Title: The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical (20s), Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Why would the world’s most famous mystery writer disappear for eleven days? What makes a woman desperate enough to destroy another woman’s marriage? How deeply can a person crave revenge?
In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha.
It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated.
What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.
The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont is a clever historical mystery that reimagines Agatha Christie’s unexplained eleven-day disappearance in 1926.
Famed mystery writer Agatha Christie leaves home one evening and seemingly vanishes into thin air. Police quickly located her prize automobile and the car’s location raises questions about suicide. When this theory is disproven, large search parties begin looking for the missing author. The newspapers feverishly cover the story, other mystery authors try to solve the mystery and people who dabble in the paranormal attempt to find her. The publicity pays off when someone recognizes her and calls the police to reveal her whereabouts: a spa hotel in Harrogate. In The Christie Affair, Nina de Gramont offers an imaginative scenario for Agatha Christie’s still puzzling disappearance.
Agatha is married to Colonel Archie Christie and they are the parents of a darling seven-year-old daughter. He is a businessman and Agatha’s star is rising as a successful mystery author. The night she vanishes coincides with Archie informing her of his plans to divorce her. He is having an affair with Nan O’Dea and he plans to marry her after their divorce is final. After dropping the bombshell news on Agatha, Archie and Nan depart for a weekend party at a friend’s home. Meanwhile, later that evening, Agatha leaves and vanishes for eleven days.
Nan is in her twenties and through a series of intriguing flashbacks, her sweet yet ultimately doomed romance with Irishman Finnbarr Mahoney is revealed. Nan lives in England but her father is from Ireland and it is while visiting her uncle that she meets Finnbarr. Their budding romance is interrupted by World War I and after his return, Finnbarr’s bout with the Spanish Flu.
Inspector Frank Chilton, who is also a WWI veteran, is called out of retirement to help look for Agatha. He is a kind man who is also struggling with the aftermath of the war. By sheer coincidence, Frank stays at the same hotel where Nan is staying. A bit of drama interrupts his search when a newly married couple dies under suspicious circumstances while honeymooning at the hotel.
The Christie Affair is a captivating historical mystery with an ingenious plot. The characters are well-rounded with relatable strengths and weaknesses. The story unfolds from Nan’s perspective and she is a surprisingly sympathetic character. The storyline weaves back and forth in time and after a bit of a slow start, the pacing gradually picks up steam. With truly jaw-dropping revelations and stunning plot twists, Nina de Gramont brings this brilliant novel to a superb conclusion.