A really lovely book crossed my desk at work recently. The nice thing about working in the acquisitions department of a library is being able to see nearly all the new materials that are going to be added to the collection and actually having a hand in searching for them and making sure they are ordered and paid for in a timely manner. And then getting to check them out as long as no one else has already requested them. My latest find is not a brand new book, though it is new to me, Agatha Christie at Home, which is edited by Hilary Macaskill and published by Frances Lincoln Publishers. I believe it was released at about the same time Agatha Christie's residence in Devon, Greenaway, was renovated and opened to the public as part of the National Trust. Christie and her second husband bought the 15th century estate in 1938 and it served as a summer home for the couple.
Agatha Christie was born in Torquay, and had connections with Devonshire her entire life. Apparently Devon was often a setting in her mystery novels. Later in life Greenaway was where she would retire after a book was written. It was her reward where she could relax according to her grandson, Mathew Prichard. In his foreword to the book he writes:
"Now that the book was finished, she could sit in her boathouse with her grandson and watch the tourist boats go by; she could enjoy picnics on Dartmoor; she could swim in the sea or even occasionally in the river Dart; she could eat lashings of Devonshire cream!"
This is a lavishly illustrated book with lots of text. It not only shows Greenaway but the surrounding countryside and towns that would have been familiar to Christie. There are also a smattering of photos of Christie throughout her life. Hopefully I won't be stepping on any toes, but I thought I'd give a little peek inside the pages of this book.
This is Greenaway overlooking the village of Torbay. Quite nicely situated, don't you think?
Apparently Agatha Christie trained as a concert pianist, though she never publicly performed. You can see her Steinway in the Drawing Room at Greenaway. And below is Agatha learning to dance. She is in the middle.
Doesn't that look like a nice, cushy sofa that you could happily sink into to read a book? This is the library at Greenaway. I'd love to read the titles on the spines of the books. I imagine all of Agatha's books are there.
I love this photo. The caption reads "Agatha at Winterbrook. Though she usually employed a cook, she closely supervised menus and, at Greenaway, would insist on making the mayonnaise herself."
Okay, so Greenaway is a really gorgeous estate, but I think almost like this little boathouse even more. It has a balcony and arched windows that overlook the river Dart. It looks like a perfect little hideaway.
Now that I've browsed all the photos I'm off to start reading the text. I wouldn't mind owning this one, so it might just end up in one of my future book orders. And it reminds me I really need to get back to Tommy and Tuppence.