The Mystery of the Missing Mystery Writer
January 8, 2017
I NOTICED AN old Smithsonian magazine on the shelf and picked it up. It was the September 1990 edition, and it is about a woman living in a London suburb in 1926. She disappeared off the face of the earth on December third. Her car was found abandoned on a road the next morning. A nationwide search was conducted to find the woman. Hefty rewards for information were offered. Clairvoyants were consulted.
The woman’s photo had been plastered all over the front pages of newspapers, and a chambermaid at a hotel in Harrogate got suspicious about the occupant of room 5. Records were checked and this was not the missing woman, but a Teresa Neele, instead. The police were informed anyway, and the missing woman’s husband, Archie was summoned to take a look at her. Lo and behold, it was his missing wife, after all. But she knew nothing of him. She had a horrendous case of amnesia and could remember nothing. Doctors and a psychiatrist were convinced her amnesia was genuine.
The missing woman was famed mystery writer, Agatha Christie. When she went missing she had had her first successes as a writer.
When she was twenty-two, she fell in love with a dashing Royal Flying Corps officer, Archie Christie, and they married. They had a daughter in 1919. Then, in 1926, Archie broadsided Agatha with the news that he had fallen in love with a young woman named Nancy Neele and wanted a divorce. When they found Agatha she was using the name Neele, herself. That is pitifully odd.
“There were those that thought Agatha, who had a flair for the dramatic, had staged the disappearance herself, as a publicity stunt for her writing. Experts said that would never happen. Agatha was too shy to want the attention. Others thought it was for book research, but that, too, was debunked. Still it is quite an unusual and tantalizing story—and it happened to one of our most adored mystery writers. Only Agatha knew the truth of the mystery herself.
Agatha and Archie’s second marriages were successful and enduring.
If you wish to read a delicious book on the matter, you might try, Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days by Jared Cade. It is available at Amazon, in the new expanded version.
Sara Marie Hogg is the author of Quite Curious, tales of the unknown and explained. Click HERE for more information on the short story collection.