Wednesday, December 3, 2008
THE CASE OF THE MISSING MYSTERY WRITER
Today marks the anniversary of the disappearance of Agatha Christie. If you don’t know who she is, you’re on the wrong website. You may have better luck finding what you’re looking for at BritneySpears.com — and no, I’m not going to make it clickable so you can jump there.
Where was I? Oh yes... as the story goes, late in 1926 Agatha’s husband, Colonel Archibald Christie, told her that he was in love with a younger woman. Men can be such bastards. Poor Agatha was making the family fortune by banging out novels, while her old man was out banging — oh, never mind.
Anyway, on the morning of December 3, Agatha and Archibald had a kickass screaming fight. Something about infidelity. That night she left the house.
Hours later her car was found at the bottom of a chalk pit miles from her home. Her fur coat was still inside, and the engine had been turned off, which meant that someone had pushed the car into the pit.
The police suspected foul play.
They questioned the husband. Where had he been? A party. What kind of a party? An engagement party. He was going to divorce Agatha and marry Nancy Neele. Was Agatha cool with that? (Those may not be the actual words they used.) No, he said. Agatha was pissed, she called while I was at the party and threatened to show up and make a scene.
And then what, they asked the Colonel. I drove home to calm her down. She wasn’t there, so naturally I went back to the party. (I told you he was a bastard.)
Don’t leave town, Archie. (Again, those might not be the actual words.)
For the next 11 days thousands of volunteers searched 40 square miles of countryside, while the cops dragged the lakes and rivers looking for the bloated cadaver of poor Dame Agatha.
Meanwhile, she was on the other side of England at a posh hotel, registered as — are you ready — Mrs. Neele, the name of the Colonel’s mistress. (My female readers are now chuckling their asses off.) Anyway, hotel employees recognized her, and although the hotel prided itself on being extremely discreet about the (ahem) comings and goings of their guests, all bets are off when there’s a fat reward for the woman in room 314, who would eventually sell 2 billion books in over 100 countries.
Aggie claimed amnesia. She remembered nothing about her disappearance, and had no idea where she got the huge bundle of money that it took to rent the room and buy a pricey new wardrobe. The cops were pissed. They didn't mind spending 11 days and thousands of pounds trying to find her, but they thought someone of Agatha Christie's caliber could have come up with something a lot more creative than amnesia. How soap opera can you get?
Some say it was an elaborate hoax to promote her books. Some say it was Agatha's way of bringing public shame to the Colonel for not keeping the little colonel in his pants. And some say, hey, it’s Agatha Christie — who knows what these wacky mystery writers will do next?
I say, way to go Aggie. In the dark, and the freezing cold, it must have been a bitch pushing that Bentley into the chalk pit.