Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days

Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days

by Jared Cade
     
 

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In December 1926 the celebrated crime writer Agatha Christie disappeared from her home in Berkshire, leaving her car abandoned off a Surrey road. The story was front-page news. She was identified in a Harrogate hotel eleven days later, claiming to be the victim of amnesia caused by a driving accident. Up till now none of her biographers has come up with definitive… See more details below

Overview

In December 1926 the celebrated crime writer Agatha Christie disappeared from her home in Berkshire, leaving her car abandoned off a Surrey road. The story was front-page news. She was identified in a Harrogate hotel eleven days later, claiming to be the victim of amnesia caused by a driving accident. Up till now none of her biographers has come up with definitive evidence as to how Agatha Christie spent the days after she went missing or whether her memory loss was genuine. Claims by previous biographers that the writer never gave her own explanation of the incident during her lifetime are in error; in his new book, Jared Cade reproduces Agatha's own written account which gives the reader insight into why she was forced to collude in the family cover-up. He has unearthed startling new evidence, including accounts by Agatha's relatives, that reveal for the first time why she staged the disappearance with the help of a friend and how it all went terribly wrong. Meticulously researched and illustrated with many photographs never before seen, this biography provides the definitive key to the author's life and works.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Agatha Christie's bizarre 11-day disappearance in 1926, an episode that seems right out of one of her detective novels, has elicited endless speculation, a 1997 BBC documentary (for which Cade was a research consultant) and the 1979 movie Agatha, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman. Most biographers assume Christie suffered a nervous breakdown; others believe she pulled off a major publicity stunt, noting that the nationwide search that led to her sensational discovery in a posh Yorkshire hotel catapulted her from moderately well-known crime writer to household name. Christie told the police she had amnesia, a story reiterated by her husband, dashing WWI flying hero Colonel Archibald Christie, but Cade charges coverup most foul. Marshaling the available evidence from eyewitnesses, police records and surviving friends and relatives (most notably Nan Watts, Agatha's sister-in-law), Cade builds a credible case that the writer's disappearance was an ill-conceived attempt to exact revenge on her cheating husband by publicly embarrassing him and throwing suspicion of murder his way. By this account, Agatha's discovery that Archie was having a clandestine affair with a young woman, Nancy Neele, and wanted a divorce drove her to stage a reckless vanishing act. Unfortunately, there is no smoking gun and Cade's riveting, stylish procedural gives way, in the last 70 pages or so, to workmanlike biography along with an analysis of tantalizing, alleged allusions to the 11-day disappearance in Christie's fiction. It's a case to challenge Miss Marple. Photos, map. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Merle Rubin
Jared Cade thinks [Christie's disappearance] was a calculated exercise in humiliating the husband who had scorned her for another woman. On this point, Cade is quite convincing in his new biography Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days.
Christian Science Monitor
Kirkus Reviews
A sympathetic biography of the celebrated mystery writer that focuses on her strange disappearance in 1926. Londoner Cade, who researched a BBC documentary about Christie's disappearance, pored through archives and interviewed scores of friends, relatives, police officials, and others connected to the event. On December 4, 1926, Christie vanished from her home only to be found 11 days later living in a posh hotel under a false name. The implausible story she and her husband gave out at the time was that she was suffering from amnesia. Cade's simple, quite convincing explanation is that, having been informed by her husband that their marriage was over, Christie staged the disappearance to punish him. By creating clues that suggested murder, she hoped the police would pick him up for questioning, thus embarrassing him and ruining his weekend with his mistress. Cade reveals how her closest friend helped her concoct her plan and carry it out. What she had not anticipated was the length of time required to locate her, the sensational press coverage that ensued, and the intense public interest and speculation that were aroused. She embarrassed not just her husband but herself and was deeply chagrined at being suspected of arranging a publicity stunt to help her book sales. Cade recounts particulars of the search, Christie's anguish over the divorce that followed, and her subsequent marriage to another, also unfaithful husband. In tiresome detail he relates the plots, characters, and feelings expressed in her literary creations—some unremarkable romances under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott as well as the scores of mysteries for which she is best known—to painful episodes in her reallife. First published in England in 1998, this uncritical biography provide a glimpse into the anguish of a writer who tried hard to keep her unhappy private life from public view. Ardent fans may be enthralled; she would be appalled. (31 b&w photos)

From the Publisher

"Thoughtful and absorbing . . .  lends credible dimension to the complex life story of mystery's most celebrated practitioner. Well done!"  —Sue Grafton

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780720613902
Publisher:
Owen, Peter Limited
Publication date:
10/01/2011
Edition description:
Revised
Pages:
300
Sales rank:
825,535
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Jared Cade is a professional historian, writer, and researcher on Agatha Christie.

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