Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance.
In 1926 Agatha Christie seemed to have perfect life. She was married to handsome ex-wartime airman and had a lovely young daughter.
The war that had kept her and her husband part was now in the past and they lived in a very pleasant home. What’s more, her dream was coming true – she was being paid to write her mystery novels.
And yet on the evening of 3rd.December, 1926, she mysteriously drove away from her home and wasn’t seen again for eleven days.
Where was she? What caused this disappearance? How could she simply vanish into thin air?
But that’s what seemed to have happened. Her car was found abandoned and nearby was a small pond which was searched by the police who expected to find her body.
There were several theories but eventually it came to light that her husband, Archibald Christie, was having an affair and intended to divorce Agatha.
Had he murdered her?
Because of Agatha’s books, this was probably a natural conclusion to come to. Her face was splashed all over the newspapers – even the New York Times – but she had vanished.
Actually, she was in plain sight all the time. She was staying at the well-known Swan Hotel in the Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate. She was using false name (including the surname of her husband’s mistress) and claimed to be from Cape Town. She spend a great deal of time at the Royal Baths there – again, no-one seemed to recognise her.
When she was discovered, the mystery still wasn’t solved. She claimed to have amnesia.
I’m not sure that I believe that
In 1979, a film was made starring Vanessa Redgrave and dustin Hoffman that was a fictional account of what might have taken place during Agatha’s missing eleven days. Evidently, her family tried unsuccessfully to suppress the movie.
I wonder why?In the movie, she is portrayed as incredibly resourceful and it isn’t negative about her. Quite the opposite – it shows how she planned to ruin her husband and his mistress in an ingenious way.
Maybe it was too close to the truth?
The amnesia theory has never sat well with me and neither had later theory that she spent the eleven days in a ‘fugue state’. By abandoning her car not even twenty miles from her home and then making her way to the Yorkshire town of Harrogate over two hundred miles away.took intelligence.
She wasn’t spotted on the train even though by now she was a celebrity.
Of course, speculation was rife.
- Some thought it was simply a publicity stunt and it’s true that the whole business received an enormous amount of media coverage
- Others believed that she had done it specifically to embarrass her husband and bring his affair to light.
- When her car was found,it contained her ID. She made sure that everyone would know it was her car. Who leaves their ID?
- She also left her fur coat. She would have had to walk four miles to the railway station. In December. In England.With no coat. Even today, at least half of that walk is through the countryside.It must have been even more so in 1926
- No-one at the station or on the train saw a bedraggled, cold woman that evening. Was she heavily disguised? Did an accomplice drive her to the station?
- Had she made a booking at the hotel? Harrogate was an is magnet for Christmas shoppers – it’s likely she would need a reservation
- Had she packed luggage which, as well as the hotel reservation, implied that this was all planned in advance and premeditated? If she had no reservation, no coat, no luggage and no ID, how did she secure a room at one of the area’s finest hotels?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
January 26, 2015
Why did she do it? We’ll never know, but I would bet on a combination of stress, anger, me-time and ‘payback-husband’ time in the motivational mix. Whatever the reason, The Swan has done very well out of this incident ever since and holds an annual Crime Literary Festival there, which attracts thousands of people.
January 13, 2017
I’m guessing she did it just to get away from husband and mistress situation and staged the disappearance to get back at him. It had to have embarrassed him and put him in the position of a possible murderer. I say, good for her, if that was the reason. I admire that she never explained herself.