Tea with Agatha Christie

Agatha-Chrstie

In a small theater in London’s West End, I discovered Agatha Christie.  Her mystery play “The Mousetrap” has been running continually since it opened 1952.   It’s surprise ending reminds the audience that a great writer can always surprise you.   When the curtain closed.. I was officially a die hard Agatha Christie fan.

The last 13 years my life has been devoted to all things tea.   I quickly discovered that not only was Ms. Christie an avid tea drinker but she often wrote about it in her books. (she wrote 80 stories and plays in all!)

Here is a fun quote from “And Then There Were None

 

“Will you pour out tea, Miss Brent?’ The el­der wom­an replied: ‘No, you do it, dear. That tea-​pot is so heavy. And I have lost two skeins of my grey knitting-​wool. So an­noy­ing.’ Ve­ra moved to the tea-​ta­ble. There was a cheer­ful rat­tle and clink of chi­na. Nor­mal­ity returned. Tea! Blessed or­di­nary everyday af­ter­noon tea! Philip Lom­bard made a cheery re­mark. Blore re­spond­ed. Dr. Arm­strong told a hu­mor­ous sto­ry. Mr. Jus­tice War­grave, who or­di­nar­ily hat­ed tea, sipped ap­prov­ing­ly.

 

Agatha Christie actually wrote a short story entitled “A Pot Of Tea” starring her young detectives Tommy and Tuppence in her collection “Partners in Crime.”

 

If hosting your own Agatha Christie tea party consider the following suggestions:

 

#1 The 1957 version of “Witness for the Prosecution” is fantastic.  Gather your friends around the flat screen,  sip tea and drink in the mystery.  This play had a surprise ending that is sure to start avid discussions amongst your guests.

#2 Serve a hearty English Afternoon blend like Albert Square Blend from http://TeaSource.com

#3 Make classic English scones as described in detail at the Joy of Baking.com  Follow this link for a video and written instructions.  http://joyofbaking.com/scones.html

#4 Before the end of the film, ask your guests to write out “who done it” and drop it in a hat.  Read the conclusions aloud, watch the end of the film and allow time to discuss.

An Agatha Christie tea party can be memorable without being complicated.

 

Need a great favor?  Consider buying inexpensive paperbacks of some of Christie’s finest mysteries.  These are often available on Amazon.com

 

Have you read these Tea Party Girl articles?

Winston’s Wartime Tea

Tea Mystery Books You May Have Missed

The Top Ten Reasons a Daily Cup of Tea is Essential to Living

 

Tea Party Girl Asks: What’s Your Favorite Agatha Christie Book?

 

 

 

 

 

A Dramatic Tea Time Your Friends Won’t Forget

pinkhat

 

 

Wanted: Hams, Drama Queens, Divas, Social Butterflies and anyone who longs to “Act Out” in a group.

Theme:” Who Killed The Darling Duke of Darjeeling?” … a mystery tea time.

Grab a group of your “gabbiest” girlfriends (6-8 will do) and host a mystery tea party they will be talking about for years to come. Follow this step by step article for a successful event.

Step #1: Order the Instant Down-loadable Kit

Who Killed The Darling Duke of Darjeeling ? is an awesome tea party waiting to happen. You can download the full kit with scrips, characters, recipes and more for only $24.95 You can also order a hard copy mailed to you for $33.30. The kit includes place cards, invitations and nametags as well.

Go to: http://mysteryteaparties.com/darjeeling.htm

Step #2: Choose Your Guests

Think about your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Who needs a chance to be someone else for a day? Invite guests that you know will put effort into creating an outrageous costumes and giving an over the top performance.

To present the Who Killed The Darling Duke of Darjeeling you will need 6 to 8 guests to play the following crazy characters:

Rose T. Cups – An obsessed horticulturist convinced that the Duke stole her prize rose

Paris Hall - An avid teapot collector who had shun the Duke’s offer to buy her best pot

Lacey Frills – The sweet, innocent and jilted bride to be!

Fancy FrouFrou- A shockingly glamorous woman with a dark past.

Vicki Torian- The Duke’s executive assistant with a well earned grudge

Lady Tipton- Heiress of the Tipton Tea Fortune

Earlene Grey – A woman driven to a life of poverty at the hand of the Duke

Devon Shire – A Duchess who became a social outcast.

Step #3: Read the Kit and Plan Your Food

You have heard it said “when all else fails read the instructions,” and hosting a mystery tea party is no exception. Start by reading through the entire kit from start to finish. Imagine each character being played by one of your guests.

What will you wear as the hostess? Who do you want to be? Create a character in your mind’s eye. You want to participate in all the fun!

Who Killed The Darling Duke of Darjeeling scripts are divided into three courses. You will need a scone course, a finger sandwich course and a dessert. Here are a few fun suggestions:

Crazy Easy Scones

1 3/4 cup pastry flour

1/4 cup bakers sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup heavy cream

Directions
Preheat an oven to 375  degrees F

This is my personal (Dawnya) recipe that I have been making with rave reviews for years.  If you don’t have pastry flour use cake flour.  If you don’t have bakers sugar grind regular white sugar until it is very fine.

Mix all the ingredients carefully, turn onto board.  Pat into flat circle about 1/4 inch thick and cut into triangles or use a cookie cutter.  Let rest in the freezer for at least 5 minutes on a baking tray and then pop into a hot oven.

Bake 10 -12 minutes.  Yum.

Delicious Devonshire Cream

(recipe from Who Killed The Darling Duke of Darjeeling? )

8 oz. Cream cheese-softened
3 Tbsp powder sugar
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup Cool Whip-thawed

Mix all ingredients with electric mixer till fluffy. Refrigerate till serving time.

Fancy’s Finger Sandwiches

(excerpt from Who Killed The Darling Duke of Darjeeling?)

Choose your favorite sandwich fillings (egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad,etc.) and a variety of breads. Spreading the bread lightly with butter first helps prevent the bread from getting soggy. Trim off crusts and cut into small rectangles, squares or triangles. Small crescent rolls, bagels, or crackers can be spread with cream cheese and other toppings to add variety.

You might want to round out this course with a quiche, salad, or fruit.

 

 

Raspberry Trifle

1 box white angel food cake mix
1 1/4 cups cold water
2 cups boiling water
1 box (8-serving size) sugar-free raspberry-flavored gelatin
2 packages (10 oz each) frozen sweetened raspberries, thawed
3 containers (6 oz each) red raspberry yogurt

Move oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350°F.

In extra-large glass or metal bowl, beat cake mix and cold water on low speed 30 seconds; beat on medium speed 1 minute. Pour into ungreased 10-inch angel food (tube) cake pan. Do not use fluted tube cake pan or 9-inch angel food (tube) cake pan, or batter will overflow.

Bake 37 to 47 minutes or until top is dark golden brown and cracks feel very dry and not sticky. Do not under bake. Immediately turn pan upside down onto glass bottle until cake is completely cool, about 1 hour. Run knife around edges; remove from pan. Tear cake into about 3/4-inch pieces.

Pour boiling water on gelatin in large bowl; stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add raspberries. (If desired, remove several raspberries and reserve for garnish.) Refrigerate gelatin mixture about 15 minutes or until thickened but not set. Layer half each of the cake pieces, gelatin mixture and yogurt in 3-quart glass bowl; repeat. Garnish with reserved raspberries. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until firm. Cover and refrigerate any remaining dessert.

 

Step #4: Buy The Gift

“And the Oscar goes to….” At the end of your mystery tea your guests will vote on the criminal. Who will the winner be? Whoever your guests vote for as the most convincing “criminal” in your midst.

As hostess you will be expected to award your “criminal” with your own version of the Oscar for “Best Performance In The Part Of A Murderer.”

Here are a few fun ideas:

Plastic Oscar Trophy – “Best Actress In A Mystery Tea Party”

http://www.partycheap.com/Awards_Night_Male_Statuette_p/50285.htm?gclid=CMPc8cW42akCFRAq7AodGkVHNg&click=2

Prisoner Ball and Chain – “For Crimes Committed Against A Duke”

http://www.partycheap.com/Prisoner_Ball_and_Chain_p/nc695.htm

Crime Scene Blanket “X Marks The Spot.”

http://www.perpetualkid.com/crime-scene-fleece-blanket.aspx

Of course, a nice teapot, tea selection or gift basket would be appreciated too. But a bit of comedy is always fun and you are sure to have a great time posing for outlandish pictures. (send me one!)

 

 

Step #5 Now You Are Ready

If you follow all of these steps you are ready to host a fantastic mystery tea. Be warned! Your guests are going to LOVE this and have so much fun they will beg you for MORE.

Luckily there are more mystery tea party kits available at http://www.MysteryTeaParties.com .


I recommend you peruse their list of kits prior to hosting Who Killed  The Darling Duke of Darjeeling. At the end of your event ask each guest which “theme” they might be interested in for your next round of fun.

Whether it’s a girl’s night out, a reunion, a kids party or a red hat meeting, having a mystery tea party is quick, easy and just a lot of fun!

 

 

Love this article?  Here are some more!

Winston’s Wartime Tea

Tea Mystery Books You May Have Missed

How To Host A Mystery Tea Party

 

 

Tea Party Girl Asks:  How would you host “Who Killed The Darling Duke of Darjeeling?”

Tea Mystery Books You May Have Missed

Dead As A Scone

 

 

I admit it.  I tend to like the television series that do not get picked up.  You know, the 8 episodes that are pulled from the channel due to lack of interest.  Yep.  Those are my favorite.  So it is no real surprise that I am in love with a short lived book series called “The Royal Tunbridge Wells Mysteries.”

There were two books in this series published in 2004.  “Dead as a Scone” and “The Final Crumpet” by Ron and Janet Benrey.  Both books are now out of print though you can pick them up used on Amazon for as little as .25 cents used.  The great news is that the authors have just republished the books on Kindle!  For only $2.99 you can instantly download the books and read them on your digital kindle or on your computer or phone.

Here’s the story:

Dead as a Scone:

Murder is afoot is the sedate English city of Royal Tunbridge Wells … and the crime may be brewing in a tea pot!

Nigel Owen is having a rotten year. Downsized from a cushy management job at an insurance company in London, he is forced to accept a temporary post as managing director of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Tea Museum. Alas, he regrets living in a small city in Kent, he prefers drinking coffee (with a vengeance), and he roundly dislikes Flick Adams, PhD, an American scientist recently named the museum’s curator.

But then, the wildly unexpected happens. Dame Elspeth Hawker, the museum’s chief benefactor, keels over a board meeting—the apparent victim of a fatal heart attack. With the Dame’s demise, the museum’s world-famous collection is up for grabs, her cats, dog, and parrot are living at with Flick and Nigel—and the two prima donnas find themselves facing professional ruin.

But Flick—who knows a thing or two about forensic science—is convinced that Dame Elspeth did not die a natural death. As Flick and Nigel follow the clues—including a cryptic Biblical citation—they discover that a crime perpetrated more than a century ago sowed the seeds for a contemporary murder.

The Final Crumpet:

No wonder the tea bushes didn’t grow!

When Nigel Owen and Flick Adams—the new director and curator of The Royal Tunbridge Wells Tea Museum—dug up two stunted tea bushes in the museum’s garden, the last thing they expected to find was the body of England’s most famous missing person.

Etienne Makepeace, England’s renowned “Tea Sage,” disappeared forty years ago without a trace. But there he lies, in a shallow grave, and every policeman and reporter in the British Isles wants to know why.

So does the stodgy manager of the stodgy English bank that’s about to fund the museum’s acquisition of a major collection of antiquities. He’s ready to pull the plug on the deal.

Flick and Nigel have no choice. To save their beloved museum, they must learn the secret of Makepeace’s disappearance—first! Their investigation takes them back to the 1960s and reveals what even the spymasters of Her Majesty’s Secret Service don’t know: Etienne Makepeace brewed more trouble than tea during the Cold War.

 

Royal Tunbridge Wells (where these stories take place) is a real town west of Kent, England and only an hour or so drive from London.  Want to virtually visit? Here is a link to learn all about this area of the world:

http://www.visittunbridgewells.com/

 

Want to discover the fictional tea museum?  You can! The authors of this book series have created a virtual tea museum at http://teamuseum.org/ Explore the museum floor plan, the characters and read a free chapter from each book.

Personally, I want MORE! More books in this series.  So download them, read them and tell me what you think!

 

More articles you will love:

How To Host A Mystery Tea Party

The Way to Tea–A Book Review

How to Take Tea with Jane Austen

 

Tea Party Girl Asks: What are your favorite Tea Mysteries?