The Christie Affair – Nina De Gramont

Published By: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 368
Released On: 20/01/2022

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.

*****

Thanks to Pan Macmillan for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

Ok, just because I’m not the biggest Agatha Christie fan in the world (shock! horror!) doesn’t mean I can’t be nosy about her, and I find her life and her disappearance so fascinating. It’s clear that she remains (even in death) the only person to know why she really left for those 11 days, and rumours have been spreading every since.

It’s a fascinating outlook by using the mistress as the narrator. ‘The other woman’ is often depicted as the bad person and the untrustworthy one, so it instantly brings up the question as to whether we can believe what the narrator says. It’s full of red herrings, twists and turns, friendships, relationships, and hardships.

I know this is meant to be a book about Agatha Christie, but I ended up wanting to know more about the other characters just as much: Agatha’s husband Archie, his mistress Nan, the characters we meet in Ireland (the nice and the not-so-nice), and those we meet later on in the book, the ones more involved in finding Agatha. They all have their own wonderful stories and characterisations.

It would be interesting to find out exactly how much of the plot is fiction, and how much is fact, albeit with some artistic licence. We skip time periods, visiting flashbacks and swapping narrators and viewpoints, we see inside the minds of just about everyone, and the stories are so entwined in such a perfect way, it seems unnatural that they wouldn’t be linked.

I don’t know what I was expecting from this book, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so involved, such an exhilarating story – past and present. It’s a book full of Agatha Christie mystery itself. It’s a love story, a detective story, a mystery; a story about revenge and relationships, and just what we’re prepared to do for those we love.

And whilst it is not a series left open ended, it is written in such a way that leaves the reader satisfied that all loose ends have been neatly tied, but allows them to make their own decision as to who is trustworthy and believable, who is innocent or guilty, who is who they say they are, and finally, what was Agatha really doing for those 11 days?

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