Greenway and 'Dead Man's Folly'

An avenue of lime trees in Greenway garden

Greenway has a relaxed atmosphere while the sun is shining, and it's easy to imagine how Agatha Christie and her family spent their holidays here. But occasionally, on days where the mist rolls in from the river, the hairs on the backs of people's neck stand on edge. Did this uneasy atmosphere ever influenced Christie's writing? We'll never know, but we do know just how much Greenway inspired her story 'Dead Man's Folly.'

Dead Man's Folly

Christie's book which was most clearly influenced by Greenway was Dead Man's Folly. In this story Greenway house, garden, Boathouse and local area are all described to a T, so much so that in 2013, ITV filmed their adaptation of Dead Man's Folly here.

The plot

Sir George and Lady Stubbs host of a village fête at their home Nasse House (also known as Greenway), and for the entertainment decide to stage a mock murder mystery, inviting crime writer Ariadne Oliver to organise the murder hunt. Ariadne calls her friend Hercule Poirot to investigate a sinister hunch that she has, which pays off.

Poirot is collected from the train station and driven through Devon lanes, stopping to admire the river views. He arrives Nasse House, and takes various walks through the woodland garden. He and Ariadne visit the Boathouse during the murder hunt, where the unfortunate Girl Guide Marlene Tucker should have been posing as the 'victim' - in fact, she really has come to an untimely end. 

The ITV adaptation of 'Dead Man's Folly' was filmed at Greenway
David Suchet in character as Poirot for the filming of Dead Man's Folly at Greenway

 

Dead Man's Folly filming

In June 2013 a cast and crew of 90 from ITV descended on Greenway to film David Suchet as Hercule Poirot for the final time in their adaptation of Dead Man's Folly. David Suchet was joined by a stellar cast including Zoe Wanamaker, who played famous mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver, Sean Pertwee, Sinead Cusack, Tom Ellis, Martin Jarvis and Sam Kelly.

The programme aired on ITV in October 2013, as part of their thirteenth and final Poirot series. It was particularly fitting that Agatha Christie’s holiday home, played host to the stars and crew of this popular television series as they filmed their last scenes and said goodbye to the show.

" I loved filming at Greenway because it took me right back to 1987 when I first met the Agatha Christie family and they invited me down to Greenway. That was my first visit to the house. Having the opportunity to film at Greenway was truly wonderful and a memory I will cherish."
- David Suchet

 

Capturing the moment

Photographer Stephen Haywood was on hand on the last day of filming to capture magical moments such as David Suchet’s last scene filmed as Hercule Poirot, walking out of the front doors of Greenway and along the garden path toward the Boathouse. In the Stables is a display of the photographs taken during the filming, along with a video of Agatha Christie's grandson Mathew Prichard talking about his love of Greenway. 

ITV filmed an episode of Poirot at Greenway
David Suchet at Greenway Boathouse for the filming of Dead Man's Folly