They say authors are a bit weird and temperamental. I won’t disagree. I’m a bit moody and I live with my head in my own fictional world a lot, even when I’m not writing. They can also act in some extraordinary ways. Ambrose Bierce the father of American science fiction disappeared from the face of the Earth while in Mexico. Douglas Preston moved his family to Italy and ended up getting kicked out of the country because of his interest in the Monster of Florence serial killer case. And on December 3, 1926 Agatha Christie left her home for a drive and disappeared for 11 days.
Christie’s car was found wrecked by a passing motorist, but the novelist was nowhere to be seen. It ended up being the largest manhunt in the history of Britain at the time. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers got involved in looking for Christie.
Her disappearance was worthy of front page news. Her married life wasn’t entirely happy, her husband was a pilot from WWI and a womanizer. Many thought that Arthur Christie had chased her down in his car, forced her into the car accident, then killed her and hidden her body. Others thought it was a publicity stunt. However, by 1926, Christie was a best selling novelist. Her 3 Poirot novel had published earlier that year. It was her 6th novel overall and they were selling well. So while her personal life had problems her professional life was going amazingly well. There was no need for a publicity stunt.
As a note on the oddity of her disappearance, Doyle who was very interested in spiritualism took one of Christie’s gloves to a medium trying to find out if she was alive or dead. Sayers went to the scene of the accident looking for clues. Both produced no leads.
On December 14th, a banjo player at a hotel in Harrogate recognized her from the newspaper. She had checked into the hotel under the name Theresa Neele – which was the name of her husband’s current mistress.
Agatha said almost nothing about the incident for the majority of her life. However, whatever triggered it, seemed to spurn her into taking control of her life. She went back with Arthur Christie to their home, but by 1928, she had kicked Arthur out and filed for divorce.
Many think that she eventually explained all to Dorothy Sayers. But if she did, Sayers never spoke of it either. Several experts in psychiatry believe Christie may have had a mental break down the night of December 3. Whatever the cause, Christie only wrote a little about the adventure and never fully explained it to anyone that spoke about it after her death.