Cover Image: Death at Greenway

Death at Greenway

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Member Reviews

What a fresh take on a WWII historical fiction novel! I loved the air of mystery around the children's safe place, and the fact that it was Agetha Christies home made it even more mysterious and fun.  I throughoughly enjoied this novel!
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Lori Rader-Day published a number of short pieces of fiction before branching out into novels. Her 2014 first book won an Anthony award and was nominated for a Barry award and a Macavity award. She has since won the Anthony twice more and was nominated for a Barry, an Edgar, and an Agatha.
Her latest book Death at Greenway will be released 12 October 2021 by William Morrow. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, and I know why: it’s a wonderful book. The publisher’s blurb is not accurate, however, and the story may not find its proper audience easily. Perhaps it could be called a thriller, suspense, definitely; a mystery, not at all. There are murders and thefts and missing people; they add to the apprehension and heighten the anxiety of the people involved, but the resolutions of these crimes, which is integral to a mystery, are not the focus of the story.

The book opens in 1941 when England stood alone in the war against Hitler. Mrs. Malcolm Arbuthnot arranged with Mrs. Max Mallowan AKA Agatha Christie to rent her country home Greenway to house evacuee children from London. (Why anyone thought a home on the English Channel was safer than London is a mystery in itself.) Mrs. Arbuthnot’s request for a nurse to care for the children crosses the desk of the matron at St. Pancras around the time that trainee Bridget Kelly made a serious mistake. After a blistering tirade, the matron sends her off to the country with the tentative promise to take her back if she performs well. A second nurse meets them at the train station. She says her name is also Bridget Kelly, so they each take nicknames, Bridey and Gigi.

Gigi’s lack of childcare experience becomes obvious quickly, leaving 10 children under the age of five to Bridey. The Mallowan servants resent the enormous amount of work created by four more adults and ten children in the house, and the tension between them and the evacuees becomes palpable. A month into their stay, a man with bruises on his throat is found in the river. No one recognizes him. The homicide investigation, such as it is, fades into the background of the story, which focuses on Bridey and the people around her as they struggle to survive in a world shifting under their feet.

While not a plot-driven mystery similar to Christie’s, the book does pick up one of Christie’s favorite themes: identity. People were often not who they said they were in Christie’s stories and the same is true here. Bridey told Mrs. Arbuthnot that she is a nurse and is terrified that her lack of credentials will be discovered. Mrs. Arbuthnot was born poor and is trying to solidify her tenuous place in society, while her husband Malcolm can’t seem to decide which Arbuthnots are his family, suggesting that perhaps none of them are. Gigi changes names at the slightest pretext. She persuades Bridey to slip out of the house at night to visit a nearby pub where they tell everyone they are Lorraine and Fiona. And on and on. Even in the last pages name and identity are at issue in a scene that recalls an incident early in the book.

The multiple points of view were somewhat disruptive but I could see that they were used to convey information Bridey couldn’t have known. I liked most the comprehensive immersion into wartime life. The story powerfully conveys the worry and fear of ordinary people, those who sent their sons and daughters off to war while they worked hard and did without at home. It is compelling and often moving. I am interested to learn what UK readers think.

The ending, which reminds me of Mariah Frederick’s most recent mystery, is not what I wanted for Bridey but it’s realistic and understandable. Highly recommended.
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This novel appealed to me because it was a mystery that was connected to Agatha Christie and the Second War War. However, there was very little mystery to this novel. The story itself was very slow moving. Still, I recommend this for fans of WWII novels!
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England, during WWII, children were being evacuated from London into the country.  The Arbuthnots were taking a group of them, along with two nurses, to Greenway, the home of Agatha Christie.  Bridget (Bridey) Kelly was one and the other nurse was also Bridget (Gigi) Kelly.  But it seemed that Gigi knew nothing about nursing nor taking care of children and Bridey  took on most of the responsibility. 
When the murder of a young man took place close to Greenway, it caused Bridey to wonder who Gigi was and why she was there and even if her name was Gigi. The village also had a new doctor and when some older men started to die, the locals wondered if he was responsible.  Bridey also wondered if he was guilty or was there someone else the killer who was hiding in plain site.
A slow unfolding story of suspicion, fear and anger in a small village feeling the attacks of the enemy and with our heroine trying to navigate it all and get to the truth.
Thank you NetGalley and Harper Collins for this e-galley of "Death at Greenway".
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This was more historical fiction/coming of age than suspense/mystery. There were a lot of interesting aspects and it was clearly well-researched, but this was not my favorite by Rader-Day. Looking forward to reading whatever she writes next!
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What a wonderful use of Agatha Christie's life and times!  DEATH AT THE GREENWAY is not only an enticing and richly researched mystery, but a insightful look at the women of the nursing profession in Christie's time. Atmospheric and delightfully tricky: highly recommended.
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I was caught by the description of Agatha Christie’s house and WWII evacuees. It was a  a good catch! I enjoyed this story from start to finish and found myself sinking into the world of Bridey Kelly. It was an excellent story with a bit of mystery that Christie would have been proud of. Highly recommend!
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I would like to thank Net Galley for an advanced copy of this book. This is my honest review. I thought it was mostly a well written book and was a great WWII story that incorporates evacuated children and Agatha Christie. The story flowed nicely for the most part, but I felt there were plot lines that were not fully explored and I felt confused at times with what was going on in the story. The ending was well written and seemed to end the story nicely.
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So this is a 3.5 star that I upped to a 4 star. This is definitely a different book than what I thought it was. I went into it thinking it was a murder suspense, and while there was murder, it definitely played out differently than I was anticipating. This is a blend of real life people and events combined with fictional characterizations. This was a story that I didn’t know at all. A story of Notorious crime novelist Agatha Christie who’s summer getaway of Greenway became a nursery for 10 children forced into limbo as wide swaths of Britain were targeted by German bombing forays. Fearful parents put their children In the care of strangers in the hopes that they would be safer in the isolated parts of the countryside. Our protagonist is Bridget aka Bridey, a nurse in training, who has been put on probation of sorts after an unfortunate mistake. She is not trained as a nurse nanny and to make things worse, the other nurse that accompanies her is also named Bridget, and she is next to no help with the kids. However, circumstances being what they are, both Bridget’s become close. Things become complicated when a body shows up in the river, and then a short time later the unhelpful Bridget disappears without a trace. This is an interesting story in principle. The blending together of the fiction and real events generally worked well, although there was a few times it became a little messy. This is worth reading if for no other reason than to learn about a relatively unknown event in history. Review posted to Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Litsy, LibraryThing, and Amazon.
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I am glad this was my first book of 2022.  The story combines my two favorite genres, historical fiction and mystery.  Bridget believes she made a fatal error as a nurse trainee, and is sent to accompany children evaluating from London in 1939.  Presenting herself as a full fledged nurse, she is accompanied by another nurse, ironically with the same name, Bridget Kelly.  The group is housed at Greenway, one of Agatha Christie’s homes.  Agatha’s appearance might be brief, but her books in the home’s library assist in solving a few mysteries, including murder.  I was intrigued by the story, the characters, and the impact of the horrors of London’ bombings and deaths in WWII England.  I highly recommend this book.
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Death at Greenway is an intriguing  novel of historical suspense set at Greenway, the seaside estate of Agatha Christie during the Blitz. Two nurses, Bridey and Gigi set out to care for evacuated children at the renowned vacation home, but before they have time to become acquainted with one another a body is found nearby. What ensues is a country house murder filled with suspense and a cast of characters not unlike those written by the queen of mystery herself. 

I enjoyed the setting of this book immensely. It was a bit like being a voyeur into Christie’s life and home. And whether or not the library full of books about murder was accurate, it provided the perfect atmosphere for this novel. 

The characterizations are fantastic and as we get to know Bridey and Gigi better, it becomes apparent that they both harbor secrets of their own that are as much a mystery as that of the dead body. 

This historical aspect of this novel during the blitz adds an emotional component that stirs the heartstrings and ratchets up the suspense. It is filled with details specific to the time period that add another layer to the storytelling. 

If I had any complaint about this book, and it is a minor one, it’s that I wanted more about Agatha in it. But overall this is a successful mystery that combines well with the historic events that are it’s backdrop. An emotional novel of suspense with a message about friendship at its heart. I would like to thank @netgalley and @williammorrowbooks for this advanced ebook in exchange for a fair review.
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I believe the title and advertising for this story throw the reader off, from expecting a classic murder mystery and then being disappointed it doesn't deliver. HOWEVER, as historical drama, it's a pretty good story about the lives of those living through a bloody war. I enjoyed the setting, which was a character in itself. I do think the character development could have been stronger, because my feelings about the end were a bit apathetic. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. #deathatgreenway #loriraderday #netgalley #goodreads
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In World War Two London, a student nurse makes a deadly mistake at a hospital and is sent in disgrace to a country estate to care for young children whose parents want them safely away from war-torn London. One of the best things about this book is that the estate is Greenway, Agatha Christie's country home. There is a murder, and Bridie (the student nurse) must quickly act to do what she can to solve it. Great mystery with a brooding, suspenseful atmosphere and quirky characters. Definitely recommend!
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A slow, slow unfolding story which highlights a small glimpse of what it might have been like for those that fled London for the safety of the countryside during the war. It is set at the home of Agatha Christie, but we only get snippets of her. The main focus is Bridget “Bridey” whose greatest desire was to serve the war effort as a nurse, but after being expelled, takes a job as a nursemaid for a group of children taken from London for their own safety, separated from their parents and sent to Greenway without knowing when they would return. Bridey is soon joined by another nurse who is also named Bridget, but asks to be called Gigi. She’s very mysterious, worldly and not a very good nurse at all. It even seems that she can’t be of help to Bridey in taking care of the children. Regardless, they form a bond and the story reveals Bridey trying to figure herself out while trying to solve the mystery of a couple of deaths in the nearby village. She fumbles, she grasps at clues and is highly convinced she knows what has happened, but is Bridey any better at solving mysteries than she was at working at the hospital? It was a good read, but more ordinary than extraordinary. I would read this author again however. Her ability to set the environment was solid.
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During WWII nurses come to Agatha Christie’s country estate to care for ten small children evacuated from London during the German bombing attacks. Neither of the nurses are exactly what they seem. Bridey Kelly has been dismissed from her nursing trying for a medical mistake and the mysterious Gigi is carrying secrets. The death is a body that has washed ashore and the authorities seek the truth. The story is slow moving and not very suspenseful. The focus is on the ways in which the war has impacted the characters lives. Agatha Christie’s estate did harbor evacuees, but she is a very small presence in the book. I was expecting more of a mystery novel, so it was somewhat disappointing. However it was well-written in describing these WWII experiences.
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Death at Greenway is described as a “captivating suspense novel about nurses during World War II”. Oddly enough it merits neither descriptor.

Bridget Kelly has made a deadly mistake – or so her supervisor has informed her. As a trainee, Bridget is to walk the wards with an actual nurse and offer assistance, not perform treatments herself, but seeing the floor sister run off her feet she had stepped in, administered a dose of medication and a patient had died as a result. Up to that point, Bridget had excelled at her coursework, so it is determined that rather than being dismissed outright (or prosecuted for murder) she will accompany a group of evacuee children to the countryside. More specifically to Greenway House, home of famed author Agatha Christie (who plays absolutely no role in this novel.) Bridget is given a letter of introduction and sent to meet Mr. and  Mrs. Arbuthnot, the couple in charge of the evacuation, at the train station.

Although they have only a small group of kids to care for, the rendezvous at the station is chaotic. Parents are having second thoughts about sending their little ones away and Mrs. Arbuthnot is having to work to convince them to do so. There is much crying and wailing as families take leave of each other, and in the pandemonium, Bridget manages to ‘lose’ her letter of introduction and make it unimportant by being a huge help to the Arbuthnots in getting the children loaded onto the train.

When it is discovered that the second nurse on the journey is also named Bridget Kelly, our nurse takes the name Bridey, the other takes the name Gigi. Mrs. Arbuthnot finds ‘Gigi’ a rather frivolous name, but it turns out to suit the girl perfectly. She disappears once they get underway, leaving Bridey alone with all the kids as Gigi goes about making some new friends a couple of cars over. Gigi does eventually come back, her new companions in tow, but proves even then to be of little help.

The rest of the story is taken up with getting settled at Greenway, Bridey’s fear that she will be discovered as a fraud (she isn’t *technically* a nurse since she never completed training, but  Mrs. Arbuthnot assumes she is since Bridey threw away her letter of introduction) and the alternating points of view of all the bitter people now living at Ms. Christie’s country house. They are:  Mr. and Mrs. Scaldwell, housekeeper and butler, who are angry at being forced to serve a bunch of refugees from London. The Arbuthnots, whose own home in Jersey has been taken from them by the Germans and who discover they are not looked upon as renters (although they have paid a year’s worth of rent for Greenway) but as intruders who are not allowed to actually live in the house but are confined to the servants quarters with the Scaldwells and the children. Our primary narrator, Bridey, who is overwhelmed by grief and battle fatigue (PTSD from the London bombings and caring for the wounded from numerous battles) is a bit slow to act as a result. There is a lot of complaining but very little mystery.

Eventually a body is discovered, healthy middle-aged men in the village die, a woman goes missing, Gigi disappears and Bridey decides to figure out if any of it is important by training to be a detective via reading Mrs. Christie’s books. She never actually investigates, though, just stumbles upon information  as she goes about doing her job. She is the passive recipient of a lot of information and while she does take some action to see a certain degree of justice done, that behavior is low key and very minimalistic.

I found this book more than a bit of a slog. It’s historical fiction about the way grief and PTSD can combine to change a person, but the author never lets us close enough to the characters to help us understand that grief. Bridey has become dissociative as a result of her pain, and she is described as almost inert and unresponsive. She can perform her duties but she is not warm and loving about it, according to those around her, and from my perspective, she seemed to just float around whining about Gigi not doing her share of the work.

Gigi, by the way, like Bridey, is not an actual nurse. That is easily figured out almost immediately. She is clearly in hiding but she’s such an uninteresting character that I followed her story as to why with little interest.

There is some very understated romance. Gigi has an affair with a young woman from the village and Bridey has two love interests – a local doctor and a boy back home named Tommy. Combined, they probably take up less than ten pages of text in a book over four hundred pages long.

There are some redeeming factors.  The writer’s prose is smooth and descriptive, and the history, while not spectacularly detailed, is interesting. I would imagine there were many families like the Arbuthnots, comfortable but not wealthy, who found themselves displaced by the war and moved down in society as a result. Equally easy to believe in are the Scaldwells, people in service all their lives with no home of their own and no say in what happened to or in the place they lived, forced to deal with whatever fate threw at them. Few books highlight how very emotionally traumatizing all the grief and fear caused by the Blitz and the deaths of war must have been to those living through them. It’s a sobering reminder that the people who were being exhorted to pull together and keep a stiff upper lip in the face of adversity were probably less successful at it than most of us have been taught to believe.

Those factors kept Death at Greenway from being an awful read but they weren’t enough to make it great. If you enjoy leisurely paced historicals this might work but it definitely isn’t enough of a mystery to engage fans of that genre.
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I received this as an advanced copy from NetGalley

Bridey Kelly has come back to home after being dismissed as a nurse trainee. This is the only place she can go back to after this happens. After she is home a body washes to shore near the estate. Finding out this is a victim that was killed. Gigi who is a nurse who is not like Bridey at all. The two of them discover that they both have many secrets which lead them back to 'Greenway.

I enjoyed this book!! Good story and kept my interest.
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I enjoyed this book and found the historical aspects interesting. This is a must read for fans of Agatha Christie and WWII.
3.5 Stars
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I really enjoyed this mystery suspense story.  This is a new author for me which I look forward to seeing what is next for her.  I enjoyed being pulled into the story from the beginning by the characters.  They are creative, unique and truly made the story for me.  They are connectable and made the story fun and entertaining to read.  This is a well written story where the author's use of details gave the story a realistic feel.  This is a story about a village where a body comes to shore.  This is a butial murder that not only brings the suspense but also secrets.  I enjoyed what the twists and turns brought to the story and the growth throughout.  This is a great read that I highly recommend.
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There have been a slew of mysteries published in last few years that feature Agatha Christie as a character in a real-life mystery. I’m beginning to think the trope is played out. 

Here, Lori Rader-Day sets her story of two “nurses” engaged to care for ‘vacs - children evacuated from London during World War II. In this case, the children and their minders are sent to Greenway, the home of Max and Agatha Mallowan (Christie). 

We know from the start that one of the “Bridget Kelly’s” is pretending to be a nurse, but hey, why not make the other Bridget Kelly also a faker? And let’s not make either one of them sympathetic. So begins one of the oddest stories I’ve read in a long time. I found the whole thing kind of muddled.
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