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The Christie Affair: A Novel Hardcover – February 1, 2022
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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?
"Sizzles from its first sentence." - The Wall Street Journal
A Reese's Book Club Pick
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.
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A Reese's Book Club Pick
"This story is all about murder and lies and love and discovery. I loved it so much. I could not put it down. I read it in one sitting." - Reese Witherspoon
The Washington Post's List of the Best Thrillers and Mysteries of 2022
A New York Times Bestseller
Goodreads Most Anticipated List 2022
One of the Wall Street Journal's "Best Books of 2022"
"Sizzles from its first sentence." - The Wall Street Journal
"The Christie Affair is an ingenious new psychological suspense novel... richly imagined; inventive and, occasionally, poignant; and about as true-to-life as Christie’s own tales." --The Washington Post
"Historical kinda-fiction, a thriller wrapped in romance, mystery, and some fascinating conjecture." --Goodreads
"Ingeniously plotted...gorgeously written" --Shelf Awareness
"The story unfolds in a series of carefully placed vignettes you may find yourself reading and rereading, partly to get the details straight, partly to fully savor the well-turned phrases and the dry humor, partly so the book won't have to end, damn it. Devilishly clever, elegantly composed and structured―simply splendid." --Kirkus (Starred Review)
"The author weaves a clever, highly original, mesmerizing tale filled with strange and unexpected turns and concludes it in an unexpected but wholly satisfying manner. With its superb writing, strong characterizations, and wonderfully imaginative plot, this is a must-read." --Booklist (Starred Review)
"A superior thriller...gripping." --Publishers Weekly
"A meta delight for fans of crime writing, The Christie Affair is a fictional murder mystery woven around the real-life disappearance of Agatha Christie. This enduring conundrum from 1926 is not so much fictionalized as creatively reimagined. Whether you know much about what happened then or not, you'll find this delicious whodunit totally irresistible." --CrimeReads
"The Christie Affair deserves all the hype it's gotten... [It is De Gramont's] most mature and polished work to date, with rounded characters and a smooth-running, steel-trap plot that the author of "The Mousetrap" could admire. Actual historical detail ― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle hiring a psychic to locate Agatha ― are mixed with authorial invention into a smooth, tasty puree. Lovers of mystery, romance and literary fiction should be equally pleased." --StarNews
"Refreshingly thoughtful and inventive." --Airmail
"[The Christie Affair] unfolds as if it were one of Christie’s mysteries, rewarding the reader with the thrill of discovery over and over... And in true Agatha Christie fashion, when all is finally revealed and the full picture comes into focus, the result is unexpected, exhilarating, and enormously satisfying." ―Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor
"An accomplished author, de Gramont takes a page from the great mystery writer herself and makes swift work of tying up loose ends as the story reaches its boiling point, leaving readers marvelously entertained and breathlessly connecting the dots." --Shelf Awareness
"The Christie Affair is a genuine marvel. An astonishingly clever novel that manages to be both a deeply satisfying mystery and a profoundly moving story about lost love and the many ways in which grief can shape one's character. Full of unexpected twists and written in beautiful prose, The Christie Affair brilliantly answers a question that has haunted readers for years: What happened to Agatha Christie in the days she was missing? Nina de Gramont takes this thread of a story and weaves it into a rich and vibrant tapestry." -- Kristin Hannah, author of The Four Winds
"The Christie Affair is a pitch-perfect hat trick of a novel, delivering a fascinating glimpse into history, with the sensational and unexplained disappearance of Agatha Christie, a layered and completely satisfying murder mystery, and a moving, emotional rendering of love, loss, revenge and redemption―all with effortlessly stunning prose. I loved every page, and will be recommending this to everyone I know!" -- Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and When the Stars Go Dark
"This novel about the 11-day disappearance of Agatha Christie, told from the point of view of Christie’s husband’s mistress, is such a delight: intriguing, fast-paced, and elegantly written. Nina de Gramont takes you on an adventure through the English countryside with as many twists and turns as, well, an Agatha Christie novel. The unlikely alliances, complex motivations, and jaw-dropping surprises will keep you riveted until the very last page.” -- Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train and The Exiles
“Dare I admit I haven’t read any Agatha Christie or know about her disappearance? I feared this might somehow diminish The Christie Affair for me. But Nina de Gramont’s skillful storytelling is exceeded only by her tenderness for her characters, and I was swept up, turning the pages and savoring them, too. This is a cracking good read!"-- Therese Fowler, author of A Good Neighborhood
"Immersive, reflexive and propulsive, The Christie Affair is an extremely impressive literary novel which reveals its hidden themes and secrets through a narrative dance brilliantly done. This tale of two very different women who want the very same things in life forges surprising bonds both with its characters and the reader, deliciously subverting our notions of what makes a heroine, mother, writer and wife." -- Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society
"The Christie Affair is my favorite kind of story: a fresh take on a real-life event, layered with mystery and filled with breath-taking plot twists. Toss in the windswept English countryside and a tragic past, and I’m done for. Nina de Gramont’s novel shines on so many levels, it’s hard to keep count: as an ode to Agatha Christie’s legacy, as a dashing love story, and as a tribute to complicated, determined women. Magnificent."
--Fiona Davis, author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
"I read in a single sitting The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont, who weaves a captivating tale around the real life disappearance of mystery writer Agatha Christie from the point of view of her husband’s lover. The story combines dark pasts, dangerous liaisons and unforeseen twists into a masterful work reminiscent of one of Christie’s enigmatic works. The Christie Affair is both enthralling and beguiling, and will keep readers guessing until the very last page." -- Pam Jenoff, author of The Lost Girl of Paris
"Rooted in fact and reason but charged throughout with emotion and imagination, this is an extraordinary murder mystery novel that dares to invoke the spirit of Dame Christie and succeeds. " --CriminalElement
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press; 1st Printing edition (February 1, 2022)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250274613
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250274618
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.37 x 1.07 x 9.42 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2022
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But few know what happened when she went missing
A brilliant imagining of how and why
A story full of passion and lies
Told from the perspective of Nan O’Dea –
Archie Christie’s mistress who lured him away
From Agatha and the life they created
Was it passion? Love? Or maybe hatred?
At some points exciting and others heartbreaking
There’s something so liberating about a secret for the taking
I absolutely loved this book. It was beautifully written and honestly surprising! I, like nearly everyone else, know very little about the time during which Agatha Christie went missing. So anything related to that storyline I just eat up. Weaving fact with fiction can be a tall task, and de Gramont did it with ease. I found her version to be utterly believable. And the characters. Wow! What an artful job she did with each of them. Despite what I wanted to think, I found myself cheering for almost all of them (except for Archie. For obvious reasons). I also thought that de Gramont’s ideas of what happened during that time were fresh and unique. It is not an obvious storyline, but one that packed a punch.
I found myself having internal arguments over what I believed on various points – a sure sign that both sides of the story held weight. I thought this was an incredibly clever and skillful mirroring of the fact that there is so much mystery surrounding Christie’s disappearance. De Gramont paid respect to the lack of information on this time by not wrapping the story up completely. While I think this really honored the history and added some authenticity to the book, this is, in the end, what made me knock off a star. The writing and the storytelling in the book are a full five. I just really need my books to be wrapped up nicely. It’s not a true cliffhanger, but it’s not complete. This is really a me issue – the author certainly cannot help that no one knows what happened in real life – but I can’t help that it bothers me.
I will, without question, pick up more books by this talented author.
I picked it back up determined to skim to the end just to satisfy my curiosity and read the next few pages. That is when I finally got sucked into the story and then couldn’t put it down until I finished it. It was enjoyable & heartbreaking both. I wasn’t comparing this story with any expectations because while I knew she had been missing I never read any biographies about her or any other stories about what might have happened during that time. So to me this was just a novel that took a bit longer than usual to forget about the rest of the world. The only relation it had to Agatha Christie for me was the use of her name to get me to pick it up in the first place. And I don’t begrudge the author that at all because I liked her story & imagination.
Top reviews from other countries
Other works of fiction that have milked Agatha's disappearance for commercial gain include the equally ghastly The Mystery of Mrs Christie by Marie Benedict, the absurd A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson, and On the Blue Train by Kristell Thornell.
Reading The Christie Affair was like wading through waffle so I switched to the audiobook. The whole story has as much credibility as a table without legs. At one point, a police inspector boards a train at Brixham in Devon and gets off at Harrogate. If you are into accuracy, you need to know Brixham does not - and never has had - a railway station. The rest of the novel is as inaccurate as this with the majority of the characters being entirely fictitious and made up for this story.
The most entertaining of the fictional explanations of the disappearance is the Vanessa Redgrave film Agatha co-starring Dustin Hoffman that was released in 1979. At least it's got excellent acting to compensate for the ridiculous story-line.
If you're interested in the facts, you're better off going to Wikipedia than reading The Christie Affair which is a load of rubbish that alleges Agatha and Archie Christies' daughter Rosalind was really the love-child of Archie's mistress who had an affair out of wedlock with a fictitious man called Finbar who was the real father.
Agatha Christie's family only have themselves to blame for novels like this owing to their refusal to openly discuss the subject of her disappearance. Trashy novels like this pretending to be literature will no doubt continue to proliferate.
As a result, we can expect to see more rubbish like The Christie Affair seeking to give the reading public what they can't have and that's a new and undiscovered book by the Queen of Crime herself.
However, I recently listened to a History Extra podcast with Dominic Sandbrook talking about Christie's disappearance. Erudite and interesting, this is a much better place to go if you are at all interested in what actually happened.
The story is narrated by Nan O’Dea, mistress to Christie’s husband. Apart from anger at her husband’s adultery, the first half of the book barely mentions Christie and concentrates on Nan’s story. There is an awful lot of Nan’s backstory to wade through too. The only highlight for me was the introduction of the detective, Chilton, but his first encounter with Nan and discovery of Christie’s whereabouts were fortuitous to say the least.
Although Nina de Gramont writes with an unusual voice which I found interesting and enjoyed, the story just didn’t keep me engaged. It was too slow, too much of the plot mirrored themes present in so many novels set in this period, and it certainly wasn’t delivering on the historical thriller/mystery I was expecting.
Overall: Don’t expect a thriller or any great mystery, this is very much historical fiction even if it is told with an interesting voice.
I've always been fascinated by the disappearance of Agatha Christie for 11 days in 1926, so when I heard about this book - telling one possible version of what *might* have happened while she was gone - I knew I had to read it.
What I hadn't expected, however, was to become so invested and absorbed in the lives of the other characters in it, especially our narrator, Colonel Christie's mistress, Nan O'Dea.
Written from her point of view, but with the benefit of hindsight and plenty of extra information from the other characters, Nan swept me into her world, her mind and her heart and kept me there through the whole book. I found myself caring, desperately, about what was going to happen to her, and because of her.
Since it's a book about Christie, of course there's plenty of mystery too, besides Agatha's disappearance. But what I loved most was how all the separate threads woven loosely together at the start, were pulled tight as the story progressed, until you realised - almost too late - that every single thing that has happened since page one was for a reason, and has brought us, perfectly, to The End.
In this absolutely enigmatic tale Nina de Gramont fills in what happened during those 11 days and paints a whole other side to who Agatha Christie was. Whilst this is a fictional account, the story that Nina de Gramont poses – her ‘what if…?’ actually seems very plausible. She factors in socio-economical factors, historical elements and then throws in a murder mystery in this melting pot of ideas and all together it makes a pretty damn fine story.
I know this is fictional but I kind of want it to be real.
The Christie Affair is definitely in my top ten books of the year so far.
The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont is available now.