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On the Blue Train

The name Agatha Christie is known to many people throughout the world as the much loved and read author of Crime Mystery books. Her life has been documented carefully and she herself has written an autobiography, but, there is still one mystery about her yet to be uncovered!

 Agatha was born into a close and loving family. She was devastated when her father died at a young age. She was a bright child and, with her loving mother’s guidance, learned to read at an early age. Later, she married Archie, a war time pilot and they had a daughter. Agatha was concerned about the family’s fortune and began to write hugely successful crime books.  Then, her much loved mother died with Agatha burying herself in her work. Her husband began to have an affair with a woman and Agatha, close to breaking point, was told by her husband of his affair, and that he wanted a divorce. They were not a close couple, he was resentful of Agatha’s success and disinterested in her grieving.

 This is the background for Kristel Thornell’s novel, about Agatha’s disappearance for eleven days. It is a blend of all the facts we know, about the crime author’s movements during that time, and some imaginative writing. It is known that Agatha drove her car to a lake, left it there and travelled to Harrogate. She stayed at the Harrogate Hydro on the 4th of December, 1926.  It was a spa hotel, where people came to taste the waters and have massages, a place of healing. It is logical that Agatha reacted with some of the guests, concocting a story to explain her presence. She had left her wedding ring behind, and indicated her husband had died.

 And so gently, and in a thought provoking dreamy style, we are told how Agatha might have filled her days. She tested the waters, mingled with others, and met Harry. Harry was suffering the anguish of finding his wife’s body after she had committed suicide.  He instantly recognized a fellow sufferer, and he and Agatha became close friends.

 The style of the author’s writing suits the period. It is a little like Georgette Heyer, very descriptive and intense, with great care given to thoughts and intentions. Although Agatha is shocked by the amount of attention her disappearance has caused, there is not much effort on her part to make her whereabouts known. Her gradual healing, in peace allowed her to eventually resume her life and deal with the issues at hand. She remained a remarkable woman with an enormous talent, and will remain popular for many readers to come.

AuthorKristel Thornell
PublisherAllen & Unwin
DistributorAllen & Unwin
ReleasedOctober 2016