I am taking my French teenage students to Torquay in May 2016 . I would like them to read a novel before going there.
Is  any  novel from Christie  set in Devon or describes the landscapes or characters of Devon?
I would be grateful if anybody could be of any help ;
Best regards.


  • I think that Dead Man's Folly was set in Devon, and I think the grand house in the story was based on Agatha Christie's own. 
  • edited January 2016

    I found this:

    Princess Gardens, Torquay, where Agatha was a frequent visitor. The Princess in question was Louise, one of Queen Victoria's children. The gardens, opened in 1894, are laid out in a classic Victorian design with palm trees, cast-iron ornamental fountains, and shelters.

    Agatha used this setting for a scene in The ABC Murders (1936). Alexander Bonaparte Cust, on leaving the Torquay Palladium, buys a newspaper and enters the Princess Gardens. He makes his way to a shelter facing Torquay harbour, unfolds his paper, and seems unduly troubled by the headline 'Sir Carmichael Clarke Murdered'.

    If you make your way around the harbour to Victoria Parade and begin to climb Beacon Hill, you'll come upon The Imperial Hotel. Built in 1866, it boasts stunning views over Torbay and was Torquay's first large 'fashionable' hotel, where Agatha herself attended social events. The list of distinguished former guests is quite impressive: King Edward VII, Lily Langtry, Emperor Napoleon III, Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot.

    The Imperial Hotel appears in three of Agatha's crime novels. In the opening chapter of Peril at End House (1932) it has been renamed the Majestic, and Torquay too has a new - though easily recognisable - identity. Captain Hastings tells us: We were sitting on one of the terraces of the Majestic Hotel. It is the biggest hotel in St. Loo and stands in its own grounds on a headland overlooking the sea. Soon, a would-be murderer makes a grave mistake when he takes a pot shot at his victim while she is talking with Hercule Poirot!

    In The Body in the Library (1942), a murder victim is found in the library belonging to Arthur and Dolly Bantry. Help is at hand from Dolly's friend, Jane Marple, and the ladies check in to the Majestic (now situated in fictional Danemouth) to conduct some investigations of their own.

    Sleeping Murder (1976) is the third book to feature The Imperial Hotel - this time as itself. In the final chapter, 'Postscript at Torquay', Miss Marple takes to the terrace with Gwenda and Giles Reed and sheds light on a mystery that has escaped detection for 18 years.

    Kents Cavern, the oldest Scheduled Ancient Monument in Britain, is one of Torquay's major tourist attractions and appears as Hampsly Cavern in The Man in the Brown Suit (1924), one of Agatha's earliest novels. Agatha herself was later to develop a great interest in archaeology and travel widely with her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan.

    Agatha was baptised at All Saints Church, Torre, in Devon. Her father, having gifted money to the church, ensured his daughter's entry as a 'founder member'. A short walk from here is the old Vicarage, Newton Road - now the Heathcliff Hotel. Tea at the Vicarage seemed a fairly frequent event for the Miller family, so it's not surprising that Agatha sought advice from family friend, the Reverend Harold Petty on ecclesiastical matters when she was writing The Murder at the Vicarage (1930). St Mary Mead is the fictional location, Colonel Protheroe the ill-fated victim, but Agatha's new sleuth, Miss Marple, ably assists the vicar, Leonard Clement, to solve the mystery.

    Broadsands lies about halfway between Paignton and Brixham. From the car park, Elberry Cove is a ten-minute walk along the coastal path. At one end of the beach are the remains of a Victorian Bath House, looking a bit like a small castle.

    This peaceful and unspoilt location couldn't possibly be the scene of a murder, could it? Actually, yes, whilst taking his evening stroll in the field overlooking the cove (Elbury in the novel), Sir Carmichael Clarke receives a crashing blow to the back of his head. His body is discovered at a spot near the hedge, halfway across the field - another unfortunate victim in The ABC Murders.

    Maybe this helps?


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