Friday, August 14, 2020

Full Program for the Virtual International Mystery Festival 2020

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Styles: The Beginning

Who doesn’t love a good play on words?  Join us on this first day of the festival for several styles, beginning with a talk about the man and the myth himself – Hercule Poirot – followed by a discussion of Agatha Christie’s first novel celebrating her centennial year in publication, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (now in the public domain in the US).

Top off the day with our first of four cocktail hours (or mocktail hours, depending on your time zone and proclivity).

7pm*: Live Festival Kickoff

*All times are British Summer Time (GMT/UTC + 1hr) a.k.a. “Torquay Time.” Sessions will be held via Zoom.                       

Virtual Venue: Spanish Barn, Torre Abbey

 Ongoing Events launch


·         Torquay Mystery Trail by Mike Linane


The first clue will be announced this evening; then stay tuned for future clues during the festival.


A virtual tour:  Take a trip around Torbay by solving clues leading you from one location to the next.  At your first location, you will find a clue that will lead you to the second location, and so on and so forth.   Send your locations to Mike Linane at as soon as you can and, if correct, the next clue will be given to you.   A maximum of four clues will be given each day to those in the lead, but, if you fall behind you can have as many clues given to you as you need until you catch up with the total amount given out so far, e.g. 4, 8, etc.   The first person to email Mike with the final location will be deemed the winner.   Mike will answer the emails in the order in which they are received.


About the host:

Mike Linane runs his own publishing company Williams & Whiting, is an event organizer, organizing events such as Bodies from the Library, Deal Noir and Morecambe & Vice, is a judge for the Crime Writers' Association prestigious dagger awards, and is part of the infamous Lurker-Linane Investigations team.


·        Voting for Agatha Christie favorites:  your top ten favorite novels, top five TV adaptations, and top five movie adaptations.  Hosted by Mike Linane. The winners from these categories will be tallied during the festival and announced during the After-Party.


7:30pm – 8:15pm:  Parodying Poirot by Jamie Bernthal-Hooker

Virtual Venue: The Little Theatre

Join Jamie Bernthal-Hooker for a look at a century of parodies of the world’s greatest detective. In books, plays, screen, and radio, all kinds of writers have offered their comedic takes on Hercule Poirot, starting with Christie herself. This entertaining, illustrated talk reviews key examples.

 Jamie Bernthal-Hooker is an academic who has published several books on Agatha Christie and is the creator of the annual international Agatha Christie conferences.


8:30pm – 10pm: Styles Mystery Event

Virtual Venue: Ballroom, Torre Abbey

 ·        Book Review and Discussion led by Angie Mangino

Angie Mangino currently works as a freelance journalist, author, and book reviewer, additionally offering authors personalized critique service and copyediting of unpublished manuscripts.

           A word from the host:

As an American book reviewer, I will lead the discussion of Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles with a review of this book published in 1920 as if the author sent this first book written to me this year of 2020, one hundred years later, for inclusion on my blog.  I’ve read and enjoyed it before for pleasure, but, for our virtual festival, I will reread from a critic’s perspective to write the review.  Additionally, I will compile a list of discussion questions for participants to interact after the review presentation.  So, if it’s been a while since you read it, a reread before the event may be a good idea!

·         Cover Design Contest hosted by Lurker-Linane Investigations

Agatha Christie books have had many, many different covers over the years - some good, some not so good, and some that simply had nothing to do with the book’s content!   

This is your opportunity to put your creative skills to work and design your very own cover for Agatha's debut book The Mysterious Affair at Styles.  You can design it any way you wish - create an online graphic, draw or paint, use a photo...the possibilities are endless!   

Be inventive and let your creative juices flow!  

Enter the contest here: Styles Book Cover Contest!

All entries must be emailed to by September 10.  Vote for your favorite during this September 12 kick-off event.

·         Best Dressed Contest – voted on by the fans – live during this event!


 10:00-11:00pm: Virtual Cocktail/Mocktail Hour

Virtual Venue: The Grand Hotel

Drinks of the Day: A (Greenway) Grasshopper, White Wine (any type), Sparkling...Water

  • Golden Age Trivia with Jeff Rock

You know a lot about Agatha – of course you do.  But how well do you know other Golden Age British authors – the men and women of the Detection Club and their detectives?

 Sunday, September 13, 2020

TV, Talks, and Walks

This day’s activities begin with a talk on AC and TV.  Then, take a virtual tour of Christie tributes with Australia’s biggest AC fan.  Afterwards, join us for a reading of the brand-new mystery/comedy play Clue-Don’t.   Finally, stay tuned for a talk about yet another writer of detective fiction.

7pm-7:45pm: Mark Aldridge Talks Agatha Christie and Television Adaptations

Virtual Venue: Torquay Museum

In this illustrated talk, Mark will discuss the many attempts to bring Agatha Christie stories to the small screen – some more successful than others!

Dr. Mark Aldridge is a senior lecturer and film historian at Solent University, Southampton.  He wrote the definitive book about Agatha Christie’s adaptations on film and television, Agatha Christie on Screen.  His new book, which celebrates a century of Poirot, is due out in late 2020.

7:45pm-8:15pm: Scott Wallace Baker’s Virtual Tribute Tour

Virtual Venue: Melbourne, Australia

Scott Wallace Baker was named Australia’s Biggest Agatha Christie Fan in 2013. He is utterly obsessed by Agatha Christie and has filled his home with groupings of objects in tribute to all her 80 books, and some of her plays. For his event, he will show off his tributes and other items of interest from his lifetime of collecting and being poor! 


8:15pm-9:45pm: Clue-Don’t

Virtual Venue: Palace Theatre, Paignton

A reading of the play Clue-Don’t written by Jamie Bernthal-Hooker

Lorraine Knight, a gossip columnist, is keen to make her name as a serious journalist. And how better to do it than to write a biography of the two greatest detectives in the world — Achille Pierrot and Jessica Brick? Lorraine invites the eccentric French sleuth and the demure spinster to her isolated country house for the weekend, where they are joined by a colorful cast of houseguests: the man-hunting Miss Crimson, the ex-military Colonel Coleman, the gossipy Reverend Lime, and the stolid housekeeper, Mrs. Grey. No sooner have the visitors hung up their coats when their hostess is found dead… in a locked room!

10pm-10:30pm: Edgar and Agatha: The American who invented the detective story and the half-American who brought it to new heights

Virtual Venue: The Medieval Undercroft, Torre Abbey

Jeff Rock has been a fan of Christie from 8 or 9 years old.  He lives in San Diego, California and has made it to a half dozen of the festivals in Torquay!  His only regret is not going sooner!

10:30pm-11:30pm: Virtual Cocktail/Mocktail Hour

Virtual Venue: Mr. Cook (full of American entertainment memorabilia)

Drinks of the day: Pink Squirrel, Rosé Wine, Fruit Punch

  •          Trivia with Piers Cardon

Have you got the skills to solve the murder mysteries presented by Agatha Christie in her novels? Use your detective skills to solve five crimes. You have 24 hours to present your findings to Dr James Sheppard and Edward Catchpool. Good luck!


A note from the host, Piers Cardon:

I like to think of myself as a serious Agatha Christie fan. When I was 10 years old, spending the summer holidays on Hayling Island, Hampshire in the south of the UK, I bought my first AC novel from a beach newsagent’s stall. I longed for the holidays never to end as I bought additional books. My interest has always been on Christie’s own written works, but I do have a vast collection of reviews of Christie’s work by her admirers. I enjoy the Golden Age of Crime captured by Christie’s early novels and then changes in time that she lovingly captured in her later works. My favorite was that first novel and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd


Monday, September 14, 2020

 Jam Sessions

BYOCT!  Bring your own cream tea and join us virtually at Heathcliff House Bed & Breakfast for some cream tea and jam. (Since we are in Devon, cream first, please.)  Then join us for a mash up from superfans on various AC topics.


7pm-7:30pm: Teatime with Juliette and Nigel Ede

Virtual Venue: Heathcliff House B&B

The proprietors of Heathcliff House Bed and Breakfast will host a Virtual Vicarage Tea with foods from some of Agatha Christie’s novels and a discussion on the evolution of afternoon tea and etiquette.

About the hosts:

In 2016, Juliette and Nigel Ede moved to Torquay to run Heathcliff House.  Originally called St. Bernard, the place is a large Victorian villa built in 1861 on one of the main roads into Torquay and has been a bed and breakfast since the 1980s.  It is only 200m from the site of Ashfield, Dame Agatha’s childhood home.

The guests at Heathcliffe House began to inquire about Agatha and her connection to the house.  After some research, the Edes found out that St. Bernard was indeed a vicarage and had housed a number of clerical gentlemen over the years.  They discovered that Agatha Christie frequently visited this location as a child and, later as an adult, consulted with the Reverend Harry Petty on ecclesiastical matters for her stories.  

Dame Agatha was so inspired by her visits that in the Murder at the Vicarage, the first full length Miss Marple novel published in 1930, she based the vicarage on this house.  Juliette was thrilled with this news, because, for as long as she could remember, she loved Agatha Christie’s stories, film and TV adaptations, and visiting places with the merest hint of a connection to the Queen of Crime!

 7:45-10pm: Mystery Minutes Panel

Virtual Venue: The Imperial Hotel

 ·         Marco Asperger Amici – Agatha Christie and the Mystery of Edwin Drood

 “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is a puzzle in itself: How did an unfinished work by Charles Dickens become one of the biggest influences for many detective fiction writers? And how did it influence Agatha Christie?

From “Drood” to “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?”, we will pinpoint all the possible influences trying, after 160 years, to find a solution to the Drood conundrum.

Marco Amici is a BA student at Università di Torino. An avid reader, he has translated some of Agatha Christie’s titles into Italian. He has edited an ultimate edition of Poirot’s Complete Short Stories, published by Mondadori.

 ·         Andrew Wilson - The Nursery Rhyme Murders

Why was Christie so attracted to nursery rhymes? What does their strange mixture of innocence and evil tell us about her?

Andrew Wilson is a novelist, biographer, and journalist. He is the author of four novels in a crime series featuring Agatha Christie, all published by Simon & Schuster in the UK and US – A Talent for Murder (2017), A Different Kind of Evil (2018), Death in a Desert Land (2019), and I Saw Him Die (2020).

His first book, Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith (Bloomsbury) was shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography Prize (2003) and also won an Edgar Allan Poe Award and a LAMBDA Literary Award. He has written biographies of Sylvia Plath, Alexander McQueen, Harold Robbins, and a group biography of the survivors of the Titanic. He is a tutor on the Faber Academy crime writing course and also a creative writing mentor on the Gold Dust scheme.

·         Christian Kirsch – Agatha Christie’s Fascination with Railways

 Agatha Christie always loved railway journeys. Her favorite train was the legendary Orient Express. “All my life I had wanted to go on the Orient Express. When I had travelled to France or Spain or Italy, the Orient Express had often been standing at Calais, and I had longed to climb up into it. Simplon- Orient Express-Milan, Belgrade, Stamboul...” (from her autobiography). Traveling on the Orient Express changed her life. 

In many of Christie’s stories, trains were not just a means of transport, but scenes of crime or where people from various backgrounds met – with different motives. The train compartment was for Christie an ideal setting, limiting the numbers of suspects considerably and offering no ways of escape for the culprit, as in Murder on the Orient Express.  In The ABC Murders, timetables are an import element in the plot, and in 4.50 from Paddington a young woman is murdered on a passing train. In his talk, Christian will discuss further railway linked Christie stories.

Christian Kirsch, from Münster, Germany (North Rhine Westphalia), is a lifelong Christie fan. He has worked as a librarian for TU Dortmund University Library since 1989.

·         Gary Cooper – Adventures in Locations Detecting (with pictures!)

Join last year’s winner of the “I Spy” competition in a discussion about locations associated with Agatha Christie and her works.

A word from Gary Cooper, Christie enthusiast:

I was hooked since the first showing of Joan Hickson's Miss Marple on TV (1984) and used to rush to get the tea poured (from a proper pot) into china cups (with saucers) in order to watch it properly! I believe it's called 'immersion' - my American brother-in-law used to tuck his pants/trousers into his socks when watching 'Star Trek' - perfectly normal. I have been known to dress up (even in public!) as various Christie characters and for a recent 'milestone' birthday, insisted that everyone attending did the same! As part of the International Agatha Christie Festival (IACF) in 2017 the National Trust asked me to open their 'Dead Man's Folly' garden fete at Greenway dressed as Poirot (as I was so much cheaper than the previous 'official' look-a-like!). Having since owned & read/re-read (just about) every book/article/blog/social media post that I could get my hands on by/about Christie - I developed an interest in most things 'Agatha' but in particular, locations associated with her - whether directly connected to her, actually mentioned (often thinly disguised) in her writings, or used/seen in screen adaptations of her works. To this end, I started (& run) the 'Agatha Christie Locations' Facebook group to hopefully give like-minded enthusiasts a place to learn/share/feel 'at home'.

Editor’s Note: Assume there will be “spoilers.”



10pm-11pm: Virtual Cocktail/Mocktail Hour

Virtual Venue: The Grand Hotel

Drinks of the day: Old-fashioned, Red Wine, A (Herculean) Chocolate

·         Play reading of The Marble House Mystery written by Jaclyn A. Lurker

This tradition began when Scott Ratner, superfan from California, hosted an after-hours Grand (Hotel) reading of his play Build a Better Mousetrap in 2015.  Jaclyn (New York writer/blogger) has continued the tradition and presents this year’s short play reading.  You just may recognize some of the actors!

 ·         Trivia with Piers Cardon – Part II

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


Agatha Christie’s Birthday and After-Party

To round off the festival - sit back, relax, mingle, and congratulate our winners!


The official International Agatha Christie Festival (IACF) will feature a special online event including talks by Mark Aldridge & Dr. Jonathan Oates, performances of Agatha Christie’s poetry, Christie the Magazine joining from a special location, and an All About Agatha podcast with Sophie Hannah, Laura Thompson, and a special guest; therefore, the time of this Virtual international Mystery Festival event is still tentative to avoid a time conflict.


9:30-11pm (tentative): Virtual Cocktail/Mocktail Hour and Awards Ceremony

Virtual Venue: The Grand Hotel

Drinks of the day: Gin and tonic, Champagne (or Prosecco or Cava), Tisane

 ·           I Spy winner announced (Enter the contest here: I Spy Contest!)

A rematch for the contenders of 2019 - and hopefully some new contestants!


Using the clue, see if you can name the item/object/person – double points if you submit a photo of said item/object/person.

About the hosts:

Anne Birch started reading The Hollow at age 12 and has been hooked on all things Agatha ever since. 

A case of travel sickness led Robert, age 9, into the world of Agatha Christie, which he has never left, or been travel sick again.

·          Torquay Mystery Trail winner announced

·         Favorites Announced

·         Birthday card design winner announced (Enter the contest here: Birthday Card Contest!)

·         Virtual group photo – 5-year anniversary

·         Trivia with Piers Cardon – Recap

·         Name that Novel by Lurker-Linane Investigations:

Famous for their 2017 IACF Pitch n Putt event, then followed by a more modest photo trivia Facebook contest in 2018, comes the next iteration of Lurker-Linane Investigations activities.

To join this free festival, please send an email, with your name, to Further details and links will be sent to you closer to the events.


  1. So excited to see this - sounds like it will be a virtual blast! - marking my calendar.

  2. I'm unable to send my mail as my mail is not getting delivered.

  3. Hi Monika, Thanks for your interest in registering for the Virtual Internation Mystery Festival. Are you sure you are using the correct contact address ie When other people have said they were unable to register it was because they were forgetting to include the numbers 2020. Hopefully this will solve your problem.

  4. What a wonderful list of Events, can't wait to attend the Agatha Christie Festival again, this time without the 25 hour plane trip from Australia!!

  5. I'd like to sign up for this event.

    1. Please send you name and email to so that we can send you the information to join the event.