Gone Girl based on a real episode from Agatha Christie's life? Here's proof

FP Staff

Nov,11 2014 15:30 34 IST

If you have not watched Gone Girl, don't read this. If you have, you must.

The similarities between David Fincher’s American film thriller Gone Girl, based on a book of the same name, and the (temporary) disappearance of mystery novelist Agatha Christie in 1926 are uncanny.

According to a report in The Independent, the plot is very similar. "The unfaithful husband who wants a divorce. The clever, well-known wife, beloved by the public. The strange, misleading clues. A money belt stuffed full of cash. Headline news. Thousands of volunteers helping with the search. The sudden reappearance and the public thanks from the loving couple.."

A picture of Amy Dunne from Gone Girl and Agatha Christie

A picture of Amy Dunne from Gone Girl and Agatha Christie

The report notes that Nick and Amy Dunne's story is very similar to Agatha Christie and her husband Archie.

Right after the release of her book ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’, Christie reportedly staged her own disappearance for 11 days.

Given that Gillian Flynn cites Agatha Christie as the crime novelist she most admires, it won't be very surprising to know that she was inspired by the author's story.

Here's a look at some of the parallels:

The unfaithful husband:

Gone Girl: On the day Amy disappeared, Nick is about to ask her for a divorce having fallen for a his 23-year-old student Andie. Nick was the unfaithful husband, Amy was the very public inspiration for 'Amazing Amy', a much loved children's series authored by her parents.

Agatha Christie: As we all know, while Amy was a character, Christie was a creator of much loved characters. And like Amy's husband Nick, Archie was the unfaithful husband.  Christie disappeared right after her husband had told her that their trial reconciliation had failed. He wanted to divorce her to marry his mistress, a younger woman named Nancy Neele.


Agatha Christie: Christie’s behavior was pegged as a stunt to avenge her husband leaving her for another woman. Jared Cade, author of Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing Days, says her primary motive was: "She wanted to disrupt his weekend with Nancy Neele and make him suffer, although she still adored him."

Gone Girl: Amy Dunne wanted to teach her husband a lesson and publicly shame him through her disappearance. Except of course because this is fiction, her intentions are far more well... psychotic. She just didn't want to destroy Nick's weekend, she also wanted him to frame him for her 'death' so that he would be tried and executed. (As the film keeps telling us, Missouri has the death penalty)

The disappearance

Gone Girl: In the movie, Amy stages a 'mopped up' crime scene and drives off in a car. She abandons her wallet on the banks of Mississippi River. She bleeds herself, squirts blood on to the floor and hastily mops it up to make it look as though she has been attacked. She also plants various 'clues' - one of which was a burnt diary describing her husband Nick as violent and aggressive - in a carefully composed treasure hunt for the police.

Agatha Christie: Agatha Christie drove off from her house in Berkshire and abandoned her car, lights on, containing a bag of clothes and an out-of-date driving licence. The author left mysterious letters before leaving. She sent one to her brother-in-law saying she was going on holiday. Another was sent to the local police constable, claiming she feared for her life.

The reappearance

Gone Girl: 40 days after her disappearance,  Amy chose to return to husband Nick, telling the police she had been kidnapped.  Amy claims she is pregnant and the couple remain married. However, the husband, by then knows the wife is a psychopath and we don't know what happens later.

Agatha Christie: Christie was found in a hotel, 11 days into her disappearance. She also called herself by the surname of her husband’s mistress – Neele. Archie officially reported it as amnesia and the couple never spoke of the disappearance again. A year later the couple divorced and Archie married Nancy Neele, while Agatha went on to marry archaeologist Max Mallowan.