Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “On the Blue Train” as Want to Read:
On the Blue Train
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

On the Blue Train

3.12  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  35 reviews
What really did happen to Agatha Christie during her mysterious eleven-day disappearance just as she was on the cusp of fame? An entrancing novel of creativity and grief.

Yes, she said, finally. Breaks are important. There are times when it's wiser to get away. From it all.

It was the work of a moment, on 4 December 1926, Agatha Christie of London became Teresa Neele, reside
Paperback, 343 pages
Published October 1st 2016 by Allen & Unwin (first published 2016)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about On the Blue Train, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about On the Blue Train

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  117 ratings  ·  35 reviews

Sort order
When Teresa Neele arrived at the Harrogate Hydro she had no luggage to speak of – her car had broken down; her luggage had stayed behind. She was quiet and timid, not mixing with the other guests but when she spoke, a web of lies was spun. When Mrs Jackson and her husband expressed sympathy at the death of both her husband and child, Teresa felt fleeting guilt. But she also felt the need to tell these untruths – she was incognito after all; Agatha Christie’s retreat from her stressful life had b ...more
Pam Tickner
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it
2 1/2 stars. I was discombobulated by the book. The language was choppy and abrupt with a disconcerting turn of phrase. The book was as much about another guest at the Hydro Spa, Harry McKenna, pyschoanalysis as it was about Agatha Christie's missing two weeks. A story of human frailty and sadness, not the mystery I was expecting.
Meldi Arkinstall
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As well as being a novel about what may have happened to Agatha Christie during the 11 days in which she disappeared in December 1926, this is a novel about love relationships. What makes these deep relationships work and what can make them untangle. In this sense, this sensitively written and thoroughly researched work by Vogel Literary Award winner Kristel Thornell endeavours to explain what led to the breakdown of Agatha Christie’s first marriage, and her ensuing mysterious disappearance.

Laura Tenfingers
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm of two minds about this book. I really enjoyed her writing style and especially how she interwove tidbits about the trials and tribulations of being human. And yet, at the same time, I wasn't really engaged and had a hard time sticking to it. The two main characters who were supposed to be in their mid-thirties felt like they were in their mid-fifties and I didn't really care about them.

Overall I'd say it was alright and I might give her another go.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This book had an intriguing premise but didn't draw me in as I'd hoped.

The story is slow moving, with more focus on the development of the central characters. While these characters are well-drawn and believable, I struggled to relate to them, which I think was why I didn't enjoy the book more.

However, the writing is beautiful, and the author has shown considerable skill in the gentle revealing of deeper and deeper layers of Teresa and Harry's pasts.
Margot McGovern
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Blending fact and fiction, Kristel Thornell’s On the Blue Train seeks to account for Agatha Christie’s movements during her disappearance, and in doing so weaves a moving story of grief, love, healing and creative life.

I was intrigued by Thornell’s premise. I love novels, such as Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites and Therese Anne Fowler’s Z, that explore the lives of notable women who were unable to share their stories during their lifetime. I’ve always been interested in learning what happened to Chri
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
*Review to come.
Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it
It took me longer than expected to read this book, an imagining of the celebrated 11-day disappearance of the author Agatha Christie, a mystery which remains unsolved to this day. Kristel Thornell’s On the Blue Train is not a whodunit, it’s a whydunit, and it’s basically a slow meditation on relationships, past, present and emerging.

Like most books creating fiction from the life of a real person, it is IMO best read on its own terms rather than fossicking around to see how it matches up with wha
Read3r’z Re-Vu
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
What really did happen to Agatha Christie during her mysterious eleven-day disappearance just as she was on the cusp of fame?

“Yes, she said, finally. Breaks are important. There are times when it’s wiser to get away. From it all.”

“On The Blue Train” is an interesting interpretation into the disappearance of Agatha Christie on 4 December, 1926 who took on a different identity. Escaping her past, Teresa decides to take a break away from it all and becomes a resident of the spa hotel named Harrogat
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
******I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway******

Well written, well researched and an imaginative way to look at the 11 day disappearance of Agatha Christie. I did find it started out a little bit slowly and took awhile for me to get interested, but after a couple of chapters I was hooked.
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
'On the Blue Train' is a well-written and very interesting book. Kristel Thornell cleverly developed an engaging mystery based on the real life disappearance of Agatha Christie.
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Magnificently written. Kristel Thornell has a poetic, detailed and vibrant way to portray characters and scenes. This book is surely going to amaze you!
Lisa Taylor
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It did seem to drag a little.

I learnt a little about Agatha Christie and her time spent at the health spa. An average story.
Carolyn Mck
Thornell takes the 11 day disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926 and tells her own version of events that were never explained - certainly not by the famous writer. What she comes up with is believable but I found both the writing style and the management of 'present' and 'past' sequences awkward at times. There were some lovely phrases and sensitive insights into troubled characters but they seemed the exception.

Christie never did write a novel called 'The Blue Train' so I was uncertain abou
Tracy Bock
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
‘On the Blue Train’ is Kristel Thornell’s depiction of Agatha Christie’s unexplained disappearance for 11 days in 1926. Set in London, this story is a mixture of fact and fiction. Agatha goes under the alias of Teresa Neele and gives herself a background of being a widow. This is Kristen’s second novel - a gentle book that takes you back to 1926 and the spa hotel where ‘Teresa’ has chosen to stay in solitude. However, not for long, as she meets a man staying at the same hotel - Harry McKenna, an ...more
Theodore Carlos
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I wanted to thank Goodreads Giveaways and Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of On the Blue Train. It took me a while to review my First Reads reading but here it is.

I wasn't aware of the real Agatha Christie when I started reading this book. With nothing to compare it to and reading is purely as fiction, I found the story to be interesting. Great writing by Kristel Thornell - I found the scenes to be very lively and its characters. I also had to check the dictionary a few times, which made
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable imagining of Agatha Christie's 'missing' eleven days. There is something dreamlike and meandering in the writing that is beguiling once you let yourself relax into it.

Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Beautiful use of language
Diane Boyd
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any one who enjoys historical fiction
I loved this book and was sad for it to end...Thornell is a master at making you feel you are an onlooker. Her other writings are awesome as well.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
2.5 stars Interesting premise ...a fictional account recreating the real life mystery of the disappearance of Agatha Christie. Beautiful prose but quite a long winded plot ...found myself struggling at times to persist ..little mystery here ....all in all quite like a seemingly never ending train journey where the final destination is known!
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a book I received through Goodreads' Giveaways. A well conceived and written "what if" story, that skilfully weaves fact with fiction

Agatha Christie's disappearance in 1926 kept a nation enthralled - what better mystery than the Queen of Crime suddenly dropping off the face of the planet, for no obvious reason. Whatever her reasons for taking a break, this novel offers one of many possible scenarios that captures the 1920s lifestyle and era superbly.
Nov 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-buy
There was a good interview with the author on 666 ABC this morning.. 09-11-16 sounds like a good read!
Kristel Thornell has concocted a story that takes place during December 1926 and is predominantly situated in the fashionable spa resort town of Harrogate. She has extrapolated well-documented events concerning the author Agatha Christie and her first husband Archie Christie, and cleverly entwined the actualities with possibilities and fabricated the types of people who could have been in Harrogate at the same time.
In December 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared from her home and was “found” eleve
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Fictional account of how Agatha Christie spent the 11 days she went missing in the 1920s, focussing on a romance. We will never know what really happened but I'm sure it wasn't as romantic as depicted in this book.
Debbie Robson
It’s of course obvious that when choose a book it is with a certain expectation of what we will find within the covers. Maybe it is a book we have read before, a favourite author that we love spending time with or a fairly new author tackling a subject that we are particularly interested in. For me, identity and memory fascinates me and quite early in my serious reading career I tackled Agatha Christie’s autobiography and also her novels under the name of Mary Westmacott.
It is quite common know
Cel Jel
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Agatha Christie disappeared for a time, and this book is an imagining of her trip away. It was very well considered, and I thought the empathetic person she met on her travels was well created. A few moments that were strange, the rest was good.
Cynthia Coghill
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
In 1926 Agatha Christie disappeared for eleven days. What happened? In this fictionalised account Christie suffered one too many setbacks and took herself to Yorkshire. There she renames herself Teresa and begins living a different story. Teresa manages to keep to herself and forget her real persona. She takes in the healing processes recommended for her. Her real identity becomes an issue when she begins associating with other guests on a regular basis. As her memory begins to return, Teresa ha ...more
Nov 29, 2016 marked it as to-read
I just wanted to jump on Goodreads and let you all know about how much I am enjoying this book On the Blue Train - I am about half way through and I am loving the depth of the two main characters. The background characters are pretty interesting also and are helping the story flow.

I don't get to read as often as I would like but I am always turning to this book when I do have time because I am looking forward to seeing what happens with the main female character!

Will be back when I finish to let
Sonia Bellhouse
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
On the Blue Train
More literary that the other two that I read recently - this was definitely a slow train. Little in the way of plot- and slow character development.
I also found a reference to a duvet in 1926 (page 38) was disconcerting as I don't think the term was in usage in that era.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ash Island (The Belltree Trilogy, #2)
  • The Secrets at Ocean's Edge
  • Under the Cold Bright Lights
  • An Uncommon Woman
  • A Time of Secrets
  • Murder, Mayhem & Men On Pause
  • Greenlight
  • The Safest Place in London
  • The Soldier's Curse (Monsarrat #1)
  • Jewel Sea
  • Her Mother's Secret
  • Supernotes
  • Eleanor's Secret
  • A Place to Remember
  • Fearless
  • The Family Secret
  • The Passage of Love
  • And Fire Came Down (Caleb Zelic #2)
Kristel Thornell was born in Sydney, Australia, and has also lived in Italy, Mexico, Canada, Finland and the US. Her debut novel, Night Street, co-won the 2009 Australian / Vogel Literary Award and won the Dobbie Literary Award for a first book and the Barbara Ramsden Award for best book of the year. Night Street was also a finalist for the Glenda Adams Award and the Christina Stead Prize for fict ...more
“Her company, Harry felt as she went off into the damp dark, was like that of the sea. Gentle, powerful. A commanding undertone telling him he could not do without it.” 1 likes
“He and Teresa were in two trains bound in opposite directions, which slowed as they passed one another, so that he was able to make out clearly, heart-wrenchingly, her dear lost face.” 0 likes
More quotes…