Husband wants divorce.
Vanish, spark ten-day manhunt.
Wow! That spiraled fast.
Today on Playwright Week, we discuss Agatha Christie (1890-1976), author of the longest-running play of all time. (She also wrote some mystery novels, I think.) Specifically, I’m going to talk about her bonkers disappearance in 1926.
Let me set the stage. She’d been married to Archibald Christie since 1914 and they had one child together. Reading her autobiography, it’s hard to suss out what problems with the marriage stemmed from her (it’s written from her perspective, after all). But it’s easy to see what the problem with Archie was. He was the type of person that just couldn’t deal when life inevitably got hard.
This trait came to the fore in grand style after Agatha’s mom died. His response: leave home while wife does awkward things like ‘be sad,’ fall in love with a happy, not-sad 24-year-old, then return home and ask for a divorce.
Agatha… did not take this well. After a fight, Archie left to spend the weekend with the new girl. Agatha herself left and her car was later found above a chalk quarry. But where’s SHE?
Aeroplanes scour the countryside! Ponds are dredged! 15,000 volunteers join 1000 police officers in the search! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle engages the services of a medium! INTERNATIONAL FRONT PAGE NEWS!
She was finally found ten days later in a hotel in Harrogate, under Archie’s mistress’ surname. She claimed to have no memory of the escapade and two doctors backed her up, but… I don’t buy it. It seems much more likely that it was an attempt to get back at Archie that escalated to unforeseeable levels. Her autobiography doesn’t give clues; she doesn’t even mention the incident.
Fortunately, both Agatha and Archie seemed much happier in their second marriages. (Agatha having hooked up with a 14-years younger archeologist in 1930.) Tra la, tra la.
Right, yes, she didn’t go to prison, but she was guilty of wasting police resources. That sort of counts. No, it doesn’t.