Agatha’s disappearance

There was a recent article about the “disappearance” of Agatha Christie in The Observer in light of a new book by Andrew Norman [quote from article below]

“The solution to the darkest of all Agatha Christie mysteries may be at hand. What lay behind her extraordinary 11-day disappearance in 1926? Several plausible theories have competed for favour over the years, but biographer Andrew Norman believes he is the first to find one that satisfies every element of the case.

In his study of the writer’s life published this autumn, Norman uses medical case studies to show that Christie was in the grip of a rare but increasingly acknowledged mental condition known as a ‘fugue state’, or a period of out-of-body amnesia induced by stress. In effect, the writer was in a kind of trance for several days, he claims.

The mystery, which has puzzled both the police and Christie fans for 80 years, is a why-dunnit, rather than a who-dunnit. It began on the evening of Friday 3 December at Styles, the Berkshire home of the crime writer, by then already an established name, with a sixth novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, selling well. Around 9.45pm, without warning, she drove away from the house, having first gone upstairs to kiss her sleeping daughter, Rosalind. Her abandoned Morris Cowley was later found down a slope at Newlands Corner near Guildford. There was no sign of her.”

Today in The Guardian Frances Fyfield “answers” Mr Norman.

The “disappearing act” by Agatha Christie over 11 days in 1926 has always been a subject of huge curiosity and mystery. Why did a famous and successful woman cut and run, leaving her car abandoned in a way that suggested self-injury, to fetch up in a genteel hotel in Harrogate – where she remained oblivious to newspaper headlines and a national hunt to find her while acting perfectly normally as a guest?

Agatha was never ill-mannered and it was so unlike her to cause any fuss. She had been a good daughter, wife, mother; a little schooled in self-effacement, perhaps. Perhaps part of the enduring fascination with her apparently irresponsible disappearance was because it was so out of character, but also because it was so obviously the result of a disordered mind. There may well have been a certain satisfaction in this discovery.

She was, after all, a woman who wrote about murder, a female who dabbled in blood and wielded the not so blunt instruments of homicide with unseemly satisfaction and considerable success. Such an unsuitable job for a woman. Of course she had to be bonkers.

rest of article

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