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Agatha Christie at Home Hardcover – September 22, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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The top best-selling author of all time (rivaling Shakespeare), Agatha Christie (1890-1976) had as many as eight homes at one time. Some were in London, and one was in Baghdad. Her favorite however--the one she felt was her true home for her and her husband, gave her the most inspiration, and is most associated with her mysteries--was Greenway in the county of Devon. A series of previous homes beginning with her childhood home and including rentals and changing homes as her career grew leads up to the stately Greenway. Though not a grand English estate which Christie could have lived in, Greenway was a small mansion. The presence of servants seemed natural; and Christie furnished and decorated the home with all types of Victorian objects. Her sensibility was always more Victorian than modern. She called one modernist building where she rented an apartment at one time "an ocean liner."

Though Greenway was the center of Christie's life, sensibilities, and ideas for her mysteries, this was so because it was situated in the midst of a traditionally English country environment (which to a large degree survives today). The book is organized so circles of this are seen as both extending from and enclosing Greenway. Each circle of the larger surrounding environment--town, county, parish--is perused as if enriching the atmosphere of Greenway--thus casting a light into the sources of Christie's works and her particular creativity.

In citing physical features such as rivers and hills and man-made parts such as shops and roads in delving into the widening circles of town, etc., Macaskill notes these as they appeared in different Christie mysteries. Even when names or some details have been changed for the sake of fictionalizing them, they are nonetheless apparent; for despite her bottomless imagination and numerous mystery novels, Christie never did stray far from the ideas and materials she found at Greenway and its environs.

The color photographs on nearly every page (80 of the total of 110 photos) are pleasing photos of Devon known for its Mediterranean-like climate. That they are connected with the popular author Agatha Christie adds immeasurable interest to them however. Devotees of her mysteries will enjoy matching photos to aspects of the books with author Macaskill's help as a guide. Readers interested in literature and writing find a window onto the connection between biography--and with Christie particularly, place--and an author's books. The photographs range from panoramas to nature scenes to shops and train depots and such to interiors of Greenway, now a public site under the direction of England's National Trust. Publishers Bookshelf

This [book] will have special appeal not only to Christie fans but also to gardeners. The author is a journalist and travel writer. This book offers rare insight into the private world of Christie (1890-1976) and the places she loved the most. Long after her death, she remains one of the best selling authors.

In this remarkable book, the author presents the story of each property and the role it played in Christie’s life. She also chronicles the books and other works that Christie completed in those places. Throughout this title, Macaskill points out special locations that were featured in the books.

This book allows readers to learn all about the daily life in these houses. The author presents details on all aspects of the households, including the servants and staff. The author explains how Christie took a hands-on approach to her homes, gardens, and households. Throughout the book, readers can see how these contributions of Christie can still be seen today.

This book follows the history of Greenway after Christie’s death. In 2000 Christie’s heirs donated it to the National Trust, which began an extensive restoration. Now the property is open to the public and has already become a popular destination. From Bella on Line

About the Author

Hilary Macaskill is a journalist and travel writer. She was formerly a publisher, a publicity manager for publishing companies and a lecturer in journalism at City University. She lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln; First Edition edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711230293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711230293
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.8 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James D. Hobbs on September 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It has been a great pleasure to read "Agatha Christie at Home" by Hilary Macaskill. Many books focus on Agatha's writings, but very few that tell us how she lived. Ms. Macaskill gives us a different Agatha Clarissa Miller than we're used to. We see Agatha not as an author, but the lover of homes, comfort, her country, and her family. Ms. Macaskill accomplishes this with great success! Ms. Macaskill received invaluable assistance from Agatha's grandson, Mathew Prichard, and she interviewed others who knew Agatha and her family.

The book is organized in a logical manner, first starting with an overview of Agatha's life and career. Ms. Macaskill's research is thorough and she presents us new information. She reveals such facts as Agatha making her own mayonnaise and how she planned her next book's plot. However, this is not a biography--it is a tour of Agatha's homes and of the country that she loved so much.

The author takes us on a journey through Agatha's various residences and their influence on her. We visit twelve homes (before WWII, she owned eight of them!), plus a few more whilst she lived in the Middle East. With careful detail, we learn about her love of houses--from her doll houses of her childhood to her favorite--Greenway on the River Dart in Devon. Agatha had always loved houses we learn; says she: "I have gone over innumerable houses, furnished houses, decorated houses, made structural alterations to houses. Houses! God bless houses!"

The main focus of the book, however, is how her homes and the home county of Devon affected her as a person as well as a mystery writer. There is a direct tie between her homes and the settings of her books.
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Format: Hardcover
Agatha Christie at Home by Hilary Macaskell
Frances Lincoln, Publisher
ISBN 978-0-7112-3029-3

I was expecting a coffee table book but what I got instead was a lovely companion to her writings. By her, I refer to Agatha Christie who, along with Shakespeare, is the best selling fiction writer of all times. The book chronicles her life from childhood until her death in 1976. It is an enjoyable excursion through some of her homes and into the beautiful country side where she grew up and spent her leisure time as an accomplished writer.

The publication focuses on the importance of dwellings to the private Agatha Christie who owned eight houses, all of which were used as settings for her work.
This is not a biography of a celebrity author. It is instead a "documentary" about where this author lived and the influences these locations had upon her writings. Of all of her properties, Greenway was the most important home, purchased in 1938 on 300 acres in Devon, on the southwest coast of England. In the early years of ownership, it was her primary residence and later became her summer refuge, a place to enjoy with family and friends
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Essentially, this book demonstrates how personal place played a paramount role in the life and writing of this famous mystery author. Beyond her love of her homes, there are links between her home county and her works. The villages, homes and the people who inhabited them supplied plots and backdrops for her stories. Furthermore, we learn that the ingenious plotting of her mysteries was the result of her love of mathematics and problem solving.
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Format: Hardcover
AGATHA CHRISTIE AT HOME by Hilary Macaskill. Frances Lincoln Limited, London; [...]. 2009. 144 pages. $40.00 hardcover, 10" x 10", ISBN 978-0-7112-3029-3. color/black-and-white photographs, bibliography, index.

The top best-selling author of all time (rivaling Shakespeare), Agatha Christie (1890-1976) had as many as eight homes at one time. Some were in London, and one was in Baghdad. Her favorite however--the one she felt was her true home for her and her husband, gave her the most inspiration, and is most associated with her mysteries--was Greenway in the county of Devon. A series of previous homes beginning with her childhood home and including rentals and changing homes as her career grew leads up to the stately Greenway. Though not a grand English estate which Christie could have lived in, Greenway was a small mansion. The presence of servants seemed natural; and Christie furnished and decorated the home with all types of Victorian objects. Her sensibility was always more Victorian than modern. She called one modernist building where she rented an apartment at one time "an ocean liner."

Though Greenway was the center of Christie's life, sensibilities, and ideas for her mysteries, this was so because it was situated in the midst of a traditionally English country environment (which to a large degree survives today). The book is organized so circles of this are seen as both extending from and enclosing Greenway. Each circle of the larger surrounding environment--town, county, parish--is perused as if enriching the atmosphere of Greenway--thus casting a light into the sources of Christie's works and her particular creativity.
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