Creation of the Agatha Christie Mile


At the Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay this year we caught up with Joan Nott who, with her husband, became the first people to develop an Agatha Christie tour of the area. Read on to discover the origin of the Agatha Christie Mile walk in Torquay and how the guided tour resulted in a lifelong friendship between Joan and Agatha Christie's daughter, Rosalind Hicks.

How did you end up creating the Agatha Christie guided tour?

"When my husband took early retirement from the army and we came to Torquay, I decided to do a guiding course at the college and I discovered then that Agatha Christie had been born here and had been living near to where we live. So when I gained my guides badge, my husband and I decided to set up the Agatha Christie tours and we were the first people to do that in Torquay.

Our first clients were the murder mystery book club from San Diego. From there we had many American clients, and we did these tours from the 80s until the centenary year which was 1990. The tourist office and the council decided that something should be done for the centenary year and so they asked me to research her life and so on, which I did. From there they made the Agatha Christie trail leaflet which people can follow on their own.

When Rosalind, Agatha Christie's daughter, knew that I was going to be talking about her mother at the college, she invited me to Greenway to have tea and to tell her what I was going to say.'

Did she like what you had to say about her mother?

"Yes, she approved of what I said and she was very helpful to me from then onwards. I became quite a friend of hers and I could always telephone and say is such and such a thing correct because she was very protective of her mother's memory. I had a good many years of friendship with Rosalind and now I miss her."

Are you now in contact with her son, Mathew?

"Mathew and the family have been very supportive of me which is nice."

Were you a fan of Agatha Christie before you decided to do the tours?

"Yes. I enjoyed her books because I was only a young girl in those days. I've always enjoyed the puzzle side of her books. I thought that a lot of her solutions were very ingenious."

Have you got a favourite?

"I rather liked Witness for the Prosecution. And one can't help liking Murder on the Orient Express."

What was your favourite thing that you found out about Agatha, or the thing you found most interestnig, that inspired you to do the tours?

"She had such an interesting life. I read her autobiography and that gives you such an insight into all sorts of times in her life and I thought what an interesting life and what a lovely sense of humour she has. She didn't mind telling a story against herself to have a laugh. I thought she was a very nice character."

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