When Agatha Christie disappeared (and Conan Doyle hired a medium)

  • Vital ‘shock’ or spiteful maneuver? The writer disappeared in December 1921 after a marital quarrel.

December 3, 1926 Agatha Christie is gone. its car appeared crashed in a chalk quarry in Surrey County, near a lake. There was blood inside, he had left his driving license, a suitcase and his coat: the police feared the worst. The 36-year-old writer was already famous after her sixth novel, ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’. Britain was shocked. More than a thousand agents and 15,000 volunteers looked for her, the dogs scoured the fields, there were planes peering from the sky, the ponds were dredged. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for want of a real Sherlock Holmes to lay hold of, hired a medium, who speculated about his whereabouts by brandishing a glove. The English press went crazy: they even drew Christie characterized as a man in case that was the case. Agatha Christie’s disappearance made the cover of ‘The New York Times’.

Luxury hotel

Eleven days without a trace. until a musician recognized her at the luxury hotel where she was staying, in Harrogate, an elegant Yorkshire spa town. She was registered there from the beginning under the pseudonym Teresa Neele, she seemed unharmed, she had introduced herself as a tourist from Cape Town. He read the press every day in his retirement: Agatha Christie he had discussed the news of the eccentric writer’s disappearance with the other guests.

A musician recognized her in a luxury hotel: Christie was dedicated to commenting with the other guests the news of the disappearance of the writer

When they found her claimed he had amnesia. Amnesia, agreed her husband, Archibald. She hadn’t even recognized him, her family justified her in the face of the outrage of the media. The writer did not know why the man was hugging her.

Darling I want a divorce

The night Agatha Christie got lost, the marriage had had a strong argument. Archibald Christie, a handsome World War I pilot, then a City banker, had been passionately devoted to golf of late. They even bought an expensive house on the outskirts of London, next to a field. Agatha accompanied him once, but did not become fond of it.

The night of the fight, he gave a kiss to Rosalind, their daughter, got in the car, climbed a hill and went down without brakes to a quarry where the vehicle was found in a frontal collision.

Between sticks and greens, he had met 24-year-old Nancy Neele. It was not a flirtation, he communicated, nor was the tolerable mistress of a bourgeois man: wanted a divorce. Agatha Christie cortocircuitó. He went upstairs to kiss Rosalind, their daughter. Around 8:45 p.m. took the car, went up a hill and down without brakes to the chalk quarry where the vehicle, a Morris Cowley, was found in a frontal collision.

Amnesic trance?

“State of flight,” described one of his biographers, Andrew Norman. A Amnesic trance generated by trauma or depression, rare, but perfectly suited to Agatha Christie’s symptoms during your stay in Harrogate. Inability to remember some or more past events and loss of identity or fiction, which “occurs when you suddenly and unexpectedly travel for a purpose outside the home,” according to the Merck Medical Information Manual. But Agatha Christie’s memory did not fail when checked into the hotel with the last name of her husband’s lover, Neele. He was accused of promotional maneuver, from ruse to retain Archibald Christie: He would shudder at the prospect of losing her forever, if he still loved her. Two years later he married Nancy.

She said that she had suffered an amnesic outbreak, but her memory did not fail when she checked into the hotel with the last name of her husband’s lover

Agatha Christie took refuge in the Canary Islands after the divorce. In 1934, under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, he wrote the most autobiographical novel of the intimate series that he signed with that name, ‘Unfinished Portrait’. A painter, on a lonely island, meets Celia, who explains her story: a girl with a good family, a sought-after young man, a loving wife who all leads to a vulgar life. Until she tries to commit suicide after her husband announces that he has fallen in love with another and asks for a divorce shortly after her mother dies. Celia survives the attempt. And wake up to adulthood.

Life after Archibald

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There was also life for Agatha after Archibald. And what a life. She tried to get her maiden name back, Miller, but her editor objected: I was already a star. As a single mother, she had just convinced herself that writing was her job and that meant doing it when she didn’t want to, too. He finished as he could ‘The mystery of the blue train’, published a score of books in the decade of the 30s, he undertook the path that would turn it into the best-selling writer of all time, second only to Shakespeare and the Bible.

Personally, she remarried archaeologist Max Mallowan, 14 years her junior. Despite being convinced that the only thing that could hurt her at this point was a husband, as she made Celia say in Unfinished Portrait, she also overcame that.


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