At the beginning of autumn I had a day trip to Agatha Christie’s former holiday home in Devon. Greenway House is in a stunning location by the River Dart, so it’s a lovely place to visit anyway, but for me it felt almost like a pilgrimage. Let me explain.
I read my first Agatha Christie novel at the age of twelve or thirteen. I was browsing in the school library and found Murder on The Orient Express.
I didn’t dare take it home.
As I was a lay preacher’s daughter, I thought I’d get into big trouble. I'd already read the family's entire collection of Enid Blyton and other children's books, and MOTOE was very different! So the book stayed in my school locker in between reading sessions. We didn’t have any books like that at home (and no TV), so murder mysteries were like a new world to me. I didn’t realise there were such stories out there. I became even more addicted to fiction than I already was.
I’ve read many books over the years, but I always remember Murder on The Orient Express as being the one which started it all for me, firing up my imagination. I was able to escape into books, which provided relief at a difficult time in my life. I'd love to have been able to tell Agatha Christie how much I enjoyed her writing.
Greenway is set within beautiful gardens and grounds. We arrived by ferry from Dartmouth (and saw seals!), but you can reach the place overland as well. Some people travel by steam train from Paignton.
Of course, I had to buy a book from the shop. I chose Miss Marple’s Final Cases, which is a selection of short stories. The lady at the till kindly stamped it with the Greenway stamp, so that made it even more special.
It is looked after by The National Trust, so if you want more info you can check out their site.