A week ago today I had the great pleasure of travelling from Bristol, venue for Crimefest, with a touring party on the Agatha Christie trail. It was a special treat for me, partly because Christie introduced me to crime fiction when I was young, and partly because I spent the trip in the company of John Curran, without a doubt the world’s leading expert on the Queen of Crime.
First stop was the Grand Hotel in Torquay – which I last stayed in during the Christie centenary celebrations in 1990, at a time when my wife was pregnant with Jonathan. I remember more than a few drinks in the company of Reginald Hill, and the excitement of the Gala Dinner on the Saturday evening, attended by the cast of Poirot and many others.
After that, there was a quick visit to the Christie exhibition at Torquay Museum, where one of the famous “secret notebooks” is on display. Then, to Churston (featured in The ABC Murders) and the church with the Christie window. Lunch was at a quite beautiful old pub adjacent to the church.
Then it was on to Greenway, Christie’s old home, now in the care of the National Trust. I visited it with a CWA party back in 1990 and met her daughter, but this time John’s informed commentary made the visit even more meaningful. We also had time to go into the grounds and visit the battery and the boathouse. The boathouse was employed as a murder scene in Dead Man’s Folly, while the battery was utilised for the killing of Amyas Crale in Five Little Pigs. Suffice to say that, for a devotee of classic detective fiction, it was an absolutely memorable day. And by the way, you will see that Blogger has finally allowed me to upload some pictures. But very reluctantly, it has to be said! And I still haven't figured out why the font of my posts keeps changing. No wonder I'm so gripped by technofear that I haven't tried to be more adventurous with social media!