Cover Image: Death at Greenway

Death at Greenway

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No question about it: suspense author Lori Rader-Day's foray into historical fiction paid off. This atmospheric story of nurses Bridey and Gigi in WWII Britain and their time working at Agatha Christie's summer home -- to which a number of London children have been evacuated -- blends history with espionage, mystery, and murder in a way that echoes Christie's stellar work. With captivating characters and a setting that's expertly drawn, Rader-Day does a brilliant job of blending fiction with real-world events and plunging readers into the past. A must-read for Agatha Christie devotees and historical mystery fans.

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This hauntingly written novel is strong on atmosphere but less great on comprehensibility. There are many allusions which sort of get addressed by the end. The mood is well done -- drifting, dark, secretive, sad, and yearning.

Bridget Kelly is a nurse in training in WWII London. She lost her entire family to a bomb and is haunted and emotionally crippled by the memory and the loss, which she shares with no one. One of her patients dies and she is blamed and is sent to the country to help care for a group of children evacuated from the city.

It happens that the country estate belongs to Agatha Christie and her husband Max Mallowan. They are not a major presence in the story. Bridget, known as Bridey, is there with another nurse, Gigi and a husband-wife team of supervisors. The description of the wartime trials of everyday life is well-done.

It seems most everyone at the estate has their own secret to hide and isn't who they seem to be -- certainly Gigi does. A dead body washes up that has some link to the nurses. And then Gigi disappears.

Strong psychological thriller mood, with a drifting plot. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Not what I expected after reading the book description. I must say the way this book is described/advertised is a bit misleading. Yes, there are secrets and murder, but they seem to be secondary to the plot instead of leading the parade.
Bridey Kelly is a probationary nurse who gets in trouble and is sent away from the hospital where she is training to Agatha Christie's home, Greenway to care for evacuated children from London during the Blitz. Christie herself only appears twice in the book, speaking a couple of words only once, she is a shadow figure and not involved in the plot or even any of the many subplots in the book.
Bridey and another "nurse", Gigi, are the main focus of the storyline, with Bridey taking the lead role. Both have secrets they are hiding, but the book focuses more on the war and the consequences of war than on any great mystery. Yes, two bodies do appear, yes, almost every character, even secondary ones seem to have some kind of secret they are hiding, but there is no great focus on the murders or mysteries.
Told by several different POV's the story was sometimes confusing. I kept waiting and waiting for this great thrilling mystery to develop but it never quite got there. The most exciting part was when Bridey suspects the town Doc of having sticky fingers!
Sorry, though well researched and many of the characters are based on real people, this novel just does not deliver on the thriller/mystery objective, more a basic historical fiction novel about the London Blitz, the evacuated children and the effect of war on them all.
I don't really know how to rate this one. The writing is good, the characters are very well developed, the story just does not meet its mark as far as what it was intended to be. That being said, it is not a bad story, just not the Agatha Christie type mystery you are lead to believe you are going to read. I will give 3 stars, letting everyone decide for yourselves. It is a nice story, but only that.
Thank you to William Morrow Publishing and to Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.

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I didn't realize this book was inspired by true events and that children really were evacuated to Agatha Christie's holiday home during World War II. The author's note at the end of the story does a great job of explaining the background behind this book. In Rader-Day's novel, I love the character of Bridey, one of the nurses who is put in charge of the children. I like the friendship she forms with Gigi, the other nurse, who she teams up with to solve a murder in the home of the world-famous author of murder mysteries. The middle part of the book moves slower than I would have likes, but things start to pick up and I thought the ending was wonderful. I would rate the book 3.5/4 stars and think it's an enjoyable book for historical fiction fans.

Thank you to NetGalley, William Morrow Books, and Scene of the Crime early reads for providing an advance copy of this ebook. The book was provided to me at no cost, but my review is voluntary and unbiased.

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I was super excited to read Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day. It has history, nursing, and suspense all wrapped up into one book. Bridey comes to Greenway to help take care of children and keep them safe during the war. As they board the train to Greenway with the children, Bridey meets her new nursing partner, Gigi. Everything is so new and different to Bridey, but everything seems off. The house, the family, Gigi, and the town itself.
Unfortunately, Death at Greenway wasn't for me. I just couldn't get into it. I read nearly 50% of the book before deciding I was giving up on it. The story for me was too slow. I couldn't keep the characters straight, aside from Bridey and Gigi.
Special thanks to NetGalley, Lori Rader-Day, and William Morrow and Custom House Publishing for the advanced digital copy in exchange for my honest opinion. 3 stars
#DeathatGreenway #NetGalley

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Really good atmospheric WWII mystery that takes place at Agatha Christie’s house that housed evacuated children during the war. Two nurses, but are they really nurses, an addled woman and all sorts of mysterious characters with something to hide.

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A vivid, character-driven historical thriller that brings Greenway, Agatha Christie's holiday home alive during a tumultuous period. Highly recommend.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this title.
There are two plot threads winding through this story. One involves Bridget, a disgraced nurse trainee. Bridget is sent to care for evacuated children at Agatha Christie's summer home, Greenway.
The other involves mysterious strangers, a murder and doctor who has a secret.
The two threads are linked by GiGi, the other "nurse" caring for the children.
I have mixed feelings about the book. While the plight of the children rings true, the mystery proved to be unclear and weak. It seems that once the Greenway setting was chosen, the author felt obligated to create a Christie-like mystery.

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Death at Greenway may have it's foundations in factual events, but the story is an absolute mess. It seems like many authors who draw inspiration from Agatha Christie either in her real life or her writing style don't understand the brilliance in the simplicity of what she did. This is the case in this book, where Rader-Day tries to work in so many different storylines and mysteries that all she gives the reader a headache instead of a desire to keep turning pages. Bridey ends up as a children's nurse for kids removed from London at the estate of Agatha Christie. With her is another Bridget Kelly who doesn't seem the slightest bit qualified for the job. Then things get stolen from Greenway. Healthier older people in the village end up dead. People Bridey met on the train to Greenway show up milling around the village. A man is found drowned near Greenway. Are you keeping up? If you are, good for you, because the story, while mostly told by Bridey, occasionally veers off and is periodically told by other characters, which does absolutely nothing to improve the cohesiveness of the story. I wish I could find something redeeming about this book but I was really just grateful that I finished it.

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Agatha Christie and her life have always fascinated me so when I heard about at Death at Greenway, I was excited to read it. Unfortunately, I cannot say I am excited about having read the book. It took too long for the story to develop and ended unsatisfactorily in my mind. Very disappointed with this book which is so unusual for a book by Lori Rader-Day.

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Rader-Day has taken a bit of historical trivia - Agatha Christie's home housed a group of evacuees, children removed from London (and their parents) and given shelter in the countryside, here tended by two nurses who aren't exactly what they purport to be. One, Bridey, has been dismissed during her training because she took unauthorized action for a patient. The other, Gigi, is a tantalizing mystery. Who is this woman? She certainly isn't a nurse.

Agatha Christie herself makes only a cameo appearance in the book, which is an in-depth historical novel with a bit of mystery to it. Yes, there's a murder, and yes, Bridey wants to find out what actually happened. The pacing, however, is more languorous than suspenseful, while Rader-Day develops her characters and deepens the depiction of a particular time and place. It's an interesting departure for the author, who has clearly immersed herself in the moment and in the emotional life of woman traumatized by losing her family in a bombing and doing her best not to feel too much. And not really succeeding, since Rader-Day definitely probes here characters' emotional lives.

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Some years after her "disappearance", Agatha Christie divorced her first husband and remarried Max Mallowen during which time the couple took possession of the Greenway, a holiday home near the Dart River in South Devon. This fascinating historical fact serves as a frame for a story set during the London blitz when the Greenway was let to a couple who cared for ten evacuated children under the age of six. Bridget (Bridey) Kelly is assigned as a nurse to help her employers, the Arbuthnots care for the young "vacs". However, all is not as it seems. For starters, Bridey has not fully completed her nurse's training and only takes the assignment to redeem her shaky reputation. As the evacuees embark for their destination another "nurse" appears at the station professing to also be named Bridget Kelly but prefers to be called 'Gigi'. Thus begins the intertwined stories of two women who are catapulted into a series of events set in the area around Devon that soon will figure in plans for the Allied invasion. This complex, character driven story successfully keeps the reader in suspense for the full length of the novel. Most of the story is told from the point of view of the redoubtable Bridey whose complicated relationship with the secretive Gigi is revealed through conversations with other occupants at the Greenway. Rader-Day's meticulous research even draws on primary source material from Doreen one of the young vacs whose account lends credibility to the story. Other fascinating details include information about Mass Observation (Mass Ob) that served as a shadowy information gathering system to gauge public opinion during (and after) the war. This is not a traditional mystery story but more a work of historical fiction with suspense elements, complex characters and plot twists. Although I began Death at the Greenway with a wonderfully narrated audio edition I actually switched to the ebook because the narration moved so quickly I feared I was missing a number of important plot elements . Kudos to the author who rivals Elizabeth George in capturing an authentic British sound, no small feat for an American author. It may have helped that Ann Cleeves among others was willing to review Rader-Day's manuscript. Highly recommended.

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I really enjoyed this work of historical fiction that also has a mystery. Bridey's character gives the novel the depth and realism that make it a great read. I listened to the audio book (thanks Libro.fm!) and also read a good deal of it. The audio book is well done with authentic narration. The points of view shift in the novel but the majority is told from Bridey's point of view. Although some readers may find the mystery to be disappointing - the novel is more historical in nature than thriller - I found the mystery to be an interesting plot point that tied stories together. There are many unforgettable and unique characters in the novel, most of whom are minor, but who help to capture a period of history with their stories.

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This book was a slow start for me, but I ended up loving it. The story is based on a true event: the author Agatha Christie's south Devon estate being opened to evacuees during the Second World War. The novel revolves around Bridget Kelly, a probationer nurse who is sent with another nurse to care for the children evacuated to Greenways. The book evokes the wartime atmosphere, with its deprivations, bravery, suspicions, and paranoia, and as the plot advances, the reader begins to realize that almost no one is what they seem. Alternating chapters from the points of view of nurse Bridget (Bridey), Doreen, a child evacuee, Joan, the woman overseeing the evacuation, and the Scaldwells, the couple who serve as butler and housekeeper at Greenways, keep the story fresh and the reader guessing. Agatha Christie herself appears as a minor character in the novel. The backstories and traumas of each character come to light as the story progresses and the pressures of multiple disappearances and unexplained deaths strip away the surface each one presents to the world. The author's research into the real events and people connected with the evacuees' residence at Greenways brings the story to life. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this novel.

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The year, 1941. Hitler has expanded his war on London. Air raids are occurring daily, destroying homes and businesses; taking loved ones. Parents are unable to care for their children, due to mandatory civic duty. Who will take care of the children?

Bridey Kelly wants to be a nurse, and has begun her training. Yet, when she oversteps her duties, her supervisor encourages another assignment: assistance with healthy evacuee children. Desperate to return to her training, she does not correct the assumption of being a certified nurse.

Mrs. Arbuthnot is determined to save England by “molding children into proper British citizens”. However, she has to ensure their safety first. Therefore, when she has the ability to evacuate ten children to the secluded home of Agatha Christie, arrangements are made.

In "Death at Greenway", Lori Rader-Day brings the true story of Agatha Christie opening her home to evacuee children to life in this historical fiction. Mixing truth, imagination, and a little mystery to chronicle the “simple” people, this novel is history with a twist of “Clue”.

With little to no profanity, sexual content, or spelling and grammatical errors, Lori is an exquisite writer. However, the tale is filled with lots of dialogue and not enough intrigue. This led to a slow-moving plot, and a struggle to finish. None the less, a rating of 4 out of 5 stars is awarded.

All in all, "Death at Greenway" is a well-written and researched book with a slight unexpected curve. Recommended for those interested in the untold stories of World War II, the account of what happened in Greenway with astonish you.

Thank you to #NetGalley, #SceneOfTheCrime, and #WilliamMorrow for the free advanced reading copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Damn it. This started out so well. But damn it crashed and burned


I didnt find this to be a mystery but historical fiction/literay. It focused much more on the war and the characters' lives in it than the murders.

Yes, characters had mysterious backgrounds and mysterious secrets. But they were mostly political and/or more human flaws rather than anything that revolves around creating suspense the murder.

Even within the genre of historical fiction/literary (and to be fair I'm not a reader of these genres) it meandered like a scenic dream through the mountains. And while I love a scenic drive through the mountains, I don't need it in a book that is supposed to be suspenseful.

The time jumps were jarring and often at times where suspense could have been built. It was like the time jump caused more meandering, somehow.

The narrator wasn't bad. She was good. The problem was that there are so many characters that she couldn't modulate enough for them.

The book did change POVs each chapter (though most were from Brighty's point of view). But either you need a cast or a narrator that could've handled more modulation for thr different characters

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Lori Rader-Day’s Death at Greenway shouldn’t be categorized as a murder mystery; its true nature is more akin to an historical novel focusing on the caretakers of a group of young children who have been evacuated from London during World War II. The murders are downplayed and the emphasis is placed on the lives of two nurses who have been hired to care for the “‘vacs.” The author researched her subject meticulously and included several characters who are based on real people.

Most of the story takes place at Greenway House in Devon, England, which had been one of the homes owned by Agatha Christie. The evacuees have been brought to Greenway from London to escape the German Blitz. Unfortunately, Christie’s home isn’t far from the English Channel, which means that the vacs and their caretakers haven’t totally eluded the bombings. The war isn’t the only problem as murders have started to occur in the village as well. One of the nurses hired to watch over the vacs, Bridget Kelly, decides to delve into the mysterious deaths and attempts to discover who is behind them.

While far from being an “Agatha Christie mystery,” the author has imbued this novel with a sense of Christie’s spirit. The author faithfully captures the quaint English village populated with townsfolk who distrust outsiders, and characters who repress their feelings while being dutiful citizens. Though much of the novel takes place at Christie’s estate, the "Duchess of Death" only makes a few cameo appearances. This isn’t about Christie, it’s about Bridget Kelly and how caring for her vacs and developing new friendships, has changed her life. It’s about a woman who has been so traumatized by war and death that she has closed off all feelings towards humanity. How she rediscovers how to love again against the backdrop of the horrors of war, is a journey that will reward most readers.

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Impeccably researched, this book made Greenway and its land feel like a character. Lori Rader-Day did a great job staying true to historical details and characters. At times I felt the story was disjointed and wasn’t sure that the mystery was all that mysterious, however, I would definitely recommend this for historical mystery fans and lovers of Agatha Christie.

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This novel takes you to WWII London and the home of Agatha Christie where the setting and murder takes center stage. The author knows how to tell a story that places you in the middle of all the action with visually descriptive narrative, engaging dialogue, and its suspenseful nature. Secrets abound within the house and the characters which led to the path to figuring out who was doing what to whom. Multiple plot twists enhanced how well this story was being told and kept me intrigued throughout. The writing shines through in this drama and I applaud the author for what was accomplished in the telling of this tale.

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"Death at Greenway," the latest mystery from award-winning author Lori Rader-Day is set at Greenway House, Agatha Christie’s summer home on the River Dart. In the early years of World War II, ten children, two nurses, and the couple who rented the house arrive to enjoy the relative safety of the English countryside. Everyone struggles to adjust to their new environment, while also keeping their own secrets. When a body is discovered in the River Dart, the beautiful estate setting becomes host to a deadly mystery.
Bridget Kelly has been dismissed from St. Prisca’s Hospital in London nurse’s training after a tragic error, but was given a chance for redemption and reinstatement – caring for these ten evacuated children. When the expected help from the second nurse, Gigi, is not forthcoming, Bridget is forced to carry a much heavier load than expected – a load that is magnified when she discovers a man has been murdered, and the killer is still in the area.
Greenway House is its own mystery – rooms that are off-limits, a less than welcoming staff, and a library overflowing with books about murder. And why, if they were evacuated from London for safety, are they so close to the English Channel? But the biggest mystery of all may be Gigi, who disappears at the most inconvenient times and is much more interest in listening to people around the estate and the nearby town than in caring for children.
The realistic portrayal of life in England early in World War II, the tensions between townies and ‘vacs,’ the credible portrayal of flawed but determined Bridget Kelly’s dedication, and the unexpected plot twists make "Death at Greenway" a must read for any Agatha Christie fan.

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