*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a food ideas, and discussion questions in that order!
If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie, you probably know that in 1926 Mrs. Christie went missing for 11 days. When she surfaced, she claimed to have no memory of what happened during that time and to this day it remains a mystery.
That is until Marie Benedict hypothesized perhaps the most logical reason for Mrs. Christie’s disappearance in her latest novel The Mystery of Mrs. Christie.
While I was skeptical that Benedict could offer a plausible story for Mrs. Christie’s disappearance after all these years, I’m happy to tell you that she does! And she keeps the reader’s attention through the entire story.
Told from Agatha’s and her husband’s (Archie) perspective, the novel explores the time leading up to the disappearance, the missing days, and the reunion.
I love reading books that explore the lives of authors and this was no different. I especially loved learning more about Agatha Christie’s beginnings and it made me want to read more of her works.
Many readers have complained about Agatha’s portrayal in the novel, but I suspect that they did not finish reading it. There is a twist at the end that is surprising and explains the portrayal in question.
There is plenty to discuss in about Agatha Christie, the Benedict hypothesis, and all of the characters’ choices. If you love Agatha Christie, you’ll love this novel about her boggling disappearance.
I’ve provided book club questions and delicious food ideas for The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, so if you are looking for book club ideas and more, keep reading!
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Here’s a brief summary of The Mystery of Mrs. Christie:
From the Publisher: “In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car—strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.
The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.
What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?
Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie’s masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.”
For The Mystery of Mrs. Christie Food Ideas:
Throughout the book there are a number of dinners or lunches, but only a few of the specific foods are mentioned.
Here are a few of the food ideas from the pages of The Mystery of Mrs. Christie:
- Chapter 17 – Archie and Agatha take a walk to No-Man’s-Land and wind up in an apple orchard where they eat their fill
- Chapter 19 – Agatha tells Archie she’s expecting over a dinner of pork, potatoes, and vegetables
- Chapter 41- The morning of the fight – breakfast of toast and ruby-red jam with tea
- Chapter 43 – The dinner where Archie never shows – consumme, venison, Dover sole
If one of these doesn’t suit your fancy, check out this post on Agatha’s favorite food. Cream. I knew I liked her.
You can create the fig scones mentioned, or try these apple ones (with the tie-in to chapter 17 mentioned above).
Whether you choose something from this list or try your own option, I hope these food ideas will get your creative juices flowing to host your book club for The Mystery of Mrs. Christie!
The Mystery of Mrs. Christie Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
- The novel alternates between Agatha’s perspective (starting in the past and moving towards the future) and Archie’s perspective after the disappearance. Which did you enjoy reading most and why?
- At the end of the novel, Agatha reveals that her perspective or “The Manuscript” chapters were actually that, a manuscript, told from her viewpoint and often skewed. What did you think when you learned this? Were you surprised or did you catch on to this hint before it was revealed? How would knowing this beforehand have changed the way you read the novel?
- In the end, Agatha states she never could get Archie quite right in her manuscript. How did you feel about the Archie she wrote verses the Archie we saw in his chapters? Do you think he was as domineering as she made him out to be? Do you think she was as submissive as she wrote herself?
- Before reading the book did you know about Agatha Christie’s disappearance? What did you think about the hypothesis presented in the novel? Before reading what was your guess about what happened to Mrs. Christie during her disappearance? Did the novel change your mind?
- As in most divorces, both parties in the novel are unreliable and looking out for their own interests. Why do you think Agatha and Archie fell in love with each other in the first place? Why do you think the marriage failed (based on what was presented in the novel)?
- Discuss Agatha’s relationship with her mother and her sister, who both encourage her to put her husband’s needs before her own needs. Do you think they were wrong to say those things or did Agatha take it to the extreme?
- Agatha Christie is one of the best selling authors of all time. Her mysteries and techniques (unreliable narrators specifically) revolutionized the writing world. Have you read any of her books? Which is your favorite? Why?
- Discuss other authors you know of who have an interesting history or a dark past. Do you think knowing history about an author enriches the reading experience or is it inconsequential?
- Agatha’s sister serves as a catalyst for Agatha’s writing career. Has anyone ever challenged your ability to do something which encouraged you to embark upon a journey you might otherwise have not taken?
- Have you read any other Marie Benedict books? How does The Mystery of Mrs. Christie compare?
Have you read The Mystery of Mrs. Christie? What did you think? Did it satisfy you or were you left wishing for more? What are some similar books you’ve read?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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