Tag: Greenway House

Greenway House

In the woods with Agatha Christie

I spend a lot of time wandering around the woods in my backyard, so I was especially delighted to visit Agatha Christie’s woods, which are like something out of a fairy tale. The trees are dark and old and mysterious. But then you’ll turn a sudden bend and find yourself in a surprisingly lush and cozy spot. I was there in October so Hydrangea Walk and the Dahlia Border were not in bloom. But there was still so much to see, such as a flower called a “Red Hot Poker.”   Mainly the sense I got was of peacefulness. There were benches all over where you could sit and think. My husband and I climbed to the Top Garden, and there saw a view that I think must be one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. There were cows in front of us, the Dart River stretched below, and everything smelled fresh.  Many of the trails were quite steep. And the other thing that struck me was how many determined people, some of them with canes, one with a wheelchair, were clambering around. Almost everyone there was smiling, I believe because Agatha Christie is so beloved. You had a real sense that people made […]

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Murder at Greenway House

To get to Greenway House,  my husband and I took a 3-hour train ride southwest from London, to Totnes. Then we took half hour taxi ride to Dartmouth, and then a half hour ferry boat ride to  Greenway House. It was not as arduous as it sounds, however, because the Devon countryside is lovely, and as soon as I set foot in Dartmouth I felt myself tingle with the sense that I’d been there with Agatha Christie. So many of her stories have been set in this part of England.  I have it in my mind that poor Gladys from A Pocketful of Rye was enticed to go to Torquay, though that may be wrong. But Agatha Christie herself grew up in Torquay, and this area of the country was clearly important to her. How many of her stories are set on the seaside, on coves and beaches, with pavilions.  Just to give a few examples, one of the bodies in the A.B.C. Murders shows up in Churston, which is only two miles from Greenway. In  Five Little Pigs, a murder occurs in a house overlooking the Dart River. And in Dead Man’s Folly, the very boat house at Greenway (pictured above) is described […]

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Dining with Agatha Christie

One of my favorite rooms at Greenway House was the dining room. Here was where Agatha Christie celebrated holidays with her husband, the archaeologist Max Mallowan, her daughter Rosalind and her grandson, Matthew.  You’ll note there’s a small pitcher in front of Agatha Christie’s seat, whereas the other settings have wine glasses.  That’s because Agatha Christie was a teetotaler. Rather than alcohol,  she preferred to drink Devonshire cream. (Just as a side note, I looked up the calorie count on  Devonshire cream and it’s 73 calories a tablespoon!) She also liked to drink a glass or two of Devonshire cream while she wrote. Perhaps this is a secret to a long career. At one end of the dining room was this intriguing little knick knack, that I assume is a raven. The whole house is awash with knick knacks and I was told that, when the National Trust was going through the house, they uncovered Agatha Christie’s Order of the British Empire medal under a pile of books. Incidentally, there is a person who has the job of being a Writer-in-Residence at Greenway House and she is leading a writing workshop in which writers will be prompted to use objects in Agatha Christie’s collection as a starting point for their […]

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Welcome to Agatha Christie week

 Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Greenway House, Agatha Christie’s summer home. For anyone who loves Agatha Christie (and I’m hoping there’s no one who doesn’t), it’s a treasure. What a treat to see the rooms where she wrote, to walk the woods where she hiked, and to visit the small villages on the Dart River that inspired some of her fiction. In fact, my husband and I stayed at a hotel that had been used in a 1984 version of Ordeal by Innocence. (I think. It also supposedly was slept in by Queen Mary II, though my husband’s convinced that’s impossible. But it was a fabulous hotel and why argue?) Anyway, if you look at the picture of the Dart River below, then look up and to the left, you’ll see Greenway tucked into the woods.  Below is a closer version of Greenway.House. It looks rather austere in this version, though in fact it’s surrounding by rolling hills and there are deck chairs out front where you can sit.  Once you go inside, you’re surrounded by coziness. This is a picture of the sitting room. To the left, which you can’t see, is a piano. (Agatha Christie […]

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