Book club questions for The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont covers all the twists and turns in this compelling read about Agatha Christie’s real-life disappearance. There will be spoilers so for more context about the story, check out my spoiler-free review first.
Such a good novel. I did not expect the layer of depth that was presented—particularly with Nan’s story arc. Very heartbreaking and did give context to her later behavior. She is a vivid character.
I also thought it was interesting how Nina de Gramont handled Agatha Christie’s disappearance as well. And I did not expect some of those twists! It’s been as while since I’ve been truly shocked by storylines in a novel. Great selection by Reese’s Book Club!
In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha.
It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated.
What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.
Book Club Questions for The Christie Affair
- There’s been many books and film versions about Agatha Christie’s 11-day disappearance. Why does it still hold such interest to the public? Where do you think she was during that time and what were the motivations behind her real-life disappearance?
- While it features real-life people, The Christie Affair is not a true story. Why do you think the author Nina de Gramont decided to focus her novel on Archie’s mistress (called Nan in the novel) and also completely change her backstory?
- Did you find Nan sympathetic as the novel went on? Or did you believe her actions were self-serving?
- In what ways was she an unreliable narrator?
- The novel details the horrific conditions and treatment at the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland. Did you know much about this prior to reading the novel?
- We eventually learn Nan’s true motivations—it was never about Archie and Agatha but about their daughter, Teddy. Nan believes that Teddy is her daughter who was stolen from her. Do you believe Teddy was her daughter? Why or why not?
- In the scene with Nan, Agatha, Finbarr and Chilton, Agatha seems to infer that Teddy is possibly Nan’s daughter. Did she really believe that or was this an excuse for Agatha to finally break away from Archie?
- Should Nan have gone back with Finbarr instead of returning to Archie?
- There’s also a murder mystery in this novel. When did you realize Marston’s true identity and also Nan’s hand in their murder? Or were you surprised by this reveal?
- In the fictional version, why did Agatha decide not to reveal what actually happened during her disappearance? What was behind her understanding with Nan?
- Agatha experiences an unexpected romance with the detective hired to find her—Chilton. What were your thoughts on this romance? What happens next for the two of them?
- Do you read Agatha Christie novels? Which one is your favorite?
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Christie Affair! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict
If you’re looking for more fictional takes on Agatha Christie’s disappearance, be sure to check out The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict. It’s quite different from The Christie Affair as it focuses more on Agatha’s viewpoint during the disappearance and also her relationship with Archie. Here’s the synopsis:
In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car—strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.
The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.
What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?
Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie’s masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.
The Maid by Nita Prose
For those mystery lovers, you all have to check The Maid by Nita Prose! It’s such a clever and charming story.
Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.
Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.
But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?
A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.