Today marks the 131st anniversary of the birth of Agatha Christie (Photo: “Agatha Christie” by Peter576. Is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, better known as Christie Agatha, was one of the most prolific authors of the last century. In life, wrote about 74 novels, there are 28 collections of short stories of his authorship, about 16 plays and in none of those texts, not even in his two autobiographical books, did he dedicate a single chapter, page, paragraph and sentence to explain what happened during the 11 days when he disappeared without leaving a trace.

“She refused to talk about it, refused to answer questions about it. Even with his family. She knew that the people around her knew that it was a forbidden subject”. For the writer Marie benedictThe disappearance of Agatha Christie was the biggest challenge when it came to writing about her, but also one of her main motivations.

In writing “Agatha’s Secret”, Marie entered unfamiliar territory in several ways. On the one hand, there are the 11 days of complete silence in the life of Agatha Christie, and on the other, the fact that Marie Benedict was not used to writing about women as famous as her.

Marie Benedict is the author of "Agatha's Secret" (Photo: authormariebenedict.com)
Marie Benedict is the author of “The Secret of Agatha” (Photo: authormariebenedict.com)

I usually write about women who are strangers, whose stories are unknown, whose legacies are unknown […] I like to shine a light on women who are invisible ”, however, that is not the case with Agatha Chrisite. She is not only known for her extensive work as a writer, but for having woven some of the most intelligent and complex mysteries of detective literature.

The novel of crime and intrigue was Agatha Christie’s specialty: of the 74 novels she wrote, 66 were in the detective genre. Her mastery of the genre led her to be recognized in 2013 by the Crime Writers Association for her novel “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” as the best detective novel of all time. However, Agathe Christe says that one of the stories that cost her the most was “And there were none left”; one of the favorite novels by its most assiduous readers.

On the other hand, one of his best-known books, which has been adapted to the screen on several occasions, is “Murder on the Orient Express”. Although “Death on the Nile” and “The mousetrap” also stand out.

Agatha Christie's disappearance was widely publicized (Photo: Daily Herald (London) December 15, 1926, p. 1.)
Agatha Christie’s disappearance was widely publicized (Photo: Daily Herald (London) December 15, 1926, p. 1.)

Despite all that recognition and the fame that followed her mysterious disappearance, Marie Benedict thinks Agatha Christie is a great example of how “Even with famous women, we don’t really know them. We only know their public faces. We do not know who they are authentically, and we often do not know their true stories. “

For Marie Benedict, the reason for this double life is that “society only wants to see certain versions of women. In the times when Agatha lived, it was not acceptable for a woman to be ambitious. It was acceptable for a woman to be a mother, a wife, but to have a career of her own, that was not.

In “Agatha’s Secret”, her disappearance is not just another mystery story in the author’s life. This is not an unexpected plot twist, but a consequence of the difficulties that Agatha was going through at that time in her life.

Marie Benedict begins her book by counting in parallel two of the most important events in the shared life between Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller and Archibald -Archie- Christe: the moment they met and the process of their separation.

Agatha Christie with her husband Archie, before his disappearance (Photo: Author unknown)
Agatha Christie with her husband Archie, before his disappearance (Photo: Author unknown)

“Just before his disappearance, many tragic events occurred. His mother died a year before […] and her [Agatha Christe] he spent a whole summer sorting through his mother’s belongings in that huge house he had on the English coast […] And it was just around those days that her husband told her that he was going to leave her, that he was in love with another woman ”.

In such a way that, at the time of her disappearance, Agatha Chrisite was deeply affected on an emotional level. Nevertheless, Marie Benedict does not think of Agatha as a victim of her sudden evanescence; “Maybe she was extremely emotionally distressed, but I think intellectually, she handled it.” For her it is no coincidence that the author of such clever mysteries had evaporated in a way so similar to the puzzles she used to put together in her novels.

When Marie Benedict writes “The Secret of Agatha Christie”, she is not only aiming to unravel the mystery of her disappearance. “It is deeply satisfying to go back in history and build a narrative that is entirely for women, to enter that world. […] and what is even more satisfying is seeing the reaction of the readers. I feel that the readers, women and men (but obviously many women), are really thirsty for these stories ”.

What books would you recommend for someone who is about to start reading Agatha Christie?

Some of my favorites are his most famous books. I’d probably recommend ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ or ‘Death on the Nile’. And after they read my book, not before, unless they have already read it, ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’. It is the book he wrote a year before his disappearance. “

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