Agatha Christie: surfboards can kill, too

Agatha Christie, the famous British crime novelist who created Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple, learned to surf in 1924, when riding waves was a privilege of a few.

A collection of previously unpublished letters and photos has shown that Christie took on a year-long round-the-world trip, as part of a trade mission of the British Empire Expedition.

The master of master of suspense and plotting visited Hawaii, Canada, America, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and took photos with her portable camera. Agatha Christie described her adventures in diaries and letters sent to her mother.

"It was occasionally painful as you took a nosedive down into the sand, but on the whole it was an easy sport and great fun," the novelist wrote. When she finally took off on her first stand-up ride, she was delighted.

"Oh, it was heaven! Nothing like it. Nothing like that rushing through the water at what seemed to you a speed of about two hundred miles an hour; all the way in from the far distant raft, until you arrived, gently slowing down, on the beach, and foundered among the soft flowing waves."

"The Grand Tour," a new book published by Harper Collins, delivers some of the original letters, postcards, newspaper cuttings and memorabilia collected by Agatha on her trip.

The British crime fiction writer sold over a billion copies of her 80 novels, short story collections and plays. Agatha Christie, a true pioneer, not only in novels but also in surfing.