Visit Donna on Facebook Follow Donna on Twitter
Donna 2.jpg

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.

www.donnafletchercrow.com

Read More Articles:

Disney World Reflections Jane Austen Seashore Tour Japan Journey Kishanda Fulford Newsletter Posts by Fay Sampson Regency World Short Stories The Celtic Cross Series The Power of Story The Writing Life Trans-Canada Adventure Uncategorized Writers in France Then and Now

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History

 

Follow This Blog Subscribe to Newsletter

The Authorized Version

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History

A traveling researcher engages people and places from Britain's past and present, drawing comparisons and contrasts between past and present for today's reader.

Check out my books on Amazon

At The Hotel Negresco with Hercule Poirot

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 28, 2021

Ah, Le Negresco, symbol of the French Riviera and one of the world’s most luxurious hotels.

No, my daughter-in-law and I didn’t stay there. After all, the current owner Madame Jeanne Augier reportedly replied to Bill Gates’ offer to buy it that, “He couldn’t afford it.”

But surely, our accommodation was a close second-best as our Air B and B was only a few hundred feet on along the Promenade d’ Anglaise. And we looked out on the same azure blue sea.

The hotel Negresco was built in 1912 by Henri Negresco, the son of a Romanian innkeeper. After service in the Romanian army, the young Henri left Bucharest for Paris. Then on to the Riviera, where he found success as director of the Municipal Casino in Nice. This gave him the idea to build a sumptuous hotel of quality that would attract the wealthiest of clients and appeal to the high-rollers that he encountered daily in the casino.  

The casino, which stood in the Place Masséna, the historic main square of the city, was demolished in 1979.

But the iconic pink dome of Henri Negresco’s hotel continues from strength to strength.

Agatha Christie used the hotel in her novel The Mystery of the Blue Train: Hercule Poirot Investigates to give readers a sense of reality. It serves as something of an anchor to the Riviera by using the world-famous hotel in several scenes.

Christie first introduces readers to the Negresco when the shady “Derek Kettering went straight to the Negresco, where he ordered a couple of cocktails and disposed of them rapidly; then he stared moodily out over the dazzling blue sea.”

Hercule Poirot himself entertains two young ladies, the unspoiled, unworldly Katherine Grey, and the forceful, no-nonsense Hon. Lenox Tamplin, at the Negresco. “He was full of Gallic politeness, and showered so many compliments upon the two girls that they were soon helpless with laughter.” The forthright Lenox waited until “they were sitting on the terrace sipping their coffee” before “she suddenly attacked Poirot bluntly.”

Next, we find the hotel being used as a nefarious device by a villain wishing to search a noble residence. Hipolyte, butler to the Comte de la Roche, tells his master upon the count’s return to Monte Carlo: “At three o’clock I received a summons from Monsieur le Comte, to present myself to him at Nice, at the Negresco.”

“Really,” said the Comte; “and you went?”

“Certainly, Monsieur, but at the Negresco they knew nothing of Monsieur le Comte. He had not been there.”

And finally, Poirot is taken into the inner sanctum of one of the luxurious rooms by American millionaire Rufus Van Aldin. “Poirot smiled. He was sitting opposite the millionaire at a luncheon table in the latter’s private suite at the Negresco. Facing him was a relieved but very puzzled man. Poirot leant back in his chair, lit one of his tiny cigarettes, and stared reflectively at the ceiling.” Certainly, there could have been no finer surroundings for a confidential—and mysterious—conversation.

In step with Agatha Christie’s characters, the Negresco was near the top of our “must do” list. First, "research" for Kelly's food-writing career: dinner on the terrace of La Rotonde, their Brasserie.

And afterwards—the bar. Rather than gulping cocktails like the sleazy Derek Kettering, however, we made do with tea.

We topped off the evening with a personal indulgence of mine--I have adored carousels since I saw my first one at six years old.

Three days later, Like Poirot entertaining his two young ladies, our first stop in Nice after collecting our dancers from their school in Monaco, was afternoon tea on the Negresco terrace.

Then we explored the grand main hall with its outstanding art collection ranging from classical to tongue-in-cheek.

And in the center, the spectacular Baccarat crystal chandelier which Czar Nicholas II commissioned for his own palace, but never saw, due to the Russian Revolution.

Do come back next week, when we will begin, as Agatha Christie did, at the beginning with Hercule Poirot approaching the Riviera on The Blue Train.

 

 

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.

www.donnafletchercrow.com

Read More: Writers in France Then and Now

Share This Post:

LinkedIn

Reader Comments:

Please share your comments
on this article:
Username:
Email address:
(will not be shown)

Blog Main Page

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.