One of the most famous mystery writers of all time was embroiled in a mystery herself. In 1926 Agatha Christie disappeared for 10 days, and crime solvers are still pondering what happened to her.
One of those is British historian Lucy Worsley. Worsley is best known here for her historical treatises on PBS where she dresses like a courtesan and waxes eloquently about the secrets of British royalty.
This time it’s Agatha Christie who gets the Worsley once-over with “Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen,” airing in three parts on PBS. (check local listings).
In next Sunday’s episode Worsley penetrates the question of Christie’s disappearance. But it’s no mystery, she insists. “She gave that long explanation to the Daily Mail, which is read by millions of people,” says Worsley.
“To say that she never spoke about the disappearance again is absolute rubbish. She told millions of readers of the Daily Mail what had happened at that moment. She was just about to go to court for her divorce, and she wanted custody of her daughter,” continues Worsley.
“So I'm sure she thought, ‘Look, I don't want to say anything about this. I've said nothing so far. I really don't want to have my secrets exposed like this, but I need to put this right. I need to tell the judge in my divorce case that I'm not a bad mother, that I had the interest of my child at heart in what I did.’”
Worsley surmises that the vanishing may have been a suicide intent. “She got a lot of criticism for having left her daughter behind. But if you are thinking of taking your own life, what do you do? You leave your child in safe hands, and you get out of Dodge. You protect your child by putting distance between you and your child,” says Worsley.
It might have been a stunt to gain attention for her cause, but whatever it was, Christie did earn custody of her child, reports Worsley, who has written a book on the subject called “Agatha Christie: an Elusive Woman.”
“There's a lot of people who still believe that she did this on purpose to frame her cheating husband for murder, or to get publicity for her books,” Worsley reports.
“It's that fact that leaves me with a sense of unfinished business. ... Even though she was rich, and she was successful and later on, she was happy, and all of that. But it still strikes me as an injustice that's happened that her story's being disbelieved.”
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