Title: The Christie Affair
Author: Nina De Gramont
Narrator: Lucy Scott
Release Date: 20/1/22
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 30
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Macmillian Audio UK and Mantle Books ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Aside from the famous author herself, only I know the truth of her disappearance.
I’m no Hercule Poirot.
I’m her husband’s mistress.
Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.
Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.
After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.
Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .
The Christie Affair is a stunning novel that reimagines the unexplained eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926, which captivated the world.
It is no secret I am a big Agatha Christie Fan, and her own mysterious 11 day disappearance in 1926 is a fascinating subject, especially as Christie herself refused to talk about it. So when the prospect of a Murder Mystery told from the perspective of the mistress that prompted Christie to abscond I leapt at the chance to read it early. Unfortunately I was left disappointed.
The first half of the book really drew me in. it was really interesting laying out the ground work of the fictional tale around the factual information of Christie’s life up to the day she disappeared. De Gramont managed to blur the line between fact and fiction really effectively and I did enjoy that there were a number of nods to Christies works, with side characters sharing names with well known characters from her books. What I did find strange was that this was acknowledged by the character of Nan as where Christie got the names for those characters, but the character of Christie did not actually meet half of these characters throughout this story. It was little details like this that occurred about 50% of t6he way through that really turned the tide of opinion for me on this one.
What was really disappointing for me was the mystery itself. It didn’t actually hold much influence on the story itself. We got a lot of background but when it came to the actual mystery it was almost skipped over, blink and you would miss it. It was bland and held nothing of the intrigue that you would expect being so closely linked to Christie. The Agatha Christie aspects could have been completely removed from the book and the same story with the same amount of emotional impact could have been told. Christie was more of a McGuffin to the story, just an pretty convivence to hang the story on and not really integral to the overall narrative.
The ending itself was also a real miss for me. Instead of Christie’s reappearance and following actual history, the book embraces its fiction and puts in a rather forced happy ending with a bizarre romance twist which I just didn’t get at all. Why twist what actually happened? Again it just didn’t leave me happy as a reader.
I picked this book up as a Christie fan, I wanted to a Christie worthy mystery and I feel I was miss sold what this book was about. I got an interesting emotional tale of the hardships of post war Ireland with a damp squib of a murder mystery slapped on the end. It just didn’t excite me as a reader.
Lucy Scott’s narration was clear and the characterization of Nan as narrator was fantastic.