Mystery of Christie
Do you like mysteries, thrillers? I for the matter of fact love them, more than any other genre. Be it in movies, TV series, or books. A good story keeps the person on their toes and at every twist that tiny little voice in the reader’s head screams please don’t let it happen whatever I am predicting.
You want the work to be a masterpiece something out of this world, something so unpredictable that your mind goes. BOOOOMMM…
Have you heard about Agatha Christie, of course, you have, who hasn’t? One of the finest authors of detective novels. And I can say this for two reasons. One, we know how amazing she was… and second, her work has survived the test of time. Every year many countless books get published, few of them are well appreciated and others, well they also have their readers. But how many of those well-appreciated books, people remember, say after a decade or a century. The time test where generations change, conviction change, people change still some epic shit remain unchanged. Christie was born in 1890 and wrote her best work in the years 1920–1944. In those 24 years, she created two master characters of Hercule Poirot a world-renowned Belgian private detective, unsurpassed in his intelligence and understanding of the criminal mind. And Miss Marple a sweet little old lady with an uncanny knack for solving crimes that baffle the police.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.” -George R.R.Martin.
On Friday 3 December 1926, the English crime novelist Agatha Christie vanished from her home in Berkshire. The incident remains an enigma in real life. It was the perfect tabloid story, with all the elements of one of Christie’s own ‘whodunnit’ mysteries.
The incident to date holds many theories. But what was the truth behind her mysterious disappearance?
A while after 9:30 pm, 3 December 1926, she climbed into her Morris Cowley and drove away into the night, leaving the seven-year-old daughter behind.
The disappearance sparked one of the biggest tabloids of and that time and one of the largest manhunt ever mounted. And all indispensable majors were taken, policemen were pressured to resolve such a high-profile case; a newspaper offered a £100 reward (approximately equivalent to £6,000 in 2022); more than one thousand policemen were assigned to the case, along with 15000 volunteer civilians. For the first time aeroplanes were also involved in the search through the rural landscape.
Christie’s disappearance was featured on the front page of The New York Times. It didn’t take long for the police to locate her car. It was discovered at plain sight, parked above a chalk quarry with an expired driving license and clothes inside. She was not seen again for 11 days.
As days went by and there was still no sign of her, speculations began to mount. Everyone has their own theories. The press had a field day, inventing ever more juicy theories as to what might have happened.
It was the perfect tabloid story, with all the elements of an Agatha Christie whodunnit. Close to the scene of the car accident was a natural spring known as the Silent Pool, where two young children were reputed to have died. Some journalists ventured to suggest that the novelist had deliberately drowned herself. Yet her body was nowhere to be found and suicide seemed unlikely.
Some said the incident was nothing more than a publicity stunt, a clever ruse to promote her new book. Others hinted at a far more sinister turn of events. There were rumors that she’d been murdered by her husband, Archie Christie, a former World War I pilot and serial philanderer. He was known to have a mistress.
The Home Secretary, William Joynson-Hicks, urged the police to make faster progress in finding her. Britain’s most famous crime writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, and a keen occultist tried to get some answers with the help of a clairvoyant to find Agatha using one of her gloves as a guide. It wasn’t very helpful.
10 days later, on 14 December, the head waiter at the Hydropathic Hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, contacted police with the startling news that a lively and outgoing South African guest by the name of Theresa Neale may actually be the missing writer in disguise. By the way, Theresa Neele was the name of her husband’s mistress.
After returning home, Agatha never spoke about the missing eleven days of her life and over the years there has been much speculation about what really happened between 3rd and 14th December 1926.
Her husband said that she’d suffered a total memory loss as a result of the car crash. But according to biographer Andrew Norman, the novelist may well have been in what’s known as a ‘fugue’ state or, more technically, a psychogenic trance. It’s a rare condition brought on by trauma or depression.
Norman says that her adoption of a new personality, Theresa Neele, and her failure to recognize herself in newspaper photographs were signs that she had fallen into psychogenic amnesia.
‘I believe she was suicidal,’ says Norman. ‘Her state of mind was very low, and she writes about it later through the character of Celia in her autobiographical novel Unfinished Portrait.’
She soon made a full recovery and once again picked up her writer’s pen. But she was no longer prepared to tolerate her husband’s philandering: she divorced him in 1928 and later married the distinguished archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan.
We’ll probably never know for certain what happened in those lost eleven days. Might be if we had Hercule Poirot maybe we would have known the truth of Christie’s mystery.