- Anniversary Poisoned by Agatha Christie
On December 4, 1926, an event shocked Britain. Agatha Christie's car was found abandoned and in a head-on collision next to a Surrey quarry. Inside was a fur coat, a small suitcase, and a driver's license, but no sign of it. The writer, who was already very famous for her mystery novels , starred in an enigmatic episode, worthy of the best of her literary arguments. When the centenary of the publication of his first novel, The Mysterious Case of De Styles (1920), marks a new book, he describes the strange event that kept the British on edge.
Many people thought that the disappearance of the crime queen was part of an advertising campaign to promote her latest novel, but the reality was quite different. 500 police officers and up to 2,000 civilian volunteers participated in the search for the writer.
Ponds and streams were dredged, tracking dogs, an airplane, and even the powers of a medium were used to find her whereabouts, but they were useless. Christie, then 36, was married and the mother of a daughter , she was gone. She was found 11 days later in a Harrogate hotel, not far from the place of her disappearance, where she was registered under the name Teresa Neele . She did not remember anything, nor was she able to recognize her husband. 94 years have passed since then, but the mystery has never been fully solved. What had happened?
Along with the theory of amnesia, which the family always defended, another way pointed out that the writer had wanted to take revenge on her husband, Archibald Christie, who a few days earlier had asked for a divorce because she had a relationship with a young woman with whom I played golf. That young woman was named Nancy Neele.
To the blow of Archie, a former fighter pilot from World War I, was added another very recent one: the death of his mother. Agatha was going through an emotionally difficult moment when her husband revealed to her that he had a mistress and that he intended to leave with her.
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According to the biographer Andrew Wilson, "she was depressed, suffered from insomnia, ate little, felt confused, alone and unhappy", a situation that led to a suicide attempt that she regretted.
A new book, Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life , by Laura Thompson , redounds with that idea but sheds more light on the case and argues, after consulting with family files of the crime queen, that she hatched the plan to try to recover her husband. According to Thompson, Agatha wrote a farewell letter to Archie and left her home that night in her car, a gray Morris Cowley. He drove to the quarry where he spent a long time with the idea of suicide hanging around his head, but his strong religious convictions prevented him. Finally he slept in the vehicle.
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The next morning, he released the parking brake, let the car roll, and walked to the nearest station to catch a train to London . During the trip he wrote a letter to his brother-in-law , Campbell Christie, in which he explained that he was going to the spa town of Harrogate to rest for a few days because he was feeling ill. She registered with the city's Hydro as Teresa Neele, the last name of her husband's mistress . She expected her brother-in-law to read the letter, make her brother's behavior ugly, and Archie to go look for her, but the days passed and his plan didn't work. Despite the letter to his brother-in-law in which he indicated where he was, the Police continued their inquiries at other locations.
News of her search was happening in the newspapers, and hotel guests began to suspect that Teresa Neele was, in fact, the missing writer . Eleven days later Archie finally appeared at the hotel. She said she did not remember anything and he confirmed it. They returned home but the marriage broke up. Two years later Archie married Nancy Neele.
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