Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A visit to Agatha Christie’s house – Kandy Shepherd

As a writer, there’s something fascinating about seeing the places where other writers write. I love it when authors share photos of their workspaces and I can see the actual place where their books were created. (By the way, no one has ever seen a photo of my workspace—it’s way too messy!

First editions of her books on display at Agatha Christie's summer house, Greenway

I grew up loving the mystery novels of Agatha Christie. In July this year, I was fortunate enough while in the UK to visit the beautiful house (well, mansion really!) where Agatha Christie spent her summers. “Greenway” is on the River Dart in Devon, one of the loveliest parts of England.

The house had scaffolding on it for repair work when we visited but was no less imposing

The elegant Georgian house and the magnificent gardens that surround it are open to the public by The National Trust. When a friend asked would I like to visit it with her I jumped to say “yes”. Agatha Christie is reputed to be the best-selling novelist of all time—of course I would love to see where she lived and wrote!

Interesting boats on the harbour at Dartmouth as we took the ferry to Greenway

We took the ferry from the quaint town of Dartmouth along the River Dart to reach Greenway—that was an experience in itself. Then we climbed up through the gardens to the house itself.

The gardens were magnificent

Agatha Christie and her family were collectors. The house is packed with treasures from several generations of the family, some of them very valuable. Yet the house is set up as the family home where Dame Agatha and her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, enjoyed their summer holidays.

Views to the River Dart

My friend and I lingered in every room, listening to talks by the very knowledgeable National Trust volunteer guides. In several of the rooms, we listened to recordings of Agatha Christie in her very posh English accent talking about her writing process—fascinating stuff!

Agatha Christie's working notes for her play Witness for the Prosecution were on display

 Although Agatha Christie didn’t do a lot of writing in the actual house—she wrote in a boathouse on the grounds—her annotated manuscripts and first editions are on show and are beautifully curated. 

Apparently Agatha Christie was quite the shopaholic and brought home finds from all over the world like this inlaid chest of drawers in her bedroom

Many of Christie’s novels are set in country houses like Greenaway—some of the television series Poirot episodes were shot there—and visiting the house really helps bring them to life.

What a marvelous place for a writer to relax and find inspiration!

 An afternoon wasn’t nearly enough time to appreciate the treasures of Greenway. I can’t wait to go back!

Is there an author’s house you would like to visit—or have already visited? Have you read Agatha Christie’s books or enjoyed the TV shows and movies based on them? Did you have a memorable visit somewhere this year?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’m giving away a signed copy of my July 2014 release for Harlequin Romance, The Tycoon and The Wedding Planner. If you’d like to be in the draw, please include your email address in your comment.

Kandy’s third Dolphin Bay story for Harlequin Romance, A Diamond in Her Stocking, goes on sale on December 1, 2014 and is available for pre-order now.

Kandy Shepherd is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She lives on a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her family and a menagerie of four-legged friends.

Visit Kandy at her website

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For more information on Greenway visit:


Silk Chen said...

Hi Kandy,
What an amazing trip! I'd love to visit the Jane Austen house:
It'd also be lovely to see Chatsworth House where Pemberly was filmed. 'Pride and Prejudice,' was the start of my love affair with period dramas.


Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Silk, so lovely to see you here! The house was amazing, not just the house itself and the grounds but also all the personal touches that made it truly seem like you were getting an insight into this famous author's life. I've been lucky enough to visit Jane Austen's house many years ago--well worth visiting!

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thank you, Kandy. What a wonderful place to visit!

I've read some of this author's works and watched movie and TV versions. I've also read about her life. IMHO, what's Agatha Christie's greatest mystery? Agatha Christie.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Kandy, you lucky duck! I'm hoping to be in the UK next year. Wonder if I'll manage to fit in a visit. Suspect I"ll be away before the country houses open for summer, though. Oh, well, next time! Just love those photos. And speaking of things I just love, that's a great title for your next Dolphin Bay book. Loved The Tycoon and the Wedding Planner!

erin said...

that sounds like it was a fun trip! So fun to be able to "visit" the past like that! Congrats on the new release :)

Kandy Shepherd said...

Lovely to see you here Mary Anne. You're so right about Agatha Christie being a mystery herself. They still never really knew why she "disappeared" for a while. I loved that she had framed photos of her pets all around Greenway.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Anna, thanks for calling by! I so recommend a visit to Greenway if you can on your next visit to the UK. The house itself, the gardens and the site overlooking the river are magnificent. But it's all the insights into the writer and her life that I enjoyed so much. Thank you for your kind words about my books. I'm so glad you're enjoying the Dolphin Bay series! I have your latest WHAT A DUKE DARES and can't wait to curl up and read it all in one hit!

Kandy Shepherd said...

It was a wonderful visit I won't every forget Erin. Thanks for the congratulations on the new release.

Kaelee said...

Oh it sounds like you had a lovely visit. I would probably spend time in the gardens. I've never been to England but if I could fit this house into a trip I would. I think it would mean more than visiting other estates as you know the owner a bit through her stories.

Kandy Shepherd said...

That's so true, Kaelee, when you've read so many books by an author you do feel as though you know something of them through their stories. The gardens were truly beautiful--an English garden is something special. I hope you get to go there some day!

Mary Preston said...

Funny coincidence, I just watched a DVD about Agatha Christie. How marvellous it would be to take a guided tour, throughout England say, to visit all the historic homes of authors. Agatha Christie would be on my list & Jane Austen among others.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Wouldn't it be marvellous Mary. I would love it! The volunteer guides at Greenway knew so many interesting stories about Agatha Christie.

Annie West said...

Kandy, thanks so much for sharing. I was so interested to see this place.

Congratulations too on your recent release. It's a great follow up to your first Summer Bay story. Lots of delicious romance goodness!

Sharon Archer said...

Oh, Kandy, thank you for that quick tour of Agatha Christie's house! I'm putting it on my must see list because I'm another firm AC fan! I've always loved her books and am currently enjoying David Suchet as Poirot on TV! Fascinating to know that her house has featured in the series - and I think I remember one fairly recent episode where it may have been the setting.

I'm also fascinated by other writers' working processes - and I have to say that AC's notes look so much more orderly than mine!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Annie, so nice to see you here. Greenway really was interesting and the setting so beautiful. I'm glad you enjoyed reading The Tycoon and The Wedding Planner. I have your new Damasco Claims His Heir on the very top of my teetering TBR pile!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thanks for calling by, Sharon. I started reading Agatha Christie as a child so if was particularly special to visit Greenway. I think the last Poirot was filmed there--or parts of it. I haven't seen that episode yet. Agatha Christie's notes were so interesting--and of course all those books were typed on a manual typewriter.

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Kandy, what fantastic pictures! I'm putting Greenway on my must-see list. I adore Agatha Christie. She's one of my go-to authors when I need a read that I know will satisfy me. You're one of my go-to authors too, by the way! Congratulations on your upcoming Dolphin Bay story!

Last year, I went to Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam, which was just an incredibly moving experience. Then in London I visited Charles Dickens's charming house and lingered in his study. And finally I stumbled upon a house where Jane Austen once lived in Chelsea.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Vanessa, thank you for your kind words about my stories! How wonderful that you've seen Anne Frank's house. I've only been once to Amsterdam and didn't get the chance to visit. Why have I never visited Charles Dickens's house when I used to live in London? Must remedy that next time I go. And find the house in Chelsea! Thanks for sharing.

Mary Preston said...

Forgot my email: