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The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

Historical fiction

The Christie Affair

by Nina de Gramont

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Quick take

A gripping fictionalized account of the 11 days when the world’s greatest mystery writer went missing . . .

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Synopsis

"A long time ago, in another country, I nearly killed a woman."

So begins The Christie Affair, told from the point of view of Miss Nan O’Dea, a fictional character but based on someone real. In 1925, she infiltrated the wealthy, rarified world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. A world of London townhomes, country houses, shooting parties, and tennis matches. Nan O’Dea became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife. In every way, she became a part of their world—first, both Christies. Then, just Archie.

The question is, why?

And what did it have to do with the mysterious eleven days that Agatha Christie went missing?

The answer takes you back in time, to Ireland, to a young girl in love, to a time before The Great War. To a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together—until war and pandemic and shameful secrets tore them apart.

What makes a woman desperate enough to destroy another woman’s marriage? What makes someone vengeful enough to hatch a plot years in the making? What drives someone to murder?

These questions and more are explored in Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable, lush, and powerful novel.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Christie Affair.

The Christie Affair

Here Lies Sister Mary

A long time ago in another country, I nearly killed a woman.

It’s a particular feeling, the urge to murder. First comes rage, larger than any you’ve ever imagined. It takes over your body so completely it’s like a divine force, grabbing hold of your will, your limbs, your psyche. It conveys a strength you never knew you possessed. Your hands, harmless until now, rise up to squeeze another person’s life away. There’s a joy to it. In retrospect it’s frightening, but I daresay in the moment it feels sweet, the way justice feels sweet.

Agatha Christie had a fascination with murder. But she was tenderhearted. She never wanted to kill anyone. Not for a moment. Not even me.

“Call me Agatha,” she always said, reaching out a slender hand. But I never would, not in those early days, no matter how many weekends I spent at one of her homes, no matter how many private moments we shared. The familiarity didn’t feel proper, though propriety was already waning in the years after the Great War. Agatha was upper-crust and elegant, but perfectly willing to dispense with manners and social mores. Whereas I had worked too hard to learn those manners and mores to ever abandon them easily.

I liked her. Back then I refused to think highly of her writing. But I always admitted to admiring her as a person. I still admire her. Recently, when I confided this to one of my sisters, she asked me if I had regrets about what I’d done, and how much pain it caused.

“Of course I do,” I told her without hesitation. Anyone who says I have no regrets is either a psychopath or a liar. I am neither of those things, simply adept at keeping secrets. In this way the first Mrs. Christie and the second are very much alike. We both know you can’t tell your own story without exposing someone else’s. Her whole life, Agatha refused to answer any questions about the eleven days she went missing, and it wasn’t only because she needed to protect herself.

I would have refused to answer, too, if anyone had thought to ask.

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Why I love it

Like many of you, I suspect, I have had a lifelong fondness for Agatha Christie mysteries. But I knew little of the woman who penned them—or the mystery of her own life. It was not until I read an early copy of The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont that I learned of Ms. Christie’s mysterious eleven-day disappearance in the 1920s. I had so many questions: Where had she gone? Why? Who was behind her disappearance and what led to her return?

These mysteries are ably unfurled by de Gramont. Writing from the point of view of the mistress of Christie’s husband, we discover a woman with dark and complex motives of her own. Who was Nan O’Dea and why did she set out to destroy Christie? As de Gramont weaves a tale of enigmatic pasts and uncertain futures, she captivates readers with the compelling stories of not one, but two women.

This much-anticipated book manages to be both mystery and thriller, gripping fiction and chronicle of actual events. It is evocative of a bygone era and yet timeless. Readers will be captivated by this little-known story brought to life in a larger-than-life way.

I know you will love it as much as I did. Happy reading!

Member ratings (4,488)

  • Darcy G.

    Houston, TX

    Once I got into the author’s writing style, I really enjoyed this original book. The book is told through the eyes of Archie Christie’s girlfriend. The end is super clever and worth the read! ⭐️❤️

  • Lauren R.

    Anchorage, AK

    It was hard for me to get into the rhythm of the writing for this book. Who was narrating, the multiple story lines… but once I found the rhythm, and was invested in the story, I couldn’t put it down.

  • Jill D.

    San Angelo, TX

    I have read many different “accounts” of what happened to Agatha Christie during her missing days and this account is up there as one of my favorites. I love the varying narrators and happy ending.

  • Melissa S.

    KODIAK, AK

    I’m not sure what I expected, but 100% certain it wasn’t this! SO GOOD! Really, it is one of those haunting stories…the kind that haunts you WHILE you read. Rare thing & a delight when it happens.

  • Lexi L.

    Nashville, TN

    What a beautifully rich and detailed imagining of what may have transpired during the days of Agatha Christie’s disappearance. The attention to the language of the time made it especially delightful.

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Historical fiction
View all
Lady Tan’s Circle of Women
The Women
The Lion Women of Tehran
Shelterwood
All We Were Promised
Spitting Gold
The Mayor of Maxwell Street
The Great Divide
The Storm We Made
The Disappearance of Astrid Bricard
Lessons in Chemistry
The Frozen River
What We Kept to Ourselves
The River We Remember
Take My Hand
The Last Russian Doll
The First Ladies
The House Is On Fire
River Sing Me Home
The People We Keep
The Attic Child
Malibu Rising
The Book of Longings
Hester
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
The Nightingale
Daisy Jones & The Six
The Lincoln Highway
The Secret Book of Flora Lea
Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?
The Circus Train
Peach Blossom Spring
Hang the Moon
Booth
The Good Left Undone
Sisters in Arms
The Perishing
The Postmistress of Paris
The Family
Things We Lost to the Water
The Spectacular
Still Life
Send for Me
The Magnolia Palace
The Bookbinder
China Room
This Tender Land
Atomic Love
All the Light We Cannot See
The Vanishing Half
Outlawed
The Four Winds
Independence
The Fountains of Silence
Libertie
Queen of Thieves
The Great Believers
The Clockmaker's Daughter
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Great Alone
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
The Paris Hours
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Rules of Civility
Circling the Sun
The Moor's Account
Jacqueline in Paris
Don't Cry for Me
The Christie Affair
Bloomsbury Girls
The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle
Bronze Drum