A murder mystery lunch on the Orient Express train was
the perfectactivity to kick-off our book club’s latest choice,
‘Murder On The Orient Express’ by Agatha Christie

Each train carriage had its own personality and history
I believe our car was built in 1927
I imagine the Titanic had a similar air of opulence and elegance

Departing from London Victoria Station

The train traveled in a loop for five hours
through the Kent countryside and
past towns such as Ashford and Whitstable
The food kept coming with first class attention to service and detail 

Whizzing past Kent oast houses

Meanwhile, we had a murder mystery to solve

They informed us that an English aristocrat had been poisoned during a recent dinner party
The dinner guests/suspects of the crime walked through the train
giving clues about themselves and others

We were encouraged to ask questions to help unravel the truth

Two suspects

Our table figured out the who, but not the why
I was tickled by the unexpected twist of the motive

The murder mystery lunch uses the same script for three years
It just so happened our script was retiring after our trip

I was surprised to learn Agatha Christie is
the third most widely published author of all time in any language

Outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare,
the Queen of Crime has sold over a billion copies of books in English
and another billion in 100 foreign languages

Celebrating its 60thanniversary in London’s West End this year,
Agatha Christie’s ‘Mousetrap’ is the longest running play in history

Agatha Christie
via wikipedia

Born in 1890,
Agatha had a ‘happy childhood’ in Torquay, Devon
with her American father, English mother, and siblings

Coming from an upper middle class family,
she was well-traveled

On a trip to South Africa,
Agatha became the first British woman to surf standing up

During World War I, the author and playwright served locally
in the Voluntary Aid Detachments
 where she learned a lot about pharmaceuticals (and poisons)
while caring for the wounded

By 1916, she started writing mysteries partly due to a bet with her sister Madge
She attributed her inspiration to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories

via Agatha Christie website

The numerous Belgian refugees present in the English countryside during WWI 
led to the creation of Christie’s famous Belgian detective character, Hercule Poirot

On August 6, 1975, Poirot became the only fictional character to have an obituary
in The New York Times due to the character’s death in ‘Curtain: Poirot's Last Case’
The book actually was written in the 1940s but locked away by the author until 1974

Newlands Corner

It is worth mentioning that in 1926,
Agatha Christie became a bit of a mystery herself
when she disappeared after ditching her car at nature reserve, Newlands Corner in Surrey

After a nationwide manhunt,
she was found 10 days later in Harrogate, Yorkshire without an explanation

Then in 1928, Agatha fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams of traveling on the Orient Express
She traveled to Baghdad to an archaeological site at Ur
where she met her second husband on a subsequent visit

Drawn to archaeology, Agatha visited Petra
via Agatha Christie website

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ was written
in the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey in 1934
The ornate hotel was built to host Orient Express passengers

The last public appearance for Agatha Christie was
opening night of the film ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ in 1974

She said it was ‘a good adaptation’ but ‘Poirot’s moustaches weren't luxurious enough’

The film was nominated for six Academy Awards with
Ingrid Bergman winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress

Agatha Christie peacefully passed away in her Oxfordshire home in 1976

- all photos my own unless otherwise noted -

(an unsponsored post)

Murder Mystery Lunch: Orient Express (if have a group, ask for discounted rate)
Sources: Official Agatha Christie website, Wikipedia