One of our recommended books is The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE


In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the carstrange for a frigid night.

Her husband and daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted.

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In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the carstrange for a frigid night.

Her husband and daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark exploration into the shadows of history, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such a murky story.

What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?

A master storyteller whose clever mind may never be matched, Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.

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  • Sourcebooks Landmark
  • Hardcover
  • December 2020
  • 288 Pages
  • 9781492682721

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$26.99

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About Marie Benedict

Marie Benedict is the author of The Mystery of Mrs ChristieMarie Benedict is the author of The Other Einstein, Carnegie’s Maid, The Only Woman in the Room, and Lady Clementine. She is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms and for Fortune 500 companies.

Author Website

Praise

“The Mystery of Mrs. Christie is part domestic thriller, part Golden Age mystery– and all Marie Benedict! An absorbing and immersive plunge into the disturbed private life of one of the world’s most beloved authors, who confounded police, journalists, and generations of biographers when she disappeared from her home, like something out of one of her own novels. But you just might find a solution to the puzzle here…. (No Belgian detectives required. Knitting spinsters sold separately.)” Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author

“A winning whodunit from the thrilling life story of the mistress of whodunits, Agatha Christie herself, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie is a deft, fascinating page-turner replete with richly drawn characters and plot twists that would stump Hercule Poirot.” Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network, The Huntress, and the upcoming The Rose Code

“What a read! Agatha Christie is so beautifully drawn, you could easily believe Benedict knew her intimately. Each page uncovers fresh layers of pain, rage, genius and suffering, culminating with a firecracker of an ending. I loved it.” Stuart Turton, bestselling author of The Devil and the Dark Water and The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

“With twists, surprises, and an ending that packs a punch in more ways than one, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie is a whodunit infinitely worthy of its famous heroine. Benedict’s exploration of Agatha Christie’s life and mysterious disappearance will have book club discussions running overtime. Quite simply, I loved it!” Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours and The Book of Lost Friends

“Brilliantly constructed and richly detailed, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie is both a twisty mystery and immersive portrait of the domestic and professional life of the legendary Agatha Christie. This is a must-read for fans of Agatha Christie.” Chanel Cleeton, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Last Train to Key West and Next Year in Havana

“[Marie Benedict] keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain? A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.” Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions

1. Agatha Christie is one of the most celebrated mystery writers of all time. What did you know about her personal history before you read The Mystery of Mrs. Christie? Did the book challenge any of your preconceived notions about her life?

2. Agatha Christie was a successful writer within her lifetime, quite unusual for a woman of her time. How did her desire for independence shape the course of the story, both obviously and more subtly?

3. Do you think Agatha Christie is a good representative of the issues that women faced in her era? Did she have any privileges or responsibilities that set her apart from other women of her period?

4. Describe the night Archie and Agatha first met. How did their relationship change over time, and why? Do you think Agatha’s manuscript told the full story? What details do you think she changed or left out? Why do you think she might have altered the “truth”?

5. Archie spends much of the story trying to protect his reputation. Do you think that would be the case if the story took place today? Would it be easier or more difficult for him to deflect guilt in the modern news cycle?

6. What differences did you see between the Agatha within the manuscript and the Agatha who appears at the end of the book? What creative licenses did she take with her own personality and story? Were they justified?

7. Toward the end of the book, Agatha mourns the mother she could not be for Rosalind. What forces dominated their relationship? Do you think Agatha’s struggle to balance husband and child was common in her historical period? How do you expect her relationship with Rosalind to evolve after the events of the book? How does this compare with parental struggles mothers face now?

8. Which characters, if any, did you find to be most relatable? Did you connect with Agatha? Were there any characters you wished you knew more about?

9. Agatha left an enormous mark on the mystery community and on the world of books more generally. Do you think her marriage had an effect on her success? Or her disappearance? If so, what was it? How would you characterize her personal and professional legacies?

Excerpt

THE BEGINNING

The letter flutters on the desk, almost keeping time with the footsteps thundering across the floor. Back and forth, back and forth, the feet pace, and the thick writing paper quivers to the same rhythm. The black, spiky words that possess the ivory page seem to come alive and pulsate with each heavy tread.

How do you want this story to end? It seems to me that there are two paths from which you can choose, the first involving a softer landing than the second, though neither are without bumps and bruises, of course. These small injuries are simply a necessary consequence of this entire exercise, as I’m sure you must understand by now. Or have I overestimated you and you haven’t guessed? No matter. My goal—which you will undoubtedly f ind utterly unacceptable—will be met regardless of your awareness. Freeing myself of the shackles of your judgment and your malfeasance will be a delightful result of your duplicity, a result you never intended. Because you only ever intended to serve your own needs and satisfy your own desires. I was never in the forefront of your mind, not even in the early days, even as I was told that you should always be at the forefront of mine.

The room, already dark despite the morning hour, grows even blacker. Seconds later, a gust of wind blows open the lightly closed but unlatched window, and the pages of the letter blow off the desk and onto the carpet. Darkness blankets its words until a crack of thunder sounds—how very fitting and typical that it is a dark and stormy night, the letter’s recipient thinks—and lightning suddenly illuminates the room. And the words make themselves known again.

Read on and follow my instructions closely if you wish the safety of the first path and the security of its conclusion. It will not be easy. You will have to be stalwart, even when the road is rocky and you suffer from doubts and shame. Only by following my directions at each crossroads in this journey will the story end well for us all.