London, 1925. In a world of townhomes and tennis matches, socialites and shooting parties, Miss Nan O'Dea became Archie Christie's mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Agatha Christie. The question is, why? Why destroy another woman's marriage, why hatch a plot years in the making, and why murder? How was Nan O'Dea so intricately tied to those eleven mysterious days that Agatha Christie went missing?
An ingenious new psychological suspense novel that concocts an elaborate backstory behind Christie’s disappearance ... Here’s the neatest narrative trick of all: As Christie characteristically did, de Gramont hides the solution to the mystery of The Christie Affair in plain sight ... The Christie Affair is richly imagined; inventive and, occasionally, poignant; and about as true-to-life as Christie’s own tales of quaint villages with their staggering murder rates. But when fabrications are this marvelous, why demand realism?
Nina de Gramont revisits the story with arguably more artistry and ingenuity than any previous novel ... It’s a necessity in such a two-pronged story that both plots are of equal interest. Ms. de Gramont proves up to the task, even as she weaves elements and devices from some of Christie’s best-known puzzles into her own elaborate conundrum. It’s a particular treat in this work, which sizzles from its first sentence, to be presented with an Agatha Christie who breaks free from societal restraints and runs into unpredictable adventure.
The Christie Affair reads at first much like the absorbing works of Paula McLain and Gaynor Arnold: solidly researched historical fiction that sensitively explores the emotions of the women involved in turbulent events. It did, however, show itself surprisingly willing to lean into a less than decorous – but very much appreciated by this reader – rage against the horrors committed against women in the early 20th century ... At about the 72% mark, I realized that this novel...was something much more than even the best of its contemporaries in the historical fiction genre. The further I read, the more I was dazzled by what I discovered was also an extremely clever sleight of hand, as Nina de Gramont spins several different and seemingly unrelated mystery threads before snapping them all together into a breathtaking tapestry of crime and heartbreak and, most importantly, communion and grace ... While the details of the story as written are different enough from the historical facts to make it clear that this is a work of fiction, oh, how I wanted this to be a true chronicle. Ms de Gramont does amazing work here, balancing a fair play murder mystery plot worthy of Dame Christie herself with the kind of characterization that, she dryly notes, the more famous author often skipped over in favor of stereotypes ... This is an extraordinary murder mystery novel that dares to invoke the spirit of Dame Christie and succeeds. I could not stop reading that last quarter of the book, so invested was I in the happiness of all the characters I’d come to care for in the course of reading it. I highly recommend this to any reader, but especially to those willing to explore with empathy the many mysteries of the human condition.