Thursday 15 October 2009

Agatha Christie memories

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.


Kerrie said...

Hello Martin. Can you add this to the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Blog Carnival please? many thanks in anticipation

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, Martin - As a serious Christie fan, I really enjoyed reading about the book and your trip. I hope someday to visit Greenway, myself.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh, I'm envious! What a wonderful weekend. Glad it was a fun time.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Eric Mayer said...

A few months ago I read Dead Man's Folly, the setting of which, I understand, was based on Greenway. It would be fascinating to be able to tour the grounds and see if there was much similarity. I would be sorely disappointed if there were not, at least, a folly.

Uriah Robinson said...

Eric, the boathouse known locally as Raleigh's Boathouse features in Dead Man's Folly as the place where Marlene Tucker was strangled.
Greenway is an idyllic place well worth a visit.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for all these comments. I think Greenway is a magnet for all detective story fans.