Writing

Finding Inspiration: Truro and Torquay

July 17, 2019

I was lucky enough to be able to take a couple of days off last week and jaunt down to two places that are fast becoming favourites, Devon and Cornwall. Each is associated with a writer I really love. Torquay in Devon is where Agatha Christie grew up, and Greenway was her holiday home near Brixham. Then Cornwall was the inspiration for many of Daphne du Maurier’s novels.

They are very different writers – Agatha Christie is often criticised for her so-called cardboard characters and allegedly over-complicated plots, though that has not stopped anyone from borrowing both for the myriad of films, plays and even new books which are churned out using her legacy. I don’t exempt myself from this, I’ve never been happier than when someone called my single mum amateur sleuth a ‘modern Miss Marple.’ No-one pretends Daphne du Maurier isn’t a great writer, but I don’t think she gets the recognition she deserves any more for her extraordinary books. I hope she isn’t dropping out of fashion. Her characters are unforgettable, particularly her baddies – Mrs Danvers, anyone? Or the enigma that is at the heart of My Cousin Rachel?

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed being back in both areas and feel I’ve topped myself up again with a bit of inspiration. Giving a very enjoyable talk to a crowd of lovely and very committed book lovers in Truro at Tregolls Lodge was a treat, too, so many thanks to Howard Embery for inviting me and to everyone who came along.

Here are a few pics from our stay:

Alice Castle/Agatha Christie's Greenway

How do you like my new holiday home? Aka Agatha Christie’s wonderful house Greenway near Brixham, setting for Dead Man’s Folly

Alice Castle/Agatha Christie's books

Loved seeing that Agatha Christie has one of D.L. Sayers’ Peter Whimsey novels on her bedroom shelves, wonder if she read it? And if so, what she thought of it?

Alice Castle/Agatha Christie

Couldn’t resist getting a picture of The House in Lordship Lane, on Agatha Christie’s shelves, as there is of course a Lordship Lane in Dulwich!

Alice Castle/Agatha Christie/Greenway

The view towards the river from Greenway, near Brixham

Alice Castle's book talk, Truro

Many thanks to Howard Embery and all at Tregolls Lodge for inviting me to talk. They gave me such a great reception and asked fabulous questions. Lovely to meet such a flourishing book group

Alice Castle/Agatha Christie/Imperial Hotel Torquay

The view from our window in the Imperial Hotel, Torquay, where Agatha Christie got engaged to her first husband (and the setting for Peril at End House and other novels)

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