Death by chocolate on a cruise

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Who doesn’t love a mystery? Check out the books being read by passengers on their cruise ship sun loungers and a good three-quarters of them will be crime thrillers, whodunnits, and tales of girls with dragon tattoos.
And there’s a real-life mystery being enacted on Saga Pearl II right now as passengers try to get to the bottom of how one of them ended up with a severe black eye, and another two were put ashore to be flown home from Port Antonio, Jamaica.
The real queen of crime writers was, of course, Agatha Christie, who will be the centre of attention on a themed cruise Fred Olsen’s Balmoral will be sailing at Easter. There will be presentations by her grandson, Mathew Prichard, and by Julius Green, producer of the Agatha Christie Theatre Company. There will also be live performances of some of Christie’s rarely-heard 30-minute radio plays.
Star attraction for some will be a “Delicious Death” cake, created by Jane Asher from a recipe found in Christie’s 50th novel, A Murder Is Announced, which was published in 1950. It includes “a tin of butter sent from America, some raisins saved for Christmas, a slab of chocolate and a pound of sugar.” In the book, the victim has indulged in the cake at a birthday tea and is later found dead from poisoning.
Jane Asher describes the cake as having “an intense, forbidding, dark Belgian chocolate centre, which is lifted by the unexpected sharp zing of its brandy-soaked cherry and ginger filling.” The cake is decorated with gold flecks, crystallised rose and violet petals, and swirls of ganache piping. No poison, however.
It will be served at a special afternoon tea during the cruise, and there will no doubt be a queue of passengers happy to hand over £5.95 for the privilege of not being poisoned. It will make a change from those “death by chocolate” creations that the creators of midnight buffets used to be so fond of.
The 10-night cruise, departing from Southampton on April 23, visits La Coruna (Spain), Casablanca (Morocco), Gibraltar, Portimao (Portugal), and Lisbon, (Portugal). Fares from £980 per person, based on two adults sharing an inside twin cabin. There is no additional charge for taking part in The ArtsClub’s Agatha Christie theme events.

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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