11 February 2014

The Orient Express & Agatha Christie

A murder mystery lunch on the Orient Express train was
the perfect activity to kick-off our book club’s latest choice,
‘Murder On The Orient Express’ by Agatha Christie

Each train carriage had its own personality and history
I believe our car was built in 1927
I imagine the Titanic had a similar air of opulence and elegance

Departing from London Victoria Station

The train traveled in a loop for five hours
through the Kent countryside and
past towns such as Ashford and Whitstable
The food kept coming with first class attention to service and detail 

Whizzing past Kent oast houses

Meanwhile, we had a murder mystery to solve

They informed us that an English aristocrat had been poisoned during a recent dinner party
The dinner guests/suspects of the crime walked through the train
giving clues about themselves and others

We were encouraged to ask questions to help unravel the truth

Two suspects

Our table figured out the who, but not the why
I was tickled by the unexpected twist of the motive

The murder mystery lunch uses the same script for three years
It just so happened our script was retiring after our trip

I was surprised to learn Agatha Christie is
the third most widely published author of all time in any language

Outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare,
the Queen of Crime has sold over a billion copies of books in English
and another billion in 100 foreign languages

Celebrating its 60th anniversary in London’s West End this year,
Agatha Christie’s ‘Mousetrap’ is the longest running play in history

Agatha Christie
via wikipedia

Born in 1890,
Agatha had a ‘happy childhood’ in Torquay, Devon
with her American father, English mother, and siblings

Coming from an upper middle class family,
she was well-traveled

On a trip to South Africa,
Agatha became the first British woman to surf standing up

During World War I, the author and playwright served locally
in the Voluntary Aid Detachments
 where she learned a lot about pharmaceuticals (and poisons)
while caring for the wounded

By 1916, she started writing mysteries partly due to a bet with her sister Madge
She attributed her inspiration to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories

via Agatha Christie website

The numerous Belgian refugees present in the English countryside during WWI 
led to the creation of Christie’s famous Belgian detective character, Hercule Poirot

On August 6, 1975, Poirot became the only fictional character to have an obituary
in The New York Times due to the character’s death in ‘Curtain: Poirot's Last Case’
The book actually was written in the 1940s but locked away by the author until 1974

Newlands Corner

It is worth mentioning that in 1926,
Agatha Christie became a bit of a mystery herself
when she disappeared after ditching her car at nature reserve, Newlands Corner in Surrey

After a nationwide manhunt,
she was found 10 days later in Harrogate, Yorkshire without an explanation

Then in 1928, Agatha fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams of traveling on the Orient Express
She traveled to Baghdad to an archaeological site at Ur
where she met her second husband on a subsequent visit

Drawn to archaeology, Agatha visited Petra
via Agatha Christie website

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ was written
in the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey in 1934
The ornate hotel was built to host Orient Express passengers

The last public appearance for Agatha Christie was
opening night of the film ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ in 1974

She said it was ‘a good adaptation’ but ‘Poirot’s moustaches weren't luxurious enough’

The film was nominated for six Academy Awards with
Ingrid Bergman winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress

Agatha Christie peacefully passed away in her Oxfordshire home in 1976

- all photos my own unless otherwise noted -

(an unsponsored post)

Murder Mystery Lunch: Orient Express (if have a group, ask for discounted rate)
Sources: Official Agatha Christie website, Wikipedia


Jeanie said...

I've always enjoyed Agatha Christie and have read several biographies and I have (I think) all of her books. I can't imagine a more fun way to launch reading a book club selection than by an Orient Express trip! What a great idea and a wonderful write up of a favorite.

Claire said...

such an interesting post, I have a really old copy of the book but have never got around to reading it, this has made me want to look it out!

Laura said...

The hubby laughs at my love of thrillers & detective literature. I'm currently reading the Maisie Dobbs series about a female detective post World War One, it's really given me an insight into The Great War, as I'd previously known very little about this period... Very apt giving its 100th anniversary. I recommend reading this series. The first one sets the scene, but after this one it's predominately about solving the crime and not the characters background.

Marina PĂ©rez Bejarano said...

Great post Laura! I've always loved Agatha Christie's Novels


Amy at love made my home said...

I have been an Agatha Christie fan for as long as I can remember, the books and films/tv shows etc. I bet that your lunch and train journey was very exciting and interesting and what a great way to start off your book club's next book as you said! xx

Tammy Chrzan said...

What fun this seems like!! Love it! I have never been a Mystery fan, but I would love to go on that train!
Much love,

likeschocolate said...

This sounds like so much fun! Thanks for sharing!

Ola said...

she is my favourite author ever, I can come back to her books and always read them with a pleasure and fascination!

Eli said...

Wow. You have the best book club ever. How fun, all the things you get to do. Good for you.

Hope all is well. Miss you.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Hey Eli - yes, it is an amazing book club. Wish you were a part of it - you'd love it. xo

ann said...

What a blast! I have not read any of her novels. Perhaps I should.

SandyShoes Cornwall said...

I love the glamour of train travel from the 1920s and 1930s, I bet you had great fun - did you dress up as well? If you ever come down to Cornwall make sure you try out our lovely steam trains too.

Pura Vida said...

have a fantastic weekend

lisaroyhandbags said...

How fun! She was such an interesting character herself!

Gesci said...

Haha, and Harrogate never misses a chance to celebrate it's famous stowaway!!
My friend got to ride the Orient Express as well, and she loved it too- thanks for sharing your experience!

Tina in CT said...

That mystery train ride sounds like so much fun. I'll pass along the information to my daughter.

Heather L. said...

oh wow!!! How amazing to get a chance to go on that murder mystery lunch!!!! My husband and I would love to do that kind of thing! We love Poirot, and back when our voices would tolerate reading aloud, we used to read Agatha's to each other for evening entertainment.

Emily said...

How wonderful! My husband and I have been to a murder mystery party -back in the day when we were dating-, but a murder mystery on the Orient Express - how tantalizing! And we love, love Hercule Poirot. Christie's bio is on my personal summer reading list. Any other recommendations? Thanks again for another wonderfully fun and informative post! :)