Posts Tagged ‘Agatha Christie’

Ten Little Soldier Boys

August 24, 2013

Ten little Soldier Boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Soldier Boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Soldier Boys travelling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Soldier Boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Soldier Boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Soldier Boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Soldier Boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.

Nursery rhyme, originally Ten Little Nigger Boys, it formed the basis of Ten Little Nigger Boys, a crime novel by Agatha Christie. The title of the book was then changed to And Then There Were None, and the words changed of the nursery rhyme.

And Then There Were None

August 24, 2013

Agatha Christie’s famous detective story without a detective, adapted by Joy Wilkinson, dramatised by BBC Radio 4.

Ten guests are separately invited to an island by a person none of them knows very well, if at-all. Each has been invited on a pretext. When they arrive, it seems they have all been invited for different reasons. Nothing quite adds up.

An anonymous voice accuses each of them of having murdered someone. By the end of the first night, one of the guests is dead. Stranded by a violent storm and tormented by the nursery rhyme ‘Ten Little Soldier Boys’, the ten guests fear for their lives. Who is the killer? Is it one of them?

BBC as usual does not keep on-line, only available for seven days.

And Then There Were None was originally published as Ten Little Niggers (1939), the title referred to a nursery rhyme. The title was changed to And Then There Were None for US publication, and the nursery rhyme changed to Ten Little Indians.

Ten strangers are invited to an island from where there is no escape. Each is complicit in a murder, each dies in a manner suggested in the nursery rhyme. On the table ten soldier boys. Each time one of the guests dies, one of the soldier boys is found smashed.

And Then There Were None is unusual in that neither of her famous detectives makes an appearance. All the more surprising then, that it is her best selling novel. Sales are estimated to be in excess of 100 million, making it the highest selling crime novel.

La estancia de Winston Churchill en Canarias

February 23, 2012
The English Library

The English Library

The Beatles en la Playa de Martianez en Puerto de la Cruz

The Beatles en la Playa de Martianez en Puerto de la Cruz

At least three sets of famous English have visited Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife in the Canary Islands: Agatha Christie (1927), Winston Churchil (1959) and The Beatles (minus John) (1963).

Nicolás González Lemus has written on all three visits in his book Viajeros: por sol, playa … y descanso.

The first contact Winston Churchill had with the Canary Islands was Operation Pilgrim, a planned invasion and occupation during WWII.

Hitler had helped General Franco to power during the Spanish Civil War and was now calling in his favour. Franco though was determined to remain neutral during WWII.

Spain was of no military value to Germany, but of huge strategic importance. Gibraltar controlled the Mediterranean, Canary Islands the Atlantic.

If Gibraltar fell, the plan was to seize the airport at Gran Canaria. An invasion fleet was in place, but never used as Franco remained neutral.

The first visit by Winston Churchill to the Canaries was in 1959. He was now the ex-British Prime Minister.

Winston Churchill was on holiday in Marakesh. Shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis offered to fly him to his yacht Christina.

The yacht was moored at Santa Cruz. In the morning his wife drove to Puerto de la Cruz. She pursuaded her husband to undertake the journey in the afternoon. The drive back was in a more comfortable car provided by the island governor.

They then visted Las Palmas for two days and the island of La Palma.

Winston Churchill used to paint in Madeira. He so liked La Palma that he wished to return to paint, but never did.

During this trip Winston Churchill was now in his 80s.

Winston Churchill was to return to the Canaries in 1960 and 1961 with Aristotle Onassis on board Christina, but never set foot on land.

Churchill is also discussed in Cuba: Entre y Canarias.

A talk given at the English Library in Puerto de la Cruz.

Founded in 1903, the English Library claims to be the largest collection of English books outside of England (I assume excluding USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India). In the grounds palm trees and banana trees.

Top Story in #Winston #Churchill (Thursday 23 February 2012).

The Beatles en Tenerife. Estancia y beatlemanía

Pera Palace Hotel

March 27, 2011
View from the balcony - Elaine Street

View from the balcony - Elaine Street

The sun that suddenly rises behind the hills of Pera, over the minarets of the city and the Golden Horn, fills your heart with a crimson joy. Everything that was asleep all night long is waking up now … — Knut Hamsun

Pera Palace Hotel was built in 1892 to serve passengers on the Orient Express. It sits on top of a hill in modern Istanbul with extensive views of the river, Bosphorus and the old part of Istanbul. Passengers on the Orient Express were conveyed from the station, across the river and up the hill in a sedan chair. An example of one such sedan chair may be found in the foyer.

In 1895 Pera Palace was opened with a Grand Ball.

Pera Palace soon established itself as the place to see and be seen.

It was at the Pera Palace Hotel that Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express (1934).

Other famous guests include Ernest Hemingway, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Mata Hari, Yehudi Menuhin, Jacqueline Kennedy, Rita Hayworth, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, King George V of England, King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth II, President Tito of Yugoslavia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary and Czar Nicholas II of Russia.

Room 101, a favourite of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during his many visits, is now a Atatürk museum.

The most recent famous visitor Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. He hosted a St Joseph’s Day Party (Saturday 19 March 2011) and earlier in the day a press conference.

Pera Palace Hotel has been recently renovated to restore it to its former glory. It was closed in 2006 and reopened 1 September 2010. The re-opening coincided with the year that Istanbul had been designated as the European Capital of Culture.

The electric lift inside the hotel was the second only installed in Europe. The first was the Eiffel Tower. British writer Daniel Farson described the elevator:

It is the most beautiful elevator in the world made of cast iron and wood… It ascends like a lady who curtsies. Tourists can not take their eyes off this utterly pretty and aristocrat elevator.

Apart from the Ottoman Palaces, Pera Palace was the first building to have electricity.

A few minutes walking distance from Pera Palace lies Istiklal Avenue, the heart of modern Istanbul. A historic tram mentioned by Orhan Pamuk in one of his novels runs through Istiklal Avenue. At the end of Istiklal Avenue, a funicular runs down to the tram station, from where a tram runs across the river to the old part of Istanbul and the railway station. Or a 10 lire taxi ride, but the funicular and tram is more fun.

Also within walking distance lies the Galata Tower.

Pera Palace is featured in 1000 Places to See Before You Die, with a copy opened at the relevant pages in a display cabinet in the hotel foyer.

Paulo Coelho meets readers in Istanbul
Paulo Coelho Press Conference at Pera Palace Hotel
Paulo Coelho’s St Joseph’s Day Party at Pera Palace Hotel
Pera Palace Hotel Istanbul « Historic Hotels of the World – Then & Now
Refurbished grandeur in Istanbul’s Pera Palace Hotel
Istanbul: Afternoon Tea at the Pera Palace Hotel