Guest Author - Siobhain M Cullen
The life of Agatha Christie, and the many fun new publications of stories and games associated with it, continue to intrigue. There are now even Wii Agatha Christie games where Grandma can share her enthusiasm for murder mystery clue solving Wii games while bonding with the kids! And why not encourage older children to read a little more into the literature itself, perhaps starting them off with some mysteries in a nutshell - the short stories?
The inspiration for Agatha Christie's short stories and novels must have been nurtured by her little secret sanctuary. Christie's holiday house in the beautiful and mysterious West Country region of England opened its doors to reveal its mysteries to fans last Saturday. Now owned by England's National Trust, the much-beloved idyllic riverside retreat hidden away among the woods was Agatha's favorite spot and an inspiration for many of her short stories and novels and plays.
Agatha Christie grew up in nearby Torquay and often admired the dreamy house from afar. She made up her mind to buy it, if ever she could. This dream the stalwart lady novelist achieved in 1938. The house, with its secret dappled paths through the snowdrops and bluebells down to the bubbling, bouldered River Dart was given to the National Trust in 2000 and the delights of the 278 acre grounds were opened to the public to enjoy.
On the deaths of the family owners in 2005, the National Trust aimed to makeover the writers residence, not to period glory, but to the vintage 1950s interiors that would have been familiar to Agatha and her cronies in her heyday. Rooms that avid Miss Marple fans may find intriguing are the The Drawing Room where Agatha would 'try out' her 'whodunnit' short stories and novels on her family. A period fierplace, ornate mirrors, a bowl of flowers - and settees arranged in front of the french-windows as if ready for a conspiratorial tete-a-tete conjure the after-dinner whodunnit game atmosphere. Another elegant room will make peaceful landscape lovers envious as Agatha's bedroom has a glorious view of the glittering River Dart.
It will not surprise other wannabe mystery or short story writers to know that The Dining Room is in fact laid out as a publishing room! Here will be displayed the plethora of mysteries, short stories, novels and plays Agatha Christie amassed during a lifetimes writing work.
Even arriving at Greenway House will be different. In keeping with Devon's decision to encourage eco-friendly living among its residents and visitors, tourists will enjoy admission cost incentives for arriving in 'green transport' ways. There is no doubt that sailing down the wide and wonderful River Dart on one of the chugging little pleasure steamers is one of the most magical approaches to the mystery house.
As the river winds towards the place where it becomes tidal and salty, a cheeky seal can sometimes be seen, along with exotic bird visitors such as little egrets. More familiar are the wizened-looking herons and the royal white swan which sometimes sails through the air alongside the boat, flapping its majestic wings in a silent slow rhythm. After a short, hushed trip, the little ferry arrives at Agatha's jetty below the wild woods and house.
If this is the silence and solitude she enjoyed here, it is little wonder that her short stories and novels poured out. The inspiration and output can only have been encouraged by such a hallowed haven of natural beauty and tranquility.
Recommended Gifts For Any Agatha Christie fans among friends and family:
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories
The Underdog: And Other Stories (Hercule Poirot)
Masterpieces In Miniature: Stories: The Detectives
And last but not least, two more unusual ones - (particularly apt, given the location of her holdiay home!) :
Death By Drowning: Stories (Audiobook).
And how about introducing the delights of the Agatha Christie murder mystery to the younger members of the family? Perhaps older children may be encouraged to read more of her short scary stories if they enjoy playing on the Nintend/Wii with a game both they AND the grandparents/relations enjoy? Evil Under The Sun reviews seem to be fun!
Evil Under The Sun Game (Murder Mystery Game Challenge With clues to solve.)