Every year in late September, crime fans gather in South Devon to celebrate the life and works of the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. Born in Torquay in 1890, Christie spent her childhood on the English Riviera, regularly roaming the rooms and gardens of Greenway House, the Christies’ impressive family summer home nestled on the banks of the River Dart.
Having sold over two billion copies world wide, Agatha Christie is the world’s biggest selling novelist and delving into her life is as fascinating as her stories. For those with an interest in the Queen of Crime, it is possible to explore her past at any time of year during a visit to South Devon. Dedicated fans, however, make the pilgrimage in late September to coincide with the annual official Agatha Christie Festival.
2015 sees the 125th anniversary of Christie’s birth, and there is no better time to indulge your sense of mystery and throw yourself into the historic, crime-fuelled proceedings.
The Agatha Christie Festival is attended by fans, historians and top crime authors, all keen to learn, share their ideas and pay homage to one of the genre’s greatest assets. The 125th anniversary proceedings will see Torre Abbey play host to a string of murder-mystery events against the dramatic backdrop of the rocky South Devon coastline. Readings, tea dances and cultural events will draw the crowds to neighbouring Brixham, Paignton and Babbacombe Bay, while the elegant riverside residence, Greenway, will remain a place of pilgrimage for fans and first-time visitors alike. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a ride on the atmospheric Victorian steam train, guaranteed to conjure up memories of mysterious happenings on the Orient Express.
Dedicated Christie readers will revel in the opportunity to visit the many sites on the English Riviera that inspired her novels. Take a trip to the Imperial Hotel to enjoy afternoon tea on the terrace, in the surroundings that inspired Peril at End House, The Body in the Library and Sleeping Murder. Hop off the steam train at Churston and wander down to Elberry Cove to experience the locations that featured in The ABC Murders. Or look in at Kents Cavern, which features as Hempsley Cavern in The Man in the Brown Suit.
September is a prime time to head to the English Riviera, when the summer crowds are gone but the late summer sunshine still glows over the turquoise waters of the Tor Bay. Hotels accommodation is plentiful, especially close to the heart of proceedings in Torquay. For old-style atmosphere and comfortable surroundings, try the Howden Court, Frognel Hall, or indeed the imposing Imperial itself. But remember – if the barman asks “what’s your poison” be very careful indeed!.