In 1926, famed mystery writer Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Her whereabouts unknown, hundreds of police officers and civilians searched for her, finding her car abandoned by a pond. She was eventually found at a hotel, claiming she had no memory of what happened. The Christie Affair is Nina de Gramont’s fictitious imagining of what may have happened during those mysterious 11 days, told through the viewpoint of Nan O’Dea, Archie Christie’s mistress. Full of twists and turns, character revelations and connections, this story is rich with subjects for discussion using our The Christie Affair book club questions.
This The Christie Affair discussion guide has everything you need to delve into a lively discussion about the many turns this story takes. Included in the discussion guide is a synopsis, selected reviews offering some different opinions, and suggestions for more books like The Christie Affair if you would like to continue on with some similar reading. Also included are The Christie Affair book club questions, with 10 questions about different characters and plot points to get the discussion rolling in your book club.
The Christie Affair Synopsis
(We always chose to provide the publisher synopsis because we feel that it’s worthwhile to discuss whether the official book description actually squared with your experience of the book.)
10 The Christie Affair Book Club Questions
- Noting the synopsis above– if you look on Amazon’s Kindle page for this book, it has a different synopsis description than the audiobook or Goodreads synopsis. Which do you feel more accurately describes the book? And why do you think that the publisher chose to use two different synopses?
- Do you think the stories of Agatha and Nan worked well together?
- Alternatively, what do you think about the story being told from Nan’s point of view?
- If you have read Agatha Christie’s own books before, did anything about this book remind you of them?
- “The age of disappearing women. It had been going on forever. Thousands of us vanished, with not a single police officer searching. Not a word from the newspapers. Only our long absences and quiet returns. If we ever returned at all.”
Were you aware of the plight of unmarried mothers in Ireland and other countries before reading this book? What do you think about it?
- Were there any parts of the mystery you saw coming, or were you completely surprised?
- “I see the kind of determination you only recognize if you’ve felt it yourself. Determination born of desperation transformed into purpose.”
What do you think of Nan’s actions with Archie? Do you think she was justified?
- Do you think Nan found Genevieve? Was Agatha telling her the truth about how she was born?
- What do you think about the honeymooning couple at the hotel, did they get what they deserved? Did you figure out who they were and what happened before it was revealed?
- Nan imagined a sweet and happy ending to the story for Agatha. Do you think that’s what Agatha would have really done?
- Let’s dish! What do you think the real life Agatha Christie actually did for those 11 days when she was missing?
Selected Reviews for The Christie Affair
“I loved this book and that the retelling is done by Nan. This is a magical story, filled with true love, heartbreak, desire, grief, pain, friendship, revenge, mystery, the bonds of marriage, living with hard decisions, and the lengths one can be driven to in order to meet those needs. Once Part II of this book started, I just could not put it down until I finished. The book was different then I was expecting, but that added to it for me. Definitely, a tremendous tale of two women and how their lives merge together and threaten to tear their worlds apart.”
“There are a lot of unanswered questions and plot holes. Pieces come together in the end and paint a picture of how the events connect in an AC-style mystery. However, to get there, one has to overlook many coincidences and unexplained events.”
“I was absolutely riveted to the drama, so entrenched in Nan and Agatha’s competition that it took me by surprise when I found myself mired in a novel of suspense. Well, duh! We are talking about Agatha Christie here. How very diabolically clever!
The author did a fantastic job of approaching this age-old mystery from a fresh perspective and handled the material with much respect, while ending the story in a slightly bittersweet, but appealingly pleasant way. I couldn’t help but love every single delicious page of it!!”
“There are many layers, unexpected twists, and interesting characters as the story unfolds. Perhaps it’s written to feel a bit like an Agatha Christie Mystery novel. Only I’m looking for more about Agatha and a little less about Nan. It begins to feel too long, drawn out, and although I was engaged for the entire listen, the story began to feel muddled.”
More Books Like The Christie Affair
The Christie Affair was a Reese’s book club pick. If you like her selections, here are a few discussion guides for others that are fictionalized accounts of real people from history: The Marriage Portrait (Lucrezia of Renaissance Florence) and The Dictionary of Lost Words (the daughter of the man who developed the Oxford English Dictionary)
The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, Marie Benedict
If you want to delve into more of the Agatha Christie disappearance mystery, this is a great selection. Focusing on Christie’s life and marriage and her disappearance, Benedict weaves together fact and fiction for another intriguing imagining of what happened during those mysterious days.
The Second Life of Mirielle West, Amanda Skenandore
Socialite Mirielle West lives a glamorous life in the 1920’s with her husband and two children, until a small spot on her hand turns her life upside down. She is diagnosed with leprosy, and her rights are stripped away as she is exiled to a leper colony in Louisiana. Based on the little known true story of the US’s only leper colony, Skenandore uses West’s tragic tale to expose a troubled part of our history and tell a story of resilience, love, and community.
The Rose Code, Kate Quinn
In the 1940’s, three women were brought together at Bletchley Park in England to help fight the Nazis by code breaking. Despite their different personalities, they bond over the long hours, love, and humor they share. Tragedy breaks them apart, until several years later when they are brought together for one more code breaking, to catch the spy from their unit. Full of rich characters and an action packed ending, this book is sure to please.
Read it for book club and use our The Rose Code discussion guide. And if you like the whole female spy, subterfuge, betrayal, tragedy, war thing, we’ve also got a whole list of books similar to The Rose Code.
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