Agatha Christie had a knack for creating unsolvable crimes often with devastatingly simple solutions. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide, making her one of the most-published authors in the world today. In her own time, Agatha was wildly successful and popular. Everyone knew her name but not many knew what went on behind the closed doors of her cozy English home. Her husband, Archibald Christie, had begun an affair with his much younger secretary, Nancy Neale and on December 3, 1926, he and Agatha fought violently over his asking for a divorce. Archibald left the house that night to stay with friends and Agatha left alone in her car shortly after, leaving her daughter with the maid. She left behind three letters: one to her brother-in-law, one to her secretary, and one to her husband. Only the contents of her secretary’s letter have been divulged.
In the morning, Agatha had not returned home, and her car was found abandoned with her coat, suitcase, and driver’s license. What ensued was one of the most publicized and frantic searches in American history. Thousands of policemen and volunteers eagerly joined in to find the beloved author. The police even called in the expert advice of mystery writers Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers. But even with such celebrated figures on the case, they found nothing. Eleven days into the ever-expanding search, the police received a phone call from a waiter at the Hydropathic Hotel in Yorkshire saying that he suspected one of the guests to be Agatha in disguise and they jumped into action.
Archibald Christie went to the hotel to identify his wife, taking a table in the restaurant. From his seat, he watched his wife walk in and take up a newspaper, with her own face on the cover. He approached her and at first, she seemed to not recognize him. Afterward, it was revealed that Agatha had checked into the hotel after crashing and leaving her car. Opinions differ today as to whether it was a plot cooked up by the author to embarrass her husband or if she suffered from a severe case of amnesia brought on by the loss of her mother and her marriage. All that is known for certain is that Agatha never again talked of this strange incident again and never gave any hint as to why it all happened, leaving the public to speculate and extrapolate on their own.
Written by Kimberly Kuntz