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If you have an interest in Agatha Christie then you may be excited to know that you can walk in Agatha Christie’s footsteps since she visited Heathcliff House. Heathcliff House was formerly Torre Vicarage, Agatha’s parents Frederick Miller and Clara Bohemer were friends with the Vicar and she accompanied them to tea with him. Later Agatha used to visit and consult with the Reverend Harry Petty on the role of priests, bishops and on complex ecclesiastical matters within her novels. She found inspiration for writing Murder at the Vicarage from her family’s friendship with the Vicar and visits to the vicarage at 16 Newton Road!
Born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller in Torquay on 15th September 1890 at a large Victorian Villa called Ashfield in Barton Road and baptised at All Saints Church on 20th October 1890, Agatha Christie became, and remains, the best-selling novelist of all time. These sites are just 200 metres from Heathcliff House and tours of the church can be arranged (telephone 01803 328865). She wrote her first mystery novel in 1916 when she was just 26. It was published four years later as The Mysterious Affair at Styles, featuring Hercule Poirot. She had a prolific writing career spanning six decades, with 66 crime novels, 6 non-crime novels and 150 short stories. Her work includes Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and the genre-defining And Then There Were None. Murder at the Vicarage was written in 1930 and was the first story to feature Miss Marple. With more than 2 billion books published, Agatha Christie is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Easily translatable, her books have been published in over 100 languages, making her the most translated writer of all time. As mentioned, she created Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, two of the most famous detectives of all time, as well as a broad canon of other stories full of rich characters. Additionally, she wrote over 20 plays, of which the most famous, The Mousetrap, is the longest running play in the world, having debuted in 1952.
Some images included with kind permission from www.englishriviera.co.uk