Agatha Christie Wiki

Greenway is an estate on the River Dart near Galmpton in Devon, England. It was first mentioned in 1493 as "Greynway", the crossing point of the Dart to Dittisham. In the late 16th century a Tudor style architecture mansion called Greenway Court was built by the Gilbert family. Greenway was the birthplace of Humphrey Gilbert. The present Georgian architecture house was probably built in the late 18th century by Roope Harris Roope and extended by subsequent owners.

Greenway was bought by Agatha Christie and her husband Max Mallowan in 1938. The house was occupied by Christie and Mallowan until their deaths in 1976 and 1978 respectively, and featured, under various guises, in several of Christie's novels. Christie's daughter Rosalind Hicks and her husband Anthony lived in the house from 1968, until Rosalind's death in 2004.

The Greenway Estate was acquired by the National Trust in 1999 and it is now a Grade II* listed building. The house and garden is open to the public, as is the Barn Gallery. The large riverside gardens contain plants from the southern hemisphere, whilst the Barn Gallery shows work by contemporary local artists.

Frieze in the Greenway Library[]

During World War Two, Greenway was requisitioned by the Admiralty and from 1943 it served as billets for US military personnel who had assembled on the south coast of Britain in preparation for D-Day. Most of the rooms in Greenway were used as bedrooms but the library was used as a recreation area. One of the occupants of Greenway was Lieutenant Marshall Lincoln Lee of the US Coast Guard. A commercial artist and illustrator in civilian life, Lee painted a frieze on the walls of the library depicting the exploits of the ship he was in command of. There are, for example, depictions of the ship in action at Bizerte, Tunisia and Salerno, Italy. There is also a picture of the ship on the River Dart with Greenway in the background. After the war, the Admiralty offered to paint the frieze over but Agatha Christie wanted to keep it as it was a part of history.[1][2]

Agatha Christie at Greenway[]

During Christie's time, Greenway was maintained mainly as a home for the summer holidays, and from the early days, it became known for its hospitality and house parties, with Christie often inviting her friends such as Peter Saunders to spend some time there. Most of her writing work was done in London or in Iraq while out there with Max on an expedition. However Christie also did some writing at Greenway. In 1950, for example, she asked Edmund Cork, her agent, to send some typewriting paper to Greenway because she wanted to work.[3] Later, she is thought to have worked on A Pocket Full of Rye and Destination Unknown, probably dictating them on a dictaphone.[4] In later years, there was little actual writing but house guests fondly remembered the reading parties where Agatha Christie would read some chapters from her works after dinner.

Inspiration for Agatha Christie's works[]

Agatha Christie frequently used places familiar to her as settings for her plots. Greenway Estate and its surroundings in their entirety or in parts are described in the following novels

The main house, the foot path leading from the main house to the battery overlooking the river Dart and the battery itself (where the murder occurs) are described in detail since the movements of the novel's protagonist at these locations are integral to the plot and the denouement of the murderer.

The location of the estate opposite the village of Dittisham, divided from each other by the river Dart, plays an important part for the alibi and a nightly swim of one of the suspects.

The boat house of Greenway Estate is described as the spot where the first victim is discovered, and the nearby ferry landing serves as the place where the second real murder victim is dragged into the water for death by drowning. Other places described are the greenhouse and the tennis court, where Mrs. Oliver placed real clues and red herrings for the "murder hunt". The lodge of Greenway Estate serves as the home of Amy Folliat, the former owner of Nasse House.

Filming Location[]

During the summer of 2013 Greenway served as the filming location for the final episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot to be filmed, Dead Man's Folly.


  1. - See here for a biography of Lee and the background to the frieze.
  2. Janet Gleeson. "Inside Agatha Christie's holiday home." Homes &, 5 Dec 2022. URL
  3. Hilary Macaskill, Agatha Christie at Home (London: Frances Lincoln, 2009), 106.
  4. Richard Hack, Duchess of Death (Beverley Hills: Phoenix, 2009). 186.