‘She wanted Archie back,’ the daughter of Agatha’s sister-in-law told The Guardian.
In 1978, the late Gwen Robyns tracked down and interviewed Gladys Dobson, the 75-year-old daughter of William Kenward, the superintendent having died in 1932 at the age of 56.
Mrs Dobson told Robyns that before her father died he had shown her a letter supposedly from Agatha Christie that revealed ‘how she feared for her life and that she was frightened what might happen to her’.
On December 17, Colonel Christie told The Times, ‘My wife is extremely ill, suffering from complete loss of memory. It is somewhat remarkable that she does not know she has a daughter.
In this connection, when she was shown a picture of herself and Rosalind, her little daughter, she asked who the child was.’Despite the testimony of a number of psychiatrists who confirmed that Christie was suffering from amnesia, some had their doubts.
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.
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.
Write Box R 702, The Times, EC4.’Meanwhile, on the Surrey Downs the frantic search for clues continued.
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.
During research for my novel I was astonished to discover just how the extraordinary real-life events of the Christie case sounded like the stuff of fiction.