When Sherlock Holmes fame Sir Arthur Conan Doyle investigated Hercule Poirot creator Agatha Christie

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India, portal publishing news and current affairs. He holds an M.B.A in International Business from the Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, USA. Twitter: @chackojoseph *views are Personal.

Literary historians argue that famous writers often encounter plots close to those they previously composed for their books. It happened to the renowned author of the detective series Agatha Christie. In the heat of jealousy, she once almost brought her husband under a criminal case.

She got herself kidnapped

In the afternoon of December 4, 1926, it was realised that the famous author and creator of popular characters Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings had disappeared without a trace. A shepherd found Agatha Christie’s car on the edge of a steep cliff near the small town of Newlands Corner, and it caused concern. The car was parked with headlights on, doors open, and empty.

The newspapers got wind of it, and a huge scandal erupted. Even after a thorough investigation, neither the writer herself nor her body was found. The police believed that Agatha Christie had been kidnapped or murdered.

Aghata Crestie
Aghata Crestie

The investigators were sure that the writer’s husband was the culprit for the disappearance. The police made a similar conclusion because the man planned to leave Agatha Christie for a young mistress. The author’s husband lived on her money, and in the event of his wife’s death, he would receive a large inheritance.

Nevertheless, the man himself flatly denied his involvement in his wife’s disappearance, although he did not deny plans to divorce her.

Cheating husband and jealous wife

Despite the suspicions that fell on Archibald Christie, the man had an unblemished reputation, worked as a lawyer, and it was not at all easy to arrest him.

Archibald graduated from a flight school as a military pilot in his youth and soon met a young girl named Agatha Miller. The First World War added spice to the relationship as Archibald could die at any moment. Wanting to be useful to her country, Agatha Miller went to work in a military hospital. During one of the holidays of Archibald Christie in 1914, both got married.

After the war, Archibald Christie resigned to go into business. But business did not go well, and the family had problems with money. Agatha Christie helped solve the problem by writing a novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, for which she was paid £25 in a bet with her sister. The solid fee for those times allowed the woman to believe in herself and try her hand at literary work seriously. Soon the heroes beloved by millions of readers, Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings, were born.

Soon, Agatha Christie, carried away by her literary activity, stopped paying attention to her husband. It is no mystery why the man went on a spree. A certain Nancy Neal became his mistress, who saw in Archibald a brave pilot, not a famous writer’s husband, like other familiar couples.

In 1926, the man found the strength to confess to Agatha Christie that he loved another and wanted a divorce. According to Archibald, there was no scandal. The wife listened to him calmly, silently turned around, got into the car and left. Nobody else saw her.

Mystical twist

The police considered it a matter of time to find the writer’s corpse and arrest her husband. But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle intervened unexpectedly. The literary father of Sherlock Holmes was a passionate admirer of seances.

Upon learning of the disappearance, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle asked for Agatha Christie’s gloves to conduct a séance and find out if she was alive or not. Having received the gloves, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took them to the famous British medium Horatio Lift. The answer was unequivocal – the woman is alive!

The police were sceptical about the words of the medium since 11 days have passed since the disappearance of Agatha Christie. The newspapers asked all the country residents to respond if they knew at least something about the possible whereabouts of Agatha Christie. The call was answered by the musicians who performed in the lobby of the Hydro hotel. They stated that they had seen a similar woman in the hotel’s lobby more than once during their performances over the past week.

When the police checked the hotel’s registration book, they were astonished. The fact was that a woman who looks like Agatha Christie registered under the name of Teresa Neal, the mistress of Archibald Christie. The happy husband rushed to Hydro, and he immediately recognised his missing wife.

The case was solved, but the police were sure that Agatha Christie had specifically avenged her unfaithful spouse in such an unusual way.

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