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United States/England

The Art of the Whodunit: English Murder Mysteries on QM2

Program No. 23190RJ
Agatha Christie. Colin Dexter. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If these are the authors who fill up your bookshelves, join us on the QM2 to delve into the world of English murder mysteries.

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At a Glance

From the steps of 221B Baker Street to the rolling English countryside, England has long been the perfect setting for a good, old-fashioned murder mystery. If you can’t resist a mystery novel — particularly a British one — join us on this transatlantic learning adventure on board the Queen Mary 2, as we journey from New York City to Oxford, England in search of the best capers of our time. Immerse yourself in harrowing plots, probable motives and questionable characters, all while trying to answer the ultimate question: Whodunit?
Activity Level
On Your Feet
I’m comfortable with some walking throughout the day. I expect to get on and off of a coach, and I’m ready to stroll through cities and to stand for a few hours when we’re learning in museums.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Attend lectures by a British crime novelist who will share their insight on the legacy of Sherlock Holmes, the Golden Age of Murder, and how they began their own career as a novelist.
  • Follow in the footsteps of Detective Chief Inspector Morse — the beloved character created by author Colin Dexter — as you explore Oxford.
  • Embark on walking explorations of Oxford and Christ Church with local experts, and enjoy an English pub crawl.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Miss Marple Omnibus Vol III
by Agatha Christie
Any Lord Peter Wimsey novels
by Dorothy L. Sayers
Any Sherlock Holmes novel
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Any Morse novels
by Colin Dexter
Scene of the Crime
by Julain Earwaker and Kathleen Becker
Foreword by P.D.JAmes. A guide to the landscapes of British Detective fiction.
Gaudy Nights: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery
by Dorothy L. Sayers
Or any in the Peter Wimsey series set in Oxford. ‘I admire her novels . . . she has great fertility of invention, ingenuity and a wonderful eye for detail’ (Ruth Rendell ). ‘She brought to the detective novel originality, intelligence, energy and wit.’ (P. D. James ).
Miss Marple Vol II
by Agatha Christie
The Dead of Jericho
by Colin Dexter
Or any Inspector Morse novel or TV series.
Miss Marple Omnibus Vol 1
by Agatha Christie
The Complete Inspector Morse Collection
by Colin Dexter
Lake District Mysteries
by Martin Edwards
Series of 6 books beginning with the Coffin Trail.
Oxford Insight Compact Guide
by Apa
This Insight Compact Guide is the ideal companion for your trip to the famous university city of Oxford. The top 10 sights are highlighted to help you plan your visit and include Christ Church College, the Botanic Garden and the Sheldonian Theatre. Clear, colour-coded sections cover everything from history and culture, to entertainment, food and drink in an easy-to-read format. Sights are cross-referenced on detailed full-colour maps throughout, providing instant orientation and allowing you to tailor your chosen routes exactly to the places you most want to visit. Full-colour photographs throughout the guide provide a visual introduction to this architecturally attractive city and enable you to recognise sights, such as the famous colleges, whilst out and about.
Oxford Book of Oxford
by Jan Morris
'Few cities,' Jan Morris observes, 'have been much more loved, loathed, and celebrated.' This book has become a classic account of the character, history, mores, buildings, climate, and people of one of Britain's most fascinating cities. 'A book of outstanding excellence, with a sweep of knowledge and a distinction of style such as I have never before encountered in a work of this sort ... Brilliant alike in observation and imagination ... brings the very stones of Oxford to life' Sunday Telegraph
Oxford – An Architectural Guide
by Geoffrey Tyack
Few cities have a greater concentration of significant architecture than Oxford. Within a city of only 130,000 inhabitants there are important buildings, many of them of great beauty, from every period from the 11th century down to the present. Geoffrey Tyack chronicles the architectural development of Oxford - both University and City - from its origins to the late-20th century, explaining the idiosyncracies of Oxford's architectural history, and placing the buildings within their historical context. His approach is chronological, and his emphasis on what can actually be seen
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13 days
12 nights
32 meals
12 B 10 L 10 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Program Registration, Orientation
New York City
Hotel Riu Plaza New York Times Square

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Orientation & Welcome: 5:00 p.m. We will gather for Orientation followed by a Welcome Reception. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Adventures Afloat program. Port stops are subject to change as weather and ocean conditions could affect the progress of the vessel. The cruise itinerary should therefore be regarded as provisional. The time in each port is set by the cruise line. The cruise line reserves the right to change the itinerary without prior notice. Our program is staffed with both a Study Leader who will lecture, conduct field trips, and serve as an information resource on program-related topics, and a Group Leader who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics. Aboard the Queen Mary 2, breakfast and lunch are in the venue of your choosing. Afternoon tea is served in the Queens Room. Road Scholars are invited to have dinner together in the Britannia Restaurant. Snacks, juice, tea, coffee, water are available 24 hours a day in the buffet restaurants and there is 24-hour room service. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s sleep for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Free Time, Embark The Queen Mary 2
At Sea
B,L,D
Queen Mary 2

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Driving around 1/2 hour, some standing in line to embark.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Free time. We will board our motorcoach and ride to the pier in the early afternoon, complete embarkation procedures, and board the Queen Mary 2.

Lunch: Aboard the Queen Mary 2.

Afternoon: After getting our cabins, we will take some time to settle in and begin to familiarize ourselves with the ship. We will participate with everyone on board in the ship’s mandatory muster/safety drill when announced.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. The Queen Mary 2 is a floating city. The options for activities and entertainment are many and varied. You might like to see a show in the ballroom, go dancing, listen to music, watch a movie in the theatre, have a beverage and a chat with new Road Scholar friends in one of the bars, or wander through the library — one of the best shipboard libraries anywhere — to find a book and curl up in that perfect reading chair.

DAY
3
Our Lecture Series Begins
At Sea
B,L,D
Queen Mary 2

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: In our private meeting room, we will begin our first lecture from our Study Leader, who will look at the roots of detection in the late Victorian era and the character and stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take advantage of a variety of enrichment activities. You might attend a presentation by a guest speaker, take a class such as watercolor painting or ballroom dancing, take a dip in one of the swimming pools, or any of the many other options.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy a variety of activities on board, from movies to shows or simply enjoying the ambience of the many themed bars.

DAY
4
The Golden Age of Murder
At Sea
B,L,D
Queen Mary 2

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: In our second lecture, our Study Leader will analyze The Detection Club. This discussion will investigate how Agatha Christie and her colleagues in a mysterious literary club transformed crime fiction between the wars by delving deep into true crimes as well as their own complex private lives, eschewing the notion of “cozy and conventional” British mysteries.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free Time. Weather permitting, you might like to take a leisurely stroll around the Promenade Deck and take in the fresh sea air.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to visit the Queen Mary 2’s beautiful theatre, home to nightly productions from stars of stage and screen alike.

DAY
5
Locked Room Mysteries
At Sea
B,L,D
Queen Mary 2

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We will enjoy a lecture from our Study Leader on “locked room” mysteries, a sub-genre wherein murder is committed in a small or sealed-off area, seemingly impossible for the culprit to escape. Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is a classic example.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time. A perfect opportunity to visit the spellbinding planetarium show, polish your bridge skills during a tournament, or perhaps retreat to the spa for a massage.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. The Golden Lion, a traditional English pub aboard the QM2, runs a competitive pub quiz — perfect for showing off your newly gained knowledge.

DAY
6
True Crime
At Sea
B,L,D
Queen Mary 2

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We’ll enjoy another illuminating lecture by exploring true crime, including the case of Hawley Harvey Crippen, and crime fiction.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time. When not performing in the ship’s theatre, members of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art give you the opportunity to flex your acting muscles at daily workshops.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. The Queen Mary 2 travels with expert sommeliers, who host nightly wine tasting and appreciation events.

DAY
7
My Life of Crime
At Sea
B,L,D
Queen Mary 2

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We’ll enjoy a unique experience, hearing first-hand about our Study Leader’s "life of crime”—writing crime fiction.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time. You may wish to explore the history of the Cunard Line at a unique exhibition running through the halls of the ship.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Cruises & Crime!
At Sea
B,L,D
Queen Mary 2

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Our Study Leader explores two interesting locations for crime fiction: cruise ships and the city of Oxford. Be afraid!

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy your last evening onboard and prepare for disembarkation and transfer to Oxford in the morning.

DAY
9
Disembarkation, Oxford Walk
Oxford
B,L,D
Voco Oxford Spires

Activity note: Getting on/off ship, motorcoach. Driving 68 miles, around 2.5 hours, with a stop en route. Walking on city streets up to 3 hours, around 2 miles

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We will complete disembarkation procedures in Southampton and make our way to the motorcoach for our transfer to Oxford. We will arrive in the "city of dreaming spires" before lunch and check into our hotel. On arrival in Oxford our study leader will take us on an orientation walk of the city centre.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: This afternoon is free to settle in or to walk the river bank. A coach will take us back into the city center for dinner.

Dinner: At a local restauranmt.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Morse's Oxford!
Oxford
B,L,D
Voco Oxford Spires

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach, driving under 1/2 hour. Minimal walking.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will travel by motorcoach to the city center where we will see many of the literary connections to Inspector Morse; The Randolph Hotel, Divinity School, Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera and Exeter College before having a guided visit to the Sheldonian Theater. We will then visit Blackwell's Bookshop.

Lunch: At an historic Oxford pub, frequented by scholars through the centuries.

Afternoon: We will continue on to the Martyr’s Memorial via Baliol College and then enjoy time on our own before returning to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: After dinner we'll enjoy a talk on the histories and associations of Oxford Pubs before visiting the Turf Tavern.

DAY
11
Oxford River Cruise, Christ Church, Afternoon Tea.
Oxford
B,L
Voco Oxford Spires

Activity note: Minimal walking; getting on/off boat.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will travel by boat along the River Thames, cruising around ancient Folly Island and past Christ Church meadows.

Lunch: At a traditional riverside pub.

Afternoon: This afternoon we'll visit the largest and most prestigious of all Oxford Colleges, Christ Church, passing the police headquarters in St Aldate’s, where Colin Dexter’s characters Morse and Lewis work, as well as Old Palace, where Sherlockian scholar Ronald Knox wrote. At Christ Church, we will have an expert-led exploration of the college buildings that were once home to writers J.C. Masterman, Michael Innes, and Lewis Carroll. It is also the model for Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series. We’ll see Christ Church Meadows, the Peckwater Quad, Tom Tower, and the Cathedral, where Sayers’ father was headmaster of the Christ Church Cathedral Choir. Let’s follow in the footsteps of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. We will then have a traditional Afternoon Tea.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
North Oxford, Oxford University Press, Jericho.
Oxford
B,D
Voco Oxford Spires

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach. Walking and standing on city pavements up to 3 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: The motorcoach will take us to North Oxford where we will take a walk in Summertown before visiting the Oxford University Press.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Our motorcoach will take us the short distance to the Jericho area of Oxford, the setting for Colin Dexter’s novel “The Dead of Jericho” and his character Inspector Morse. Here, we will see the Anglican St Barnabas Church and walk the canal.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Free to pack and rest before our journeys home.

DAY
13
Program Concludes
Oxford
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.