But all material relating to the case was burned on her father’s orders. One former GP, Andrew Norman, believed that Christie was suffering from a psychogenic fugue state, a rare psychiatric disorder involving the loss of identity.
Jared Cade, author of Agatha Christie And The Eleven Missing Days, claimed she had carefully planned the whole episode.
‘She wanted Archie back,’ the daughter of Agatha’s sister-in-law told The Guardian.
‘She wanted to give him a shock.’But the plan backfired because of the extent of the press coverage – it was even featured on the front page of The New York Times – and Archie Christie went on to marry Nancy Neele in 1928.
Over the years, various biographers and journalists have tried to solve the mystery of how and why Agatha disappeared.
When Agatha saw Archie she did not recognise him and introduced him to a fellow guest as her brother.
The official theory – one that has always been maintained by the Christie family – was that Agatha had suffered from a serious case of amnesia.
I have taken what we know from contemporary witnesses, newspaper accounts and police statements and, using these as a framework, have constructed an alternative account that goes some way to explaining the writer’s bizarre behaviour.
In my fictional narrative, Agatha is blackmailed by Kurs, a doctor – often dangerous creatures in the Christie universe – who wants her to commit a murder on his behalf.
Another puzzling aspect of the case is that, while in the spa town, she placed an advertisement in The Times that read: ‘Friends and relatives of Teresa Neele, late of South Africa, please communicate.