Agatha Christie's Grand Tour

the grand tour agatha christieI'll be the first to confess that I don't know much about Agatha Christie. I read a few of her mysteries in high school but I'm not a big mystery reader. (I often rush too much to get to the whodunit and fail to appreciate the finer points of many mysteries. It's a reader failure.) I assumed that she was a sharp cookies because I've always thought that one pretty much has to be a smart cookie in order to write good mysteries. Among the many things I did not know is that she was part of the British Empire Expedition in 1933. She got to travel around the globe for king and country. Cool!

The Grand Tour compiles together letters that Agatha sent home and the photographs that she took during the 10-month expedition that took her from England to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. She took some fabulous photos, though I have to agree with her grandson that the photos she took with her replacement camera (the first was stolen) really are better.

The tour  was an adventure but as we know, adventures aren't all fun. There were the travel frustrations and Agatha's husband got sick on the last leg of the trip, but through it all Agatha kept her good humour. She managed to entertain herself and even good a bit of good press for her first two books. During a stop in Hawaii she even learned how to surf!

As much as a trip around the world would have been the experience of a lifetime, I can't help but be thankful that I don't have to travel the same way she did, with the same wardrobe she did. 1920s British fashion doesn't quite seem like the travel adventure wardrobe that I'd enjoy, though it does look pretty good in pictures. Ten months is a long time to be away from home. I usually start to lose my head after about ten days of travel. I wouldn't have the first clue how to pack for ten months away, especially when so much of that would have been spent in transit on boats and trains. (I'm guessing she couldn't pack many books due to weight. Gah! Ten months without a regular supply of books. Super scary!)

Currently out in the UK and Canada, The Grand Tour will be released in the US in November. It's a must read for Agatha Christie fans.