Agatha Christie's Greatest Mystery: Why Did She Disappear For 11 Days?

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The Daily Beast / Wikimedia

She's the best-selling novelist of all time, and created two of the most popular detectives in history, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.

But writer Agatha Christie starred in her own real-life mystery, and for more than 90 years her fans have struggled to figure out what happened during the 11 days she totally disappeared.

Christie in the 1920s.BBC

The novelist's long career had just begun in 1926, when Christie had six novels under her belt and had already become a household name on both sides of the Atlantic. But Christie's husband Archie asked her for a divorce, revealing he had fallen in love with another woman while on Agatha's latest book tour.

Christie and her husband Archie.The Independent

Of course the writer was upset, and the couple got into a fight on the night of December 3, before Archie left the house in a huff. He would spend the weekend with his mistress.

That night, Christie kissed her sleeping daughter  Rosalind and left their house in Sunningdale, England just before 10 p.m. In a note to her secretary, Christie explained that she was leaving for Yorkshire.

But the next day her car was found abandoned by the cliff of a nearby quarry.  

Christie's abandoned car.KPBS

Inside the car was Christie's expired driver's license and some of her clothes. The famous writer's disappearance was soon national news, with a newspaper offering the equivalent of $8,000 for information on her whereabouts.

Over the following days Christie's case made the front page of The New York Times, as 1,000 police officers, 15,000 volunteers and a team of airplane pilots searched for her - or her body.


Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, even invited celebrity psychic Dorothy Sayers to investigate Christie's home for supernatural clues. Sadly, she didn't find anything.

Eleven days after vanishing without a trace, Christie finally turned up in a very unlikely place: a nearby hotel. She had registered as Mrs. Teresa Neele - the name of Archie's mistress - and had signed that she was from South Africa.

Daily Mail

The author claimed she had no memory of her disappearance or how she arrived at the hotel, and left police (and her fans) to try and connect the dots.

Now, after 90 years of guessing, Christie experts have a number of theories about the disappearance.

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