“A wonderfully atmospheric, beautifully written and entirely credible evocation of wartime Britain.” — Ann Cleeves, internationally bestselling author

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“A mystery Mrs. Christie would have approved of.” — Jane Simons, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY

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Bridget Kelly would prefer to stay in London to complete her nursing training and aid the injured, but her matron has other plans for her. As World War II rages, children are being sent away for their safety, and Bridget (or Bridey, as she becomes known to the children) is sent off to tend to a group of young evacuees. She is determined to do well in this role and prove herself to her matron. She just hopes Gigi, the other nurse, doesn’t realize that she isn’t actually a full nurse yet.

The evacuation takes them to the beautiful Greenway, an estate shrouded in intrigue and containing shelves of murder mysteries. The home turns out to be that of the famed author Agatha Christie, who has currently relocated with her archeologist husband.

The Queen of Mystery may be away for now, but in Lori Rader-Day’s Death at Greenway (William Morrow), mystery itself has stayed behind. Jars of preserves are going missing, one of the little girls has spotted a mysterious figure from the window in the middle of the night, and the body of a young man who was on the same train as Bridey and her evacuees has turned up nearby. Is Greenway really all that safe?

FICTION BEAUTIFULLY LACED WITH FACT

Fans of Agatha Christie are going to want to add this to their list of books to read. Rader-Day is clearly a fan herself, adding nice touches from the author’s real life. Christie connoisseurs can get excited about the fun little easter eggs awaiting them. Personally, a grin spread widely across my face when a piano made its appearance at Greenway, as Agatha was fond of playing and originally had goals to be a pianist. 

Rader-Day also did her due diligence in terms of research. An Author’s Note outlines the process she went through in creating the project, revealing which details were true (and thus served as an underlying inspiration) and where her imagination had to take over. A very real evacuation and the names of people who did, indeed, stay at Greenway during the war meld into a conceptualization of what mysterious happenings might have been experienced while the evacuees were sheltered there.

RADER-DAY PAYS HOMAGE TO CHRISTIE IN A STYLE ALL HER OWN

The marriage of fact and imagination is amply supported by quality writing. Rader-Day writes in an engaging way that makes you feel as if you know the characters, even as each new revelation proves to us that we didn’t know them quite as well as we thought we did. She embarks on an exploration of character and an unveiling of circumstances that Christie herself would have been proud to create.

That said, the work embraces Christie without imitating Christie. Rader-Day could quite easily have fallen into the trap of trying to mimic the Queen of Mystery’s style of writing, but the story doesn’t read like a Christie novel. Rader-Day has done a superb job in paying homage to the great writer without losing her own identity.

The reader, however, is sure to get enjoyably lost in the story.


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Photo by Justin Barbin Photography

Lori Rader-Day is the Edgar® Award-nominated and Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of Death at GreenwayThe Lucky OneUnder a Dark SkyThe Day I DiedLittle Pretty Things and The Black Hour. She lives in Chicago, where she is co-chair of the mystery readers’ conference Murder and Mayhem in Chicago and the immediate past national president of Sisters in Crime.