A Trip to Agatha Christie's Torquay

Many people around the world know and love Agatha Christie and the delightful mystery novels she wrote; as I learned in the Torquay Museum, she is only outsold by Shakespeare and the Bible. Her prolific career spawned beloved characters such as Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, who have garnered even greater adoration through popular BBC adaptations of Christie's stories. However, what many do not know about Christie is her connection to the First World War and the effect of her experiences on her writing.

I ventured to Torquay (where Christie grew up) to see the town that shaped her literary beginning. The city is situated on a beautiful harbor and I really enjoyed walking around and exploring the hometown of one of my favorite authors. I took a trip to Torquay Town Hall, where Christie was a nurse during the Great War. It was there that she learned about all of the poisons which would naturally come in handy for someone who would later author more than fifty murder mystery novels. It was also there that she met a Belgian refugee--Devon took in many Belgian refugees during the conflict--who would play an important role in her career as a novelist.

One of Christie's most famous characters, Hercule Poirot, was in fact inspired by her interaction with the refugees as a nurse in Torquay, a fun fact that I never knew and was excited to discover in researching the effects of the World Wars on the lives of Devonians. Agatha Christie's time as a nurse in Torquay is one of many examples of how the courses of entire lives are altered by war. Most often these changes are for the worse, but occasionally, even something as terrible as war can serve as a catalyst for the creation of something wonderful.



Text and Photos © Brianna Levesque

 The Harbor of Torquay 


Town Hall where Agatha Christie served as a nurse during WWI.