After enjoying Edward Sorel’s cartoon in this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review – The Literati Sketchbook – I was inspired to research Agatha Christie and her marriages.
Archie Christie, Agatha’s first husband, was a dashing pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. After fourteen years of marriage to Agatha, he did leave her for a younger woman, Nancy Neele. Surprisingly, Archie Christie did love golf, as noted by Sorel, and belonged to the Sunningdale Golf Club. (“He spent many of his weekends there while Agatha worked on her novels in their London flat.”)
After discovering her husband’s affair, Agatha did disappear: “A major police hunt was undertaken, and Christie was questioned by the police. She was discovered ten days later at the Old Swan Hotel in Yorkshire, registered under the name of her husband’s lover… and suffering from a complete loss of memory when found and identified by her husband.” – just as Sorel depicts in his cartoon.
After divorcing Archie, Agatha meets and marries Max Mallowan, an archeologist fourteen years younger. They live happily ever after for forty-five years.
In the last frame Sorrel shows an old Agatha solving the mystery of happiness in marriage, saying:
“An archeologist is the best husband any woman can get. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.”
Amazing what cartoons can teach us. Might be fun to see the 1979 film version with Vanessa Redgrave as Agatha. Roger Ebert reviews the film – here.