Agatha Christie showed her sense of adventure in her attitude to marriage. She wrote about how exciting it was being a girl who gambled her life on her choice of a mate, and to whom anything might happen. She eventually married Archie Christie at the age of 24, taking his last name.
Twelve years later, in 1926, Agatha's mother died. Later in the same year, she went through a bitter divorce, when her husband stunned her with the news that he wanted to marry their mutual friend, Nancy Neele.
These two events put her in a deep depression. Then, she generated sensational and scathing news coverage, which she spent the rest of her life trying to live down. This occurred after she abandoned her car outside of London, and then disappeared for 11 days. She was well known by this time, and her disappearance resulted in national publicity, with the police beating the bushes looking for her, ponds being dragged for her body, and many volunteers devoting time looking for her. She was discovered staying in a hotel north of England, under the name Teresa Neele. Her doctors later claimed she had been in an automobile accident, even though there was no damage to her car, and she was suffering from amnesia. Despite her' doctors' claims, the national press ridiculed her, claiming this was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by her, inconveniencing the police and the many volunteers looking for her. And, it did not go unnoticed that using the name "Neele" at the hotel where had been staying or hiding, Christie had put the name of the woman her husband wanted to marry on the front page of every newspaper in the country.
Christie refused to discuss this incident for the rest of her life, although in her autobiography she stated that it created a life-long revulsion for the press, journalists, and crowds.
Despite the bitter experiences in 1926 with her first husband, Agatha Christie found she was still very much the center of attention with men. And, at the age of 40, Agatha had a whole new life open up for her again, with rich new cultural opportunities. She married a man 14 years younger than she was, and they had an exceptionally happy relationship.
But for the 1926 escapades, writers often complain that Christie's life is so unrewarding as a biographical subject. There is some truth to this, as you can see. Most of Christie's life was spent relatively uneventfully.
There still little light shed on how her prodigious writing talents first developed. All we know is that Christie's father died at an early age, and over time his death left her mother and siblings in a more difficult financial situation. These changed financial circumstances prompted Christie to see if she could earn money to help her family keep the seashore villa.
Christie's first husband also had limited financial resources for the first few years of their marriage, and this gave her additional reason to try to earn some additional money through her writing.
These early efforts at writing led to her first publishing contract in 1919, at the age of 29. Agatha had received little financial reward for her efforts up to that point.
By 1923, she was starting to develop a reputation as a detective novelist. She continued writing at least one novel a year for the rest of her life, with her fame and reputation growing by leaps and bounds throughout the rest of her life. In 1971 she became "Dame of the British Empire," which is an honorary rank equivalent to knighthood, but awarded much more rarely.
1) At what age did Christie marry for the first time?
2) What was Christie's attitude to marriage?
3) How was Christie's attitude to marriage similar to her childhood?
4) How long was Christie married for the first time?
5) What sensational news story did Christie create when she was 36 years old?
6) How did the public and the press relate to Christie's disappearance at first?
7) How did the public and the press relate to Christie when they learned she had been living in a hotel the entire time she was missing?
8) What was ironic about the name Christie used to check into the hotel with, when she was missing for 11 days? Do you think she used this name deliberately? Why or why not?
9) How did Christie's doctors try to explain her disappearance for 11 days?
10) Did Christie later in life explain what had happened to her during her disappearance for 11 days?
11) How did Christie explain this incident affected her, and her attitude to being in the public limelight?
12) Do you think this incident affected Christie the way she claimed, or do you think she had problems with being in the public limelight long before this incident occurred?
13) What happened to Christie at the age of 40?
14) What do writers often complain about when studying Christie's life?
15) What do we know about how Christie's writing talents developed?
16) Why did Christie start writing professionally?
17) At what age did Christie have her first publishing contract?
18) At what age did she start to develop a good reputation as a detective novelist?
19) Why was it an honor for Christie to be awarded the British rank of "Dame of the British Empire"?