Agatha Christie’s South Devon

    Torquay Harbour. Credit: Getty Images
    Torquay Harbour. Credit: Getty Images
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    Agatha Christie, the best-selling crime novelist, based many of her stories around her home on the English Riviera (South Devon), we look at some of the areas that inspired her famous works.

    Agatha Christie knew better than anyone that a sprawling metropolis is no place for a murder mystery. “I specialise in murders of quiet, domestic interest,” explained the Queen of Crime, who remains to this day the best-selling novelist in history, with a billion copies sold in English and another billion in more than 100 foreign languages.

    Agatha Christie at Greenway in 1946. Credit: Getty Images
    Agatha Christie at Greenway in 1946. Credit: Getty Images

    Although her 100-plus novels, short story collections and plays feature a rich variety of locations, from trains and planes to boats or even deserts, it is rural Britain – specifically the English Riviera in South Devon, where some 20 books are set – with which she is most closely associated. Here are some of those inspiring spots.

    BURGH ISLAND

    Burgh Island as seen from Bigbury-on-Sea. Credit: ©DWD-photo/Alamy
    Burgh Island as seen from Bigbury-on-Sea. Credit: © DWD-photo/Alamy

    Agatha Christie is said to have written here at Burgh Island and be inspired by its remote location.

    TORQUAY HARBOUR

    Torquay Harbour. Credit: Getty Images
    Torquay Harbour. Credit: Getty Images

    Born here in 1890, Christie enjoyed a happy childhood here at her family home Ashfield. It is here that she is said to have first honed her storytelling abilities.

    THE IMPERIAL 

    The Imperial hotel on the cliffs of Torquay. Credit: Colin Cadle Photography/Alamy
    The Imperial hotel on the cliffs of Torquay. Credit: Colin Cadle Photography/Alamy

    This grand Victorian hotel features in three of Christie’s novels, twice posing as the Majestic Hotel in Cornwall, where one of her most popular characters Hercule Poirot stays.

    GREENWAY

    Greenway, Agatha Christie's South Devon holiday home. Credit: ©National Trust/Marianne Majerus
    Greenway, Agatha Christie’s South Devon holiday home. Credit: ©National Trust/Marianne Majerus

    This now National-Trust owned property was bought by Agatha Christie and her second husband Max Mallowan in 1938. As Christie wrote in her posthumously published autobiography about the house, “white Georgian house of about 1780 or 90, with woods sweeping down to the Dart below, and a lot of fine shrubs and trees – the ideal house, a dream house”

    THE MORNING ROOM

    The Morning Room at Greenway. Credit: ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge
    The Morning Room at Greenway. Credit: ©National Trust Images/Nick Guttridge

    The Morning Room at Christie’s beloved Greenway offered respite between writing her books. It was here at Greenway that she would play croquet and clock golf, and read her latest novels to her guests.

    THE BOATHOUSE

    The Boathouse at Greenway. Credit: ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler
    The Boathouse at Greenway. Credit: ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

    The Boathouse at Greenway, which inspired the famous scene in Dead Man’s Folly, where Hercule Poirot makes an unsettling discovery.

    For the full story on Agatha Christie and South Devon, don’t miss the June/July 2017 issue of Discover Britain, on sale now.

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