Tenerife to Torquay, a Fawlty connection or a mystery?

It’s enough to make the Major choke on his cornflakes and Basil chew the carpet. Puerto de la Cruz council want to twin their city with Torquay, the cream of Devon, forever immortalised by Fawlty Towers.

Puerto de la Cruz

Agatha Christie You can see the similarities, both coastal cities with a big fishing and boating community and popular with tourism, but that’s not the connection. Agatha Christie is the key to this mystery. The famous crime writer, born in Torquay in 1890, stayed in Puero de la Cruz in 1927 and was inspired to write the short story “The Man From The Sea”. Last year Puerto held an Agatha Christie festival from November 23 to December 1 to mark the 80th anniversary of her visit.

Grandson Matthew Prichard, who now handles Agathas estate and rights to her works, came over to attend a number of events including the unveiling of a bust at La Paz, the mirador (viewpoint) that looks down on much of Puerto de la Cruz. The plan is for a second festival to be held in June 2009 and the twinning arrangement with Torquay would fit in nicely with that.

The Devon city has its other claims to fame, comedian Peter Cook was born there and the lovely Helen “Hells Bells” Chamberlain is probably their most famous supporter of Torquay United. I doubt if we can look forward to a literary festival based on the works of Derek and Clive, or the contents of the Torquay football programme, so murder and intrique will continue to forge links between the 2 cities.