World premieres, plays, chilling stories and a treasure hunt - Agatha Christie Festival has the lot

Children in writing workshop

Priory School children taking part in writing workshops at Agatha Christie Festival - Credit: Cody Weaver

Kicking off with award winning authors Kate Mosse and Anthony Horowitz, the International Agatha Christie Festival roared back in to Torbay for eight days of events at Torre Abbey as well as Torquay Museum, Oldway Mansion, Paignton Picture House, the Palace Theatre, Brixham’s Golden Hind and even Paignton Zoo where the ‘Puzzle Detective’ Kate Jackson is appearing.

Highlights of the festival - which is funded by Arts Council England - include, at Torquay Museum, an incredible working model railway inspired by Agatha Christie’s books, world premieres of a documentary about her archaeological experiences in Iraq and Syria, and her play ‘The Stranger’, performed as a reheated reading at the Palace. There’s even a treasure hunt in the grounds of Agatha Christie’s holiday home Greenway, now owned by the National Trust.

Among the speakers and performers who have already appeared are Carla Valentine, curator of Barr’s Pathology Museum whose fascinating talk about forensic science included the extraordinary revelation that Dr Crippen may not after all have murdered  his wife!

Author giving talk

Carla Valentine - Credit: Cody Weaver

In a live transatlantic hook-up over Zoom, displayed on an enormous screen in Torre Abbey’s Spanish Barn, the popular Christie ‘All About Agatha’ podcasters explored Christie’s first Poirot novel, published 100 years ago, and Cornish storytelling group Scary Little Girls performed Christie’s first published story, a chilling story by local author Adam Nevill and a sinister unpublished story by Edmund Crispin who lived in Paignton and under his real name wrote music for the Carry On films!

Theatre group in action

Rebecca Mordan and Sharo Andrew of theatre group Scary Little Girls - Credit: Cody Weaver

Later in the week Dr Jamie Bernthal was speaking about Christie and Conan Doyle at Dartmoor Prison, and author Victoria Dowd explored the Christie classic And Then There Were None.

There is already a growing buzz about next year’s festival, which will include appearances by the historian and Christie biographer Lucy Worsley and the modern Queen of Crime, Val McDermid.