She would have been 125 this year had she lived that long, yet it seems that the works and life of the celebrated author Agatha Christie still provide inspiration to other writers long after her death. It has been announced that there is to be a new adaptation of her novel “And Then There Were None” on our television screens this winter. Hot on the heels of that news, a new story by Kate Mosse OBE has also been commissioned by the BBC to consider her disappearance and emotional state back in 1926.

Real-life mystery

Mystery was Christie’s stock and trade up until her death in 1976, yet it is the real-life events surrounding her whereabouts half a century earlier which have been concerning 53-year-old Mosse.

At the time the police were brought in to conduct a large-scale manhunt, as concerns mounted as to what had happened to the writer during the 11 days that she remained officially unaccounted for.

The riddle was never satisfactorily solved in the eyes of some, even though she was eventually safely tracked down to Harrogate in Yorkshire and (what is now) the Old Swan Hotel. For her part, Christie explained her disappearance from her Berkshire home from 3rd December, 1926 as being a result of a bout of amnesia.

Mosse examines the assembled clues

With no contemporary equivalent of the super-sleuth Miss Marple to aid her in the piecing together of the likely events, Mosse has instead reverted to considering the clues offered through the author’s works of Fiction herself.

She is a famous writer in her own right though, with her multi-million selling novel “Labyrinth” having been translated into over 30 languages thus far and spawning a mini-series for television.

Mosse believed that in order to accurately assess Christie’s emotional state at the time, she could find clues through investigating her novels.

With that thought in mind, she explained that the stories revealed “unhappy wives with marriages on the rocks” and “in emotional turmoil.” There were parallels in that respect with life in the mid-1920s for Christie, as the year of her disappearance was marked by the death of her mother and the announcement by Archie (her husband) that he was going to leave her.

So what could have happened?

There was much debate at the time as to what had actually happened. The more cynical observers suggested that it was merely some form of publicity stunt to boost her early writing career. Others considered that Christie had hatched up the elaborate plot with the intention of framing Archie for murder, paying him back for his infidelity with a younger woman. The alternative explanation of amnesia brought on by a car crash held sway in the end and was accepted by the authorities.

It remains to be seen whether Christie would have been amused or bewildered that Mosse should be so interested in her past life after all this time has elapsed, if she were still living. The hypothesis in the new story should be an intriguing read nonetheless.