The Christie Affair
By Nina de Gramont
What it’s about?
“A long time ago, in another country, I nearly killed a woman. It’s a particular feeling, the urge to murder. First comes rage, larger than any you’ve ever imagined. It takes over your body so completely, it’s like a divine force, grabbing hold of your will, your limbs, your psyche. It conveys a strength you never knew you possessed. Your hands, harmless until now, rise up to squeeze another person’s life away. There’s a joy to it. In retrospect, it’s frightening, but I daresay in the moment it feels sweet. The way justice feels sweet.”
So begins The Christie Affair, told from the point of view of Miss Nan O’Dea, a fictional character but based on someone real. In 1925, she infiltrated the wealthy, rarified world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. A world of London townhomes, country houses, shooting parties, and tennis matches. Nan O’Dea became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife. In every way, she became a part of their world–first, both Christies. Then, just Archie.
The question is, why?
And what did it have to do with the mysterious eleven days that Agatha Christie went missing?
The answer takes you back time, to Ireland, to a young girl in love, to a time before The Great War. To a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together–until war and pandemic and shameful secrets tore them apart.
What makes a woman desperate enough to destroy another woman’s marriage?
What makes someone vengeful enough to hatch a plot years in the making?
What drives someone to murder?
These questions and more are explored in Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable, lush, and powerful novel.
What I think:
Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned whodunnit? And Agatha Christie is the undisputed Queen of Crime. Her own life is just as puzzling as some of the mysteries that she created.
In 1926, following her husband’s request for a divorce, she disappears. 11 days later she is found with no memory of what has happened to her.
What a fantastic opening for a fiction writer! What happened to Agatha Christie? Where did she go? Who was she with?
Nina de Gramont imagines just that.
Telling the story from the point of view of Nan O’Dea, a complex young woman. Nan is both clever and vulnerable, calculating and manipulative and a victim. Nan’s story is revealed in parallel to Agatha’s. And despite the huge disparities between the two women in terms of family, social class and educate, they have a surprising amount in common.
This book is about human suffering and there are some heart-wrenching stories that reflect the brutality of the First World War and life for working class women.
A book featuring Christie would not be complete with out a crime. And there is a while subplot as well.
Overall, this was a great read. It wasnt quite what I was expecting and definitely seemed more like Nan’s story rather than Christie’s.
Thank you to Netgalley for my gifted copy.