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The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

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Member Reviews

I could not WAIT to start this book, as I adore anything Agatha Christie. The book is well written, and I love how short the chapters are, however, I feel it could’ve been a little shorter and had the same effect. It also did tend to drone along at times, make it very difficult to stay engaged and that’s no fault of the subject matter. Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this good read!

I have always been a huge Agatha Christie fan, so I enjoyed the historical fiction aspect of this story relating to her life and writing.  I also found the author's play on Christie's famous disappearance especially satisfying, though saying more would give too much away.  This is a good book for those that like historical fiction and mystery of all kinds, especially those that like historical fiction about real people.  Also good for those that liked Circling the Sun by Paula McLain or Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts.
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In December of 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days and there was an unprecedented manhunt for her.  When she reappeared, it was claimed that she suffered from amnesia.  The mystery of what really happened to her during those 11 days was never revealed or solved.  

Marie Benedict has written a brilliantly crafted novel that offers an imagined, yet plausible, explanation of the story behind Agatha’s disappearance.  The story is written in alternating chapters: 1) a first-person account told from Agatha’s point of view from the time she met her husband, Archie Christie, up to the day she disappeared, and 2) a third-person account told from Archie’s point of view starting from the time he learns of her disappearance through the 11 days that she is missing.  The two timelines converge into a satisfying conclusion.

Benedict has written a historical fiction novel full of suspense and mystery.  She has become one of my favorite authors.  I thoroughly recommend this latest novel.  Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me the opportunity to read an advanced review copy of this book.
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Let me start off by saying that I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan. I've read her books, I've seen the movie adaptations, I think she is brilliant! To say that I was really looking forward to reading this book would be an understatement. So maybe my expectations were a bit too high. It was a good read but I guess I was looking for something more. My biggest criticism of this book is the characterization of Agatha's husband, Archie Christie. I found him to be absolutely horrible, I've never hated a character so much! He was made out to be incredibly selfish, unsympathetic, nasty, rude, self absorbed, shall I go on? The way he treated Agatha was sickening, there were points I got so disgusted I could hardly continue reading. The way Agatha acquiesced to his rotten behavior was frustrating and upsetting. A large part of the book is dedicated to Agatha's devotion and idolization of this hateful man, so this turned me off a bit.

What I did like about the book was that I felt I got to know more about Agatha's inner self. She was not without her faults, but I did understand and felt sympathetic towards her. It was also interesting to see how she incorporated parts of her life into her stories. I also loved the ending, it was totally satisfying. Many books drop the ball at the end but this one did not disappoint. I especially loved the final paragraph. I would recommend this book, and if you are an Agatha Christie fan, it's a must.
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This book could have been written by Agatha Christie herself. It was full of intrigue and suspense. A magnificent nod to the unsolvable mysteries that Christie herself set out to write. Benedict skillfully includes the limited knowledge of Christie's disappearance with an entirely plausible story. It was magnificent being able to get a glimpse of Christie's life in her youth while also uncovering the pieces of her disappearance. The merging of the two timelines at the end was very well done. The book is so fast paced that I read it in one afternoon. Thoroughly enjoyable read and I believe it is Marie Benedict's best work to date.
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If you have read any of Agatha Christie's novels, love historical fiction or love a good mystery, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.

Even if you have not read a Christie, you certainly have heard of her. But how many of you know that she was missing for 11 days in December of 1926? Benedict has surmised a story line behind that disappearance and done a superb job.

The story is written in two time lines. The first: Agatha from about the age of 16 when she meets Archibald Christie, marries him and starts her writing career with The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
The second: the thoughts of Archie Christie as he endures the 11 days during her disappearance.

I received this book from BookBrowse in return for a review. Thank you to BookBrowse and Netgalley. Doing this review was a real pleasure.

Book to be published January 21, 2021

5 stars
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The Mystery of Agatha Christie by Marie Benedict

Marie Benedict is one of my favorite authors which drew me to pick this book to read and review. Even though this is historical fiction I like the way the author gave a voice to Agatha and all she went through during her marriage. The reason for her disappearance as laid out to Archie shows her cleverness and in turn the reason for her successful career. 
I investigated her disappearance further and find it interesting with all the publicity and people looking for her that she did not come forward sooner to let everyone know she was alive. 
Was it a publicity stunt as some claim or revenge for her husband’s affair because he did become a suspect in her disappearance. Agatha never divulged her reason but the whole affair resulted in her books becoming very popular.
The author does an excellent job of bringing to light the mystery writer’s unsolved mystery!
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I can't count the number of times I've heard (from the publisher) about this book, and finally I've read it.  Based on the real disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926, this supposal moves between Agatha meeting Archie Christie and their marriage, and Archie dealing with her disappearance.   Obviously some of the events are known (for example, the police involvement) but what actually occurred and why she left has never been revealed.  One wonders if Archie's personality change was due to PTSD (or shellshock, as it was known then) combined with the knowledge that Agatha was from a higher class than he was from at a time when England was very, and I mean very, class conscious.  Had that not happened, perhaps Agatha wouldn't have been driven to run away?  

Of all the supposal books I've read, this is one of the better ones.  The author's sensitivity to both sides, as well as setting this in such a way that readers not as aware of British life in the 1920s still understand the nuances of the Christie homelife.

eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley.
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Loved this unique story. Highly recommended. Marie Benedict just keeps getting better and better. This is by far my favorite of her titles. Agatha Christie is a favorite, it was great to have a contemporary story based on her.
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For most of the "real" story of Agatha Christie's disappearance, or at least as much as is publically known, check out this article in the NYTimes Magazine from June 2019, which includes many clips from contemporaneous news articles.  For a fictionalized, but very believable, novel based on the same thing, check out Marie Benedict's latest offering.  Since Mrs. Christie refused to ever speak about what actually happenend, this may be as close as we get to the "truth".

Agatha and her husband take turns telling the story.  Agatha's chapters go back to the past, starting when she met her future husband and going up to the day she disappears.  His start with learning of her disappearance, and they alternate until she is "found" at a Yorkshire spa.  Her chapters are filled with a growing knowledge that the man she married is not the loving husband she thought he was and that perhaps her mother's advice to make him the absolute focus of her life to the exclusion of all else, even their daughter, is not all it's cracked up to be.  His chapters are threaded through with an overlying but vague threat that she made in a letter she left for him before she disappeared that require him to play his part in solving the "mystery".

Benedict tells this story capably, staying very close to the known facts.  So close that one wonders what the reader learns that the newspapers haven't already reported.  Of course, a novel takes us into the characters' heads in a way that journalism can't, but Benedict seems to have left her imagination by the wayside in inhabiting her characters.  Agatha matures throughout the book as she realizes that her marriage is not all that she hoped it would be, and becomes more resolute in her determination to shape her own destiny, but Mr. Christie is very one-dimensional throughout his chapters.  I suppose some characters are easier to write than others, but I hope that for Ms. Benedict's next book, she chooses a subject that alows her more free rein with her generous writing talents.
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The book is very, very readable, using the tools of alternating times and points of view to start the reader both in the happy past and at the shocking point of the disappearance. Pure curiosity will ensure the pages turn.
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My favorite author? Agatha Christie. And a fabulous writer of historical fiction about strong women takes her on? Yes, please.

I love what Marie Benedict did with the mystery of Agatha Christie's disappearance. She is a living, fantastic yet flawed woman here. And I found myself hating her first husband, Archie, a sign of good writing.

Highly recommended.
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This was fabulous! I’d heard of her disappearance and this tale fills in the gaps perfectly. A compulsive read.
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In 1926, Agatha Christie mysteriously disappeared for 11 days leaving her husband and small daughter behind.  England was riveted to the investigation and thousands of citizens joined in the search for the famous author.
Marie Benedict has re-imagined this story as a battle of wills between Christie and her husband Col. Archibald Christie. There are two narratives, that of Mrs. Christie’s starting in the early days of the couple’s courtship and that of Col. Christie’s during the time of the search for his missing wife.  Like any good mystery, there are unreliable narrators, misdirection and unexpected plot twists. One of the pleasures of this novel is seeing how Christie’s life and environment is reflected in her books. This is a must read for fans of Agatha Christie as well as readers with an interest in stories set in the years around World War 1 in England.
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The mystery of Mrs. Christie
Very good book and a fun read. Benedict effectively bounces from Agatha's meeting and courtship with Christie to their marriage, birth of their daughter and their life together. It's a believable story of the disappearance of Mrs. Christie. The only thing keeping me from a 5 star rating is that some aspects of the disappearance seemed to fit together too neatly. I'll be reading more from this author.
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A fun take on the true story mystery about Agatha Christie’s disappearance in 1926. A plausible and empowering explanation.
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I have always enjoyed reading Agatha Christie's books and I really enjoyed this one about Agatha herself. It held my attention and kept me turning pages. Just when I thought I had figured out it would take another twist. Very well written. Great for Book club discussions. Highly recommend.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this novel about Agatha Christie's mysterious disappearance. Such a fascinating way to peek into the life of the beloved mystery author. Can't wait to share this with our Strong Sense of Place audience.
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The mystery surrounding Agatha Christie's disappearance in December 1926 has always intrigued me so I was excited to read Maria Benedict's version of what really happened. The book alternates between two narratives. Agatha begins by detailing the meeting of her husband Archie in 1912, their courtship and their difficult marriage leading up to the point of her disappearance in 1926. The alternating chapters deal with the investigation into her disappearance which focuses on Archie's point of view. While reading the book, I thought it was a solid 3 stars but then that ending. Benedict nailed it in classical Agatha Christie form. Bravo!
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Author Marie Benedict has selected Agatha Christie as the latest historic woman to have her story told in The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, coming out in January 2021.

Archibald Christie just had to have Agatha Miller in his life even though she was engaged to someone else. Once married, his feelings for her seemed to slowly diminish until she seemed more of a nuisance to him than someone he loved and coveted. They had married in 1914, had their only child Rosalind in 1919, and the marriage just faded away as he pursued other women.

Although she never discussed it, Agatha Christie went missing in 1926, and her husband was put off because she apparently interrupted a weekend with his lover when the police fetched him because his wife was missing. Her empty wrecked car caused a manhunt to find the mystery writer. She would turn up 11 days later claiming loss of memory when she actually had been creating her best mystery ever.

Marie Benedict has once again beautifully created the story of a famous woman as she did with Mrs. Einstein and Mrs. Churchill. A lawyer who graduated from Boston University Law School, Benedict focused on History and Art History at Boston College as an undergraduate. I wonder who she will next create as she pursues the hidden stories of famous women. Marie Benedict’s subjects don’t always interest me, but her writing draws me in each time.

My review will be posted on Goodreads starting November 8, 2020.

I’d like to thank Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for an objective review.
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