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24 September 2014

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Go on a mystery walk in beautiful Torquay
Torquay marina and seafront
Torquay Marina and seafront in early evening sun
Torquay is set at the north end of Tor Bay and forms part of the English Riviera. It's also the place where Agatha Christie was born, and, to mark the resort's link with Dame Agatha, a special walk has been devised - complete with a mystery to solve.
Agatha expert Frank Turner talks about the lady

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Agatha Christie was born in Barton Road, Torquay, in 1890.

She later bought a house, called Greenway, overlooking the River Dart at Galmpton - and it is now owned by her daughter, Rosalind Hicks.

Dame Agatha used Torquay as the setting for some of her mysteries.

A clifftop in St Marychurch is believed to have been the setting for "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?"

All Saints Church in Torre, Torquay, was built thanks to donations from the Christie family - and it is where Agatha was baptized.

Agatha wrote over 80 whodunnits, as well as 100-plus short stories - and some romantic novels under the name of Mary Westmacott.

She also wrote plays - and one, The Mousetrap, is one of the biggest West End stage smashes of all time.

Her two most famous characters are Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.

Dame Agatha died in 1976.

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If you're not so keen on strenuous moorland hikes, and prefer something a little more gentle, then the Agatha Christie Mile in Torquay might be a walk which is right up your street.

It's reasonably flat (apart from one hill!), contains some fabulous views, and, with a mystery to solve, it's fun as well.

Torquay marina and overlooking hills
The view of Torquay from Parkhill Road, which is part of the trail

The Queen of Crime was born in Torquay in 1890, and the town has several landmarks which are associated with her.

The Agatha Christie Mile takes in 10 landmarks - all dotted around the Torquay harbour and seafront area.

The walk starts at Torquay's tourism information centre on the harbourside, where you can pick up the Agatha Christie Mile leaflet.

That takes you through the landmarks....and at eight of them, there are clues which spell out the name of a character linked with Dame Agatha's books.

The only hill is right at the start, up Beacon Hill to the Imperial Hotel - used as the setting for some of her books - and Beacon Cove, where she bathed as a young woman.

The Agatha Christie bust in Torquay
The bronze bust of Agatha Christie in Torquay

The walk also takes in Torquay Musuem, which has an Agatha Christie exhibition; the Agatha Christie bronze bust in Cary Gardens near the harbour; Princess Gardens; the 12th century Torre Abbey opposite Torquay's main beach; and, finally, the Grand Hotel, where the crimewriter spent her honeymoon.

It's a gentle stroll around the harbour and main beach, with plenty of opportunities for a stop for a cup of tea (or something stronger).

You can also imagine what the place must have been like during Dame Agatha's childhood, when Torquay enjoyed its heyday, and learn about the author's life and times.

Agatha Christie photo trail: Devon connections

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