That excellent online resource Tangled Web UK asked me to review a new, lavishly illustrated book, Hilary Macaskill’s Agatha Christie at Home. It’s one of those volumes often described as for ‘the coffee table’, but this sometimes is a euphemism, meaning that the book is nice to look at, but scarcely worth reading. But I think it’s of interest to Christie fans.
There is discussion about a range of places where Christie felt at home, starting with her birthplace in Torquay, a house called Ashfield. There’s mention of other homes, such as Winterbrook House in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, but naturally the main focus is on Greenway, Christie’s favourite house, standing above the River Dart.
Greenway has recently been donated to the National Trust, and I can’t wait to pay it a return visit. My first trip there was in 1990. The CWA’s annual conference took place in Torquay, and one of the highlights was a private tour of Greenway, conducted by Christie’s grandson. I found it truly fascinating, even though the time available did not permit a full exploration of the lovely grounds.
All in all, it was a great weekend that will long stay in my memory. Other highlights include the meeting of David Suchet and Joan Hickson, when the Orient Express pulled in to the station at Torquay, and the Centenary Dinner, when my wife and I rubbed shoulders with members of the casts of the Christie tv series, and watched, from the balcony of the Conference Centre, a dramatic fireworks display over the bay, possibly the most dazzling I've ever seen in my life.