Why would the world’s most famous mystery writer disappear for eleven days? What makes a woman desperate enough to destroy another woman’s marriage? How deeply can a person crave revenge?
In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha.
It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated.
What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.
Nan is a fascinating protagonist. In some ways, she is an unreliable narrator—after all, she has every reason to conceal the truth from the reader. But little by little, she reveals the truth. Her story skips back and forth through time because everything that is happening in the present is tied to the events of the past.
Ostensibly, this is the story of what Agatha Christie did during the eleven days of her disappearance. But the truth is that it is just as much Nan O’Dea’s story as it is Agatha’s. And wow, does she have a compelling story to tell.
Despite this book being based on a historical event, it has only the flimsiest pretense of being based on any sort of fact. But what makes the whole thing fascinating is the possibility of what could have been because even 100 years later, we still don’t know what Agatha Christie did for those 11 days. It is, at times, a fantastical tale—and I don’t mean that disparaging, but the parallels with folktales are unmistakable. There are secrets and lovers being forced apart and villains—AND the villains of the piece is not who might think they are.
There’s an ethereal quality to the prose that works well with the threads of story being woven together, different plotlines converging. There’s somewhat of a mystery aspect as well, and the big reveal is both surprising and satisfying.
I would recommend The Christie Affair. This historical mystery kept me engaged throughout the narrative, and the twists took me by surprise. I’m looking forward to reading more from de Gramont in the future.
I received a digital ARC of this book from St. Martin’s Press/NetGalley.