I came to this novel, knowing nothing other than I knew it was not on any of the lists of Christie books that I have. This is because this version of the story is in fact more than 60 years old and has never been published.
Many will know it as Dead Mans Folly and recognise Greenshore as Greenshaw from a Miss Marple short story. But this is where it all began.
Poirot is summoned by the wonderful apple eating eccentric author Ariadne Oliver to Greenshore. She is there to arrange a murder mystery event for the local fete but there is something which she cannot put her finger on. Something does not feel right and it seems that something is going on. Trouble is she is unaware what. Poirot arrives and he is at once included in the preparations of the fete and he can somehow, observe and listen in the only way he can and suddenly it all becomes clear.
This particular edition which includes this short story, has three other essays if you will. You cannot fail to notice the artwork for this and the artist, Tom Adams talks about his time in designing covers for the paperback Christie novels and where he got his inspiration from.
Secondly, Matthew Prichard, Christie’s grandson talks about Greenway, the Christie holiday home in Devon, where Greenshore Folly was based on and as it developed into Dead Man’s Folly. Just for a few pages and lines, we are given a glimpse into the world of the prolific writer and best-selling novelist.
Finally, John Curran who has written a number of books about Christie, in conjunction with the Christie estate and with permission of Prichard unpicks the plotting of this novella and the final novel to see how it all comes together.
A book for all Christie Fans without a doubt and one to keep on the bookshelf.
If you are a fairly regular reader of this blog you may well have seen my Books About Town post which is where I first stumbled across this book. Of course the bench is the artwork of the front of this novel and was wonderfully created. It is where from seeing that bench that my mum and I had to track down the book. Don’t buy this book on kindle, you need a hard copy to hold and shelve.
I must mention that if you have read Dead Man’s Folly then you will recognise quite strongly this novel. I have only seen the TV version, which was one of the last four that David Suchet filmed before the curtain closed on these wonderful adaptations. I could not quite remember the outcome but knew there was a dead brownie in it somewhere! I will have to now read the full length novel to see how much more the story is fleshed out.
As for the artwork, if you have time and the desire Google “Tom Adams Illustrator Agatha Christie” and look at some of the covers that come up. There are some that I recognise from my mum’s bookshelf – who knew that all these years later we would have another book on the shelf by the same artist? I am wondering if this is such a success that perhaps some reissues are in the pipeline?
Now I have read the novella, seen the programme. I need at some point to go and visit Greenway and soak up some of the Christie magic once more.