The Christie Affair


You know that feeling of discovery when you stumble across a great read?

You’ve been searching book after book for that next immersive experience but each time you end up disappointed. You’ve almost given up. You think, perhaps, your taste is old-fashioned. Perhaps, you’ve exhausted the sort of books you enjoy.

You sigh and start the next offering late at night. The book is a novel based on an event in the life of a real person, an event quite well-known, that has been the subject of documentaries and even a feature film. So you wonder how this novel can say anything fresh let alone turn out to be something you can get lost in, something that surprises you when you thought you knew how it ends, because after all it’s on the public record. Your expectations are low. Your brain is tired, your eyelids heavy. You just want the words to tip you into sleep. You start reading…

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

This is the opening line of ‘The Christie Affair’ by Nina de Gramont.

It’s about best-selling author Agatha Christie and what happened during the eleven days when she famously went missing. Her disappearance sparked a massive search. Eventually, Agatha was found alive and well in a Yorkshire hotel, but claiming loss of memory. At the time, Agatha was grappling with the recent loss of her mother and the revelation that Archie, her husband, was having an affair. Not long after their reunion, Agatha filed for divorce.

The novel is the first person account of Archie’s fictional mistress, Nan, and the circumstances of her early life that led up to the notorious Christie affair. It is a love story, a murder mystery, a tale of war and separation, of class and of crimes against women and children whose true stories are only now emerging. Reading it, I felt fear and rage, love and despair. As the novel raced towards its conclusion, I literally forgot to eat and drink.

This book is the unexpected gem you find when wading through long grass.

What reading gem have you stumbled across lately?

About the author

Sharon Hammad

Sharon is a writer living in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

By Sharon Hammad