Murder will out

The West Country this week stars in Kenneth Branagh’s movie reboot of Murder On The Orient Express.

Starring Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp, Branagh says the film could spark a resurgence of interest in author Agatha Christie’s books and the locations she featured.

The tale is brought back to its spiritual home this week as Vue Torbay plays host to a gala screening.

The new adaptation of Christie’s 1934 novel will have a celebratory screening on Friday.

Vue will host a champagne reception with a number of special guests including Mathew Pritchard, the grandson of the author, and Torbay Mayor, Gordon Oliver.

Mr Oliver said: “It’s completely apt for a gala screening to be hosted in her home town.”

Olivia Colman and Judi Dench.

Agatha spent her first 28 years in Torquay, where a blue plaque marks the place where she was born, and there’s a commemorative bust in the town.

Local guide John Risdon says a young Agatha would roller-skate along Torquay’s Princess Pier, where she played pranks on unsuspecting locals.

Just a few minutes’ walk from the pier is Beacon Cove, formerly Ladies Bathing Cove, where she claimed she once almost drowned while trying to save her young nephew.

Agatha was sucked out of her depth, but a lifeguard scooped her up at the last minute.

As John quips: “There would be no Murder On The Orient Express if it wasn’t for him!”

There’s also Ansteys Cove, only accessible by foot, where Agatha was supposedly caught canoodling with a young man by the name of Amyas Boston, Amyas being the name of a victim in Christie’s celebrated novel Five Little Pigs.

On the back of the film’s release, this December a pop-up 1950s Christmas cinema is coming to Greenway, the holiday home of Agatha Christie now cared for by the National Trust.

In a 1950s-style marquee at Christie’s Devon retreat, complete with uniformed ushers, a collection of classic films will be screened on Saturdays and Sundays until Christmas and from December 27 to 31.

Mathew Prichard has chosen the films to be screened, each special to his family: Witness for the Prosecution on December 2 ,3 and 27, And Then There Were None on December 9, 10 and 28, Endless Night on December 16, 17 and 29, Evil under the Sun on December 23, 24 and 30 and a mystery film on Sunday, December 13.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.