Her brilliantly inspired historical fiction, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, boldly speculates on what could have happened during those unexplained days. Several other books and movies have tried fictionalizing this stretch of time, with mixed results, for example the 1979 film Agatha with Vanessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman. But Benedict’s imagining stands out from the pack, cleverly positing that Agatha’s private tragedy was the genesis of the legendary author’s success ... , a rich dual storyline unfolds ... Benedict shines as a suspense writer, paying excellent homage to Agatha’s novels with twisting motives and deftly described actions. Her vivid characterizations and sweeping prose transport the reader right back to the 1900s. News reports and event timelines from the era fit effortlessly into Agatha’s observations of the happiness and pain that fill her world.
Marie Benedict’s neatly arranged, earnestly imagined The Mystery of Mrs. Christie offers an interpretation Dame Agatha might have endorsed, a page-turning hybrid of historical fiction and literary thriller ... Through brief, alternating chapters, we get a first-person account of Christie’s life from the evening in 1912 when her eventual husband, war-pilot Archie, falls hard for her at a dance, all the way through to the inscrutable 11 days.
Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain? A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.