You may be hearing a lot of hype about this book and believe me, it’s well deserved. The story is multi-layered and faceted, containing both a very Agatha Christie story within it, as well as a tale of two women from very different backgrounds facing very different decisions and futures, bound together by one man and one child. I loved it.
The story takes place during the infamous 11 days in 1926 when Agatha Christie disappeared. She was already becoming a well-known author, and an enormous man-hunt spanning the length and breadth of Britain was put in place. When she eventually reappeared, she claimed to have no idea what had happened. In recent years, different theories have been floated, my favorite being a Dr Who episode where she time travels with the doctor. Author Nina de Gramont has an idea that is certainly more prosaic, but just as fascinating.
The Christie Affair follows Agatha, her crushing disappointment at learning her husband Archie plans to leave her for another woman, and the story of the other woman, Nan. It’s told from Nan’s viewpoint, and we watch her grow up in London, visit her father’s family in Ireland, fall in love with an Irish lad, and have all that crushed by the First World War. An unspeakable cruelty keeps them apart, and although one can move beyond it, the other can’t.
What does all this have to do with Agatha’s disappearance? Oh, so much! The Christie Affair is a puzzle box of a book, with plot reveal after plot reveal taking you down a twisty path that any reader will enjoy immensely. It’s so well done! Highly recommended.