Agatha Christie, one of the world’s most famous and most prolific writers, was born right here in Torquay in 1890 and lived here until 1922. She spent WW1 firstly as a Volunteer Nurse and then as an Apothecary Dispenser at the Red Cross Hospital that had been set up in Torquay Town Hall - invaluable experience which she drew on extensively for her novels.
Agatha wrote 75 novels and 14 short stories and has earned the title - the Queen of Crime because 66 of those novels are detective fiction!
Her novel And Then There Were None is one of the top-selling books of all time, with approximately 100 million copies sold and her stage play The Mousetrap holds the world record for the longest initial run. So Agatha is a legend, no less and she is celebrated in many ways here in Torquay but the best event is the week long International Agatha Christie Festival which happens every September and includes high-profile speakers, performances of her plays and poetry as well as other engaging experiences for all ages. The week’s activities are held in several venues in and around Torbay but Torre Abbey is the hub. You will find all the up to date information on what’s happening during the week on the website which is updated throughout the year and also holds information for other Agatha related events in the area.
Find out more here iacf-uk.org
The Agatha Christie Mile in Torquay, begins at the Grand Hotel and takes you to Agatha’s favourite places including Beacon Cove where she often swam when in more genteel times, it was for ladies only. The Mile ends at the elegant Imperial Hotel which featured in several of Agatha’s novels and where she would have attended many events.
Her childhood home, Ashfield, is sadly no more but you can still visit Greenway near Brixham, which Agatha bought in 1938 to be her holiday home. Greenway features in several of her novels and stories. Her grandson gifted the house and its contents to the National Trust in 2005 and it’s well worth a visit to see the house and gardens. Just remember to book a parking space in advance if you’re visiting by car.