Are you crazy about the Queen of Crime? Then you must head to Torquay this September where hundreds of events are being lined up to celebrate the life, literature and legacy of Britain’s much-loved writer at the International Agatha Christie Festival.
This September, the National Trust is celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of Agatha Christie with a nine-day festival focused around her previous holiday home, the beautiful Greenaway in Devon.
It is a unique opportunity for Christie’s followers to gain an insight into Christie’s life with a packed programme of talks, demonstrations and workshops. Each day is themed around a topic, such as Agatha Christie and the First World War; Miss Marple, Music and Unsolved Mysteries; the Golden Age of Detective Fiction; and, Agatha for Everyone.
Among the highlights will be Crèmes et Châtiments (Creams and Punishments) on 16 and 17 September in the kitchen at Greenaway. In Agatha Christie’s very own kitchen, French author and food writer Anne Martinetti will invite you to hear about – and sample – some of the more than 80 recipes she has created, based on dishes mentioned in the Queen of Crime’s novels and published in her cookbook.
Of the dishes she will be conjuring, Anne says: “Delicious Death, cooked in the novel A Murder is Announced, is a fabulous chocolate cake. I’m proud to say that I was the first to cook it. Maybe I will also prepare fish butter, the weapon in Sad Cypress and let people guess if I have added strychnine inside…”
While Anne prepares her tasting menu, she will also talk about the many links between gastronomy and thrillers, from the part played by poisoned food or drinks and the gourmet interests of Poirot and other detectives, including Sherlock Holmes, to the times when a meal acts a as a turning point in a plot.
She adds: “I hope visitors will realise that frontiers don’t exist between gastronomy and literature. Many crime writers use gastronomy for killing or meal scenes to argue about murders. And many detective are real gourmets… Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe and, of course, Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie was herself a real gourmet, you know, and she was curious to taste even strange recipes.”
The event will end with Anne encouraging the audience to taste her creations. Just be sure it’s only the end of the event, not a life. Avoid the strychnine!
The International Agatha Christie Festival runs from Friday, 11 September to Sunday, 20 September.