Monday, 15 September 2014

In Agatha's Footsteps

Husband entered the River Dart 10 kilometre swim yesterday morning in Devon and as he would probably take a few hours to complete the swim, Monkeychild and I decided to drive across to the other side of the river to visit Greenway, the former house of the grande dame of crime fiction, Dame Agatha Christie.

I read my first Agatha Christie book (The Clocks) in my early teens and quickly started to read through a good proportion of her books; I've been a fan ever since really, so I just had to visit her house when I had the chance.

Greenway is a beautiful house situated just above the River Dart and across the water from the village of Dittisham; needless to write that the views are stunning.

View from Agatha's bedroom window looking down to the river
The rooms on public view are apparently just how Agatha and her second husband, the archaeologist Max Mallowan, left them and are full of their collections of archaeological artefacts, curios, porcelain ornaments and dolls. This one in particular was a bit creepy looking...

...I wouldn't want to keep her in my bedroom as I can imagine her turning her head at night and blinking her eyes! Whenever I see dolls like this, a quote from Stephen King always pops up in my mind: "Dolls with no little girls around to mind them were sort of creepy under any conditions".

The library was apparently Agatha's favourite room. It still retains a wartime memento from the time Greenway was requisitioned as an Officers' Mess during World War II: an eye-catching and detailed frieze painted by one Lieutenant Marshall Lee who along with his fellow Officers of the 10th U.S. Coast Guard flotilla, were headquartered at the house prior to D-Day. His handiwork must have impressed Agatha as she kept the mural intact when she repossessed the house. Good on her!

A detail of 'Bar Americane' that can be seen in the below photo

Photo Source
In her bedroom, we were given a glimpse into Agatha's wardrobe too...

...although I reckon that she must have had a bigger wardrobe than this! 

After we looked at the house, Monkeychild and I had a wander outside and batted a few balls about on the old tennis court and then visited the walled kitchen garden, which had me 'ooh-ing' in delight. Unfortunately, the battery on my phone gave up after taking this photo, but you can just about see the lovely glasshouse through the doorway...

This is one place I shall certainly be visiting again.


  1. Its nice there isn't it? My parents used to live in Dittisham, and they knew her gardener
    Julie xxxx

  2. I was only chatting to a man about Agatha Christie's house yesterday as he'd just come back from a holiday in Devon.
    It looks wonderful especially the peek at the glasshouse and the wardrobe.
    Hope the swim went well. x

  3. That frieze inevitably reminds me of Casablanca, which is kind of funny because I watched the film (again) over the weekend -- possibly when you were looking at the frieze... :)

    During the war Agatha Christie moved to a block of flats in London, it was crammed full of really interesting people (artists, architects, photographers -- and spies!) and they all ate in the in-house restaurant (the chef later became the first celeb telly chef) They've got a really interesting exhibition on there at weekends

  4. What a lovely house - stunning views, by the river, and a walled garden, doesn't get much better than that! The mural is interesting too, and vintage dolls always look vaguely unhinged and murderous, I think! xxx

  5. Good heavens that doll is horrible!! Although I live in Devon I've never visited, it's on my list :)

  6. Lovely post and what a gorgeous house and gardens.I do love Agatha. My gran had her books -she used to keep them at the bottom of her wardrobe for some reason and I'd sit in there and read.
    I'm pleased to see a creepy doll. I like that's thinking of what to do next. I'd have her in my room. She'd be right at home.
    The murals are rather wonderful.

  7. I think reading the Christie books must have been a rite of passage for us all when we were young, wasn't it fantastic to finish one and know that there were loads left to read. What a lovely post and photos... thank you, I really intend to make an effort to visit there now.


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