha's only daughter Rosalind, but Auntie-Grannie died on 29 May 1919 before Rosalind was born. Check out her grave at Ealing.
Benedict claims that Mrs Belcher accompanied her husband Major Belcher on the 1922 Empire Tour which is highly odd considering he was a bachelor at this time and only married for the first time in 1926.
I won't waste readers' time listing the many other factual errors.
Christie was 36 when she disappeared, but Benedict portrays her as a bratty 20 something a la the TV series Gossip Girl. Instead of reading about Christie the person, I found myself reading about Benedict acting the role of Christie and imposing her feelings and emotions on her which led to an unauthentic experience.
If you want to know about Agatha's marriage break-up to Archie, I would highly recommend 'Unfinished Portrait' which she published under the non de plume of Mary Westmacott. It's written with genuine charm, perception, poignancy and heartbreak that at times is so raw it almost becomes embarrassing to read owing to its first hand experience.
Benedict's lack-lustre book doesn't really have an ending. It's simply all about the worm turning and telling her husband off while assuming the moral high ground despite not standing on it. Having paid £20 for Benedict's book I sadly don't feel I got my money's worth. For those of us who care about Christie as a person, Benedict's book soon descends into drivel and poses the question: is it possible to expect too much of historical fiction? Should we expect it to be factual?
Um mistério que até hoje não foi resolvido, o único mistério da vida real, o desaparecimento, por 11 dias, da Autora.
Com capítulos alternantes de um lado começamos em 1912, quando Christie conhece o marido, e 1926, simultaneamente, na noite de seu desaparecimento. Ambos os tempos se desenvolvem até encontrarem um ponto em comum na parte 2, no momento que a encontram.
Vemos dois tipos de narração, uma, em primeira pessoa, narrada por Christie, e outra, em terceira, mostrando o que se passava na investigação, principalmente envolvendo a figura de Archie Christie.
Uma obra extremamente informativa mas que entretém também, vemos todo o rebuliço causado pelo desaparecimento da autora, que foi investigado por dois chefes de polícia, contou com buscas pela Inglaterra e envolveu até a ajuda do autor de Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, para encontrá-la.
Vemos também um pouco da sua situação matrimonial e momentos pivotais na vida da autora como seu casamento, suas primeiras publicações, quando ela se junta ao corpo de enfermeiras durante a guerra, o nascimento de sua filha e a morte de sua mãe.
Incrivelmente bem escrita, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, é uma obra que completa com ficção as lacunas presentes na vida real e traz um desfecho interessante, plausível e incrível para a história!