"In December 1926, a married woman in her 30s 'disappeared' from her home in Berkshire, leaving a husband who had recently declared, 'Look, see, I want a divorce. I've fallen in love with someone.' She was Agatha Christie, although not yet fully embarked on the career that would make her one of the bestselling authors of all time.
This perplexing story has been reconstructed in numerous biographies and fictional works, but seldom so archly and artfully as Kristel Thornell has achieved in her novel On the Blue Train.
Thornell's excursion among the well-to-do of England in the short-lived interwar period is never indulgent: this is a moral, not a costume, drama. The fraught consequences of choices that demand more from those who have made them with each year are explored with a sharp intelligence. If there is a distant Australian literary ancestor (as distinct from the Australian scenes in the book) it is the once lauded, now almost forgotten Martin Boyd. His tragicomic world has been impressively refashioned in this compelling and original achievement."
Peter Pierce, The Australian
Included in Stephen Romei's Holiday Reading, The Weekend Australian
and Maureen Eppen's Sizzling summer page turners, The West Australian
''Australian writer Kristel Thornell has written an elegant, literary novel about Teresa Neele, the woman Christie claimed to be when she disappeared, and the imagined people she met in this not-quite-sanctuary.''
Kate Evans, ABC Radio National
''In this highly readable and very entertaining novel Thornell puts herself into the mind of Christie, imagining what the writer may have been going through...
What emerges is not so much a murder mystery but a story about how relationships grow or die under any given circumstances.''
Troy Lennon, The Daily Telegraph
"On the Blue Train is one of those fascinating and appealing books that keeps you captivated throughout its reading wondering and wanting to know what will happen next."
Edwina Hall, The Weekly Times
"Delicious imagining of the 11 days in 1926 when Agatha Christie disappeared... Delightful."
The Australian Women's Weekly
"... a great read... very gentle and thoughtful... beautiful attention to detail... a lovely, lush, thoughtful book about another time that seems alien to us now..."
Ron Serduik, Perfect Page Turners, ABC Brisbane
"Instead of diving into scandal or intrigue, Thornell handles the Christie case with quiet grace and sensitivity. The book explores the very human themes of love, secrecy, and loss that transcend the fame and notoriety of Christie's life."
Christine Green, Democrat & Chronicle
ABC Radio National's interview with Kate Evans on BooksPlus