This year will be the 125th anniversary of Dame Agatha Christie, author of 66 detective novels that include the world-famous detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, 14 short story collections, and writer of the world’s longest-running stage play – The Mousetrap.
To celebrate the event, the 5th Agatha Christie Festival will take place between 9 – 15th November, in Puerto de la Cruz and festival highlights will include screenings of films, performances of plays in both English and Spanish, as well as talks by local historians on Agatha Christie’s connection with the town. Why the town makes so much of Agatha’s visit is beyond me, particularly as in her autobiography she admitted she didn’t really like the place. Nevertheless, the programme and locations of the events can be downloaded HERE
Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller was born on 15 September 1890 in Torquay, into a comfortably well-off middle class family. In 1912, she met Archie Christie, and they married on Christmas Eve 1914 however, the marriage wasn’t meant to last.
By 1927 when Agatha was 37 years old, and already a recognized writer, she visited the Canary Islands. She arrived on 4th February by steamer with her secretary Charlotte “Carlo” Fisher and her 12-year-old daughter Rosalind. She was suffering from depression after separating from her husband, and she initially chose Puerto de la Cruz, to recuperate.
At that time the fishing village was starting to become popular as a destination where British tourists mainly affected by lung disease came in search of good weather to convalesce.
The only accommodation in the centre of town was the hotels Martinez, and Monopol, however the British community favoured the Gran Hotel Taora built on the hill and surrounded by English style gardens, croquet lawns and golf and tennis courts, which is where she stayed.
During her time in Tenerife, the writer continued to work on her long overdue book “The Mystery of the Blue Train” that she wrote to pay off her debts. She alternated taking notes for her books with swimming and claimed that she was inspired to create her favourite characters Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite who appear in the book “The Mysterious Mr Quin” while walking around the gardens of Sitio Litre.
Sadly, Agatha was not smitten with Puerto de la Cruz and decided to take a boat to the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria, which she preferred. After a month in the Canaries, she left Puerto de la Luz for England on the 4th March on the same ship she had arrived. Finally accepting that her marriage was over, she divorced Archie in 1928.
After a hugely successful career, Agatha died peacefully on 12th January 1976 and is buried in St Mary’s Church Cholsey, near Wallingford.
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