Posts Tagged ‘Agatha christie The unexpected guest’

In the air, there are plots of murder as well as the odd flurry of snow.

Winter is here! It is far too cold to be even contemplating venturing outside, but you’ll hear no cry of complaint from these quarters. What more could I wish for than a Hercule Poirot adventure on the Orient Express. But there is more to Tea with Mary Kate’s Tale of Tea & Agatha Christie, so do join me on an adventure of Agatha Christie inspired idea’s at Christmas.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot in a snowy scene in front of the Orient Express

Read a Agatha Christie Christmas themed Book

Reading is such a distracting, indulgent pleasure, and often one we only make time for at holidays. Choose one of her books with a Christmas theme to keep you in the festive mood or just reread your favourite one!  A few that immediately spring to mind are:

The adventure of the Christmas Pudding

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

A Christmas Tragedy

And while you are reading your book, a spot of Agatha Christie Inspired Afternoon Tea wouldn’t go amiss

I can think of no more perfect an afternoon than sitting by a roaring fire, sipping freshly brewed leaf tea from a beautiful vintage tea cup, with the most difficult decision being whether to start with a gorgeous sandwich, or go straight for the delicious cakes.

If you are feeling Adventurous, Investigate where you can see one of her plays

I love An Unexpected Guest, marvelously inventive, it keeps you guessing right until the last moment.

Dream of visiting Greenway

Or better still, plot how you are actually going to visit as this gem of a National Trust property is currently shut. It is an amazing place to imagine having afternoon Tea with Agatha Christie. Agatha’s is often quoted  in saying that Greenway “is the loveliest place in the world”, and it is very hard to disagree with her.

Agatha Christie – Afternoon Tea in the kitchen at Greenway

Finally, Grab your dancing shoes & dress to kill for an amazing Agatha Christie Tea Dance

If you happen to be in London on 27th December,  put on your most gorgeous vintage frock, and head for the Clore Ballroom where a free Agatha Christie tea dance is being held to celebrate her 120th birthday. With 1930s and 1940s live vintage music, who could resist the abundance of vintage glamour!

A rather glamorous Agatha Christie - Afternoon Tea dance

A rather glamorous Agatha Christie – Afternoon Tea dance


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Agatha Christie’s “The Unexpected Guest” written in 1958 still enthralls and captivates

On a foggy night, Michael Starkwedder enters the home of the Warwicks through a window in the study. There lies the dead body of Richard Warwick, and Warwick’s wife, Laura, holding a gun that supposedly killed him…………..Despite the murder being obvious, and overwhelming evidence pointing towards Laura having committed it, Starkwedder does not believe she killed him, and she soon tells the unexpected guest she’s innocent…….and the audience is captivated.

So starts the thrilling plot of Agatha Christie’s play in the equally delightful surrounding of Gawsworth Hall

I remember the first time I ever visited Gawsworth in the heart of Cheshire, walking down the lane past the water fronted medieval church, it seemed to me that nothing so captured the essence of an English country home quite like that beautiful  black and white timbered building. In its picture perfect setting  across from the lake, the vista of Gawsworth’s Tudor splendor absolutely represents all that is quintessentially English. But beyond a feast for the eyes, there is a feeling, an atmosphere to this ancient place that quite simply put is magical. It provides the perfect setting and ambiance for open air theatre.

As we step inside, the melodic bells of the hall clock chime 4.00 o’clock, echoing through the low half timbered manor house of this beautiful Tudor English home.

The aroma of summer sweet peas mixes with the very distinctive smell of polish and smokiness of wood that has burnt in the grates there for 100s of years. Their tiny chapel was granted its first licence in 1365. The drawing room with it’s Elizabethan windows shaped just like the bow of an old ship. Legend has it that Mary Fitton, wayward maid of Gawsworth, was the dark lady of Shakespeare’s sonnets. In it’s more recent history, Raymond Richards bought the hall in 1960. Born locally, he moved to Southport where he was a succesful Tea Merchant.

I continue to marvel at the ingenious ways of transporting tables and chairs, candelabra’s and marques for a Picnic Tea.

This is Britain after all with its marvellously unpredictable weather but luck is on our side, and we are rewarded with a warm, balmy evening, who could wish to be anywhere else in the world. There’s a tradition to the event, an etiquette. The ticket includes a visit to the house, but first things first, place your cushions to mark your seats in the auditorium.  A picnic tea in the fresh air feels gentle, old fashioned but utterly charming. You are instantly transported back to another era, with Picnic basket filled to the brim with all good things.

Idea’s for a Gawsworth Hall Picnic Tea Menu


Smoked Trout Pate

Crisp salad home grown radish, carrot and cucumber batons

Scotch Eggs

A choice of Carrot or Walnut Cake

A selection of cheeses with Scottish oat cakes

Strawberry’s with Fresh cream

Large leaf English Breakfast Tea – as we wanted something with character, full bodied and warming.

There is a very civilised break half way through the plot – Just time enough time for another cup of Tea

The sun is setting, the plot at its most enthralling. Now is the time you wish you remembered your picnic blanket! Candle light’s twinkle, too early to be competing with the stars, but happily illuminating the scene. The comfort of a warming brew is a welcome treat in the cooling air. Time has slowed, as I breath in the air. Tea With Mary Kate adores the traditional Tudor setting of open air theatre, surrounded by the palpable feeling of Gawsworth’s ancient past. It creates a magical ambiance that is memorable and rather special. These are the moments that you remember and cherish year’s later.

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