A is for Andover…good Lord!

Along with nine million other Londoners, we really needed to get out of the city for a few days. But where? Somewhere accessible by train and not so far that we’d use loads of our time just travelling. How could we choose a destination that the other 8,999,998 Londoners hadn’t thought of too?

It was a mystery. But who better to solve it than Agatha Christie herself? We would use the ABC Murders to guide our holiday choices in 2021. You might recall that the murderer used the ABC Railway Guide to choose the locations of his crimes and, in each town, his victim shared initials with the place. So we’ll be following the bodies. Let’s face it, it’s nowhere near the weirdest thing to happen this year.

First stop, then, is Andover, where poor Alice Ascher met her end. We’re only here for a night and are actually staying a few miles outside town at the Jack Russell Inn (sorry, Andover, but they promised us cocktails in the garden and a very nice room). We pick up a taxi from the station piloted by the very lovely Tim.

On the way to the hotel, he tells us that the current Andover Station isn’t the one that would have been around in Thirties. That was nearer the centre of town. The original railway line is now a main road but the Station Inn still stands next door to the old station site. As Hastings would have said, ‘Good Lord!

Dammit. We posed at the wrong station. But all is not lost. Tim is going to pick us up for the return journey in the morning so we’ll make a quick stop off on the way.

With our morning excursion in the bag, we can relax and enjoy all the Jack Russell has to offer. In our case, this is a couple of afternoon negronis (which quickly require a little afternoon nap) and then espresso martinis and a delicious dinner while the sun sets. There’s nothing here but the hotel, a pond and a field full of deer. Perfect.

Next morning, Tim collects us and takes us for a look at the Station Inn. This was definitely a working inn, complete with stables and (possibly) the remains of a railway building. Even better, he’s been doing his research – last night he looked up the ABC Murders to see if he could establish the exact location of the tobacconist where the first murder occurred. Sadly, we all conclude that Agatha Christie took full advantage of artistic licence and made pretty much everything up apart from the name of the station. But kudos to Tim for following detective instincts that Poirot would have been proud of!