Book club questions for The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict takes a closer look at this novel based on Agatha Christie’s disappearance in 1926. There will be spoilers so for more context about the book, check out my spoiler-free review here.
I really enjoyed this one! It was nice to read a different type of historical fiction book—this one does have a bit of a mystery component to it as well. We know right off the bat that Agatha’s disappearance is planned but we don’t know how she did it or what was the end game. I liked the cat-and-mouse aspect between Agatha and Archie.
I said it in my review but Archie is the worst. What a selfish and just overall horrible guy. It was good to see him get played and he had no way of breaking free from the game.
It was hard to read how much Agatha had sacrificed for him but happy she’ll eventually left him behind.
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.
Book Club Questions for The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
- Did you know about Agatha Christie’s disappearance prior to reading this novel?
- Let’s talk about the decision by Agatha to disappear. What were the key motivating factors behind this?
- What did you think about the dual timelines—reading it from Archie and Agatha’s perspectives?
- Archie is a bit of a mystery in many ways. He takes a huge interest in Agatha in the beginning but that quickly disappears. What was behind his pursue of Agatha? Did he think she came from money? Do you believe he ever truly cared for her?
- Agatha’s mother tells her that Archie must always come first no matter what. Even after the birth of their daughter. Let’s talk about how that advice proved to be toxic for Agatha.
- Agatha talks about unreliable narrators—even saying that people are the unreliable narrator of their own stories. Do you agree with this?
- How much of Agatha’s storyline was reliable and where did she take liberties with the truth?
- When Agatha and Archie are finally face-to-face again, she tells him that he has in fact murdered her—not in the physical sense but he took away the core of who she was. Let’s discuss what she’s saying here.
- Did you like the ending?
- What do you think actually happened in those 11 days to the real-life Agatha Christie?
- Are you a fan of Agatha Christie’s novels?
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Mystery of Mrs. Christie! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict
In 1909, Clementine steps off a train with her new husband, Winston. An angry woman emerges from the crowd to attack, shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill will save her husband.
Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies.
The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams
Another engaging historical fiction novel, with a dash of mystery, is The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams.
The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in the Bahamas to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires?
Or so Lulu imagines. But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands’ political and financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glister of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies an ugly—and even treasonous—reality. In fact, Windsor-era Nassau seethes with spies, financial swindles, and racial tension, and in the middle of it all stands Benedict Thorpe: a scientist of tremendous charm and murky national loyalties. Inevitably, the willful and wounded Lulu falls in love.
Then Nassau’s wealthiest man is murdered in one of the most notorious cases of the century, and the resulting coverup reeks of royal privilege. Benedict Thorpe disappears without a trace, and Lulu embarks on a journey to London and beyond to unpick Thorpe’s complicated family history: a fateful love affair, a wartime tragedy, and a mother from whom all joy is stolen.
The stories of two unforgettable women thread together in this extraordinary epic of espionage, sacrifice, human love, and human courage, set against a shocking true crime . . . and the rise and fall of a legendary royal couple.