When the crime writer Agatha Christie was born in Torquay on Devon’s glorious south coast, the town was a popular seaside resort. It was 1890, the start of Queen Victoria’s last decade as monarch, and Torquay was a fashionable destination for all sorts of people. There were those looking for a permanent home by the sea as well as holidaymakers in search of long hours of sunshine and a mild climate.
Scene of the crime
In many ways, Torquay remains much the same today and its impressive setting still evokes a sense of its Victorian heyday. A local steam train attraction adds to the atmosphere; you can travel from Paignton to Dartmouth, alighting at Churston, just as Hercule Poirot does in Christie’s 1930s detective novel The ABC Murders
. The Queen of Crime herself used this station when she had a summer home nearby. The house, Greenway, overlooks a glorious sweep of the River Dart and is now managed by the National Trust.