writing

The Great Gorilla Mystery

QUESTION: What links gorillas with one of the bestselling authors of all time?

Gorilla Christie

ANSWER: To be revealed at the end of this post. *mysterious music*

OK, here are some clues. But, beware… some might be red herrings!

– The house in the picture is called Greenway. It’s the summer house of an author who bought the house in October 1938. It’s now maintained by the National Trust and you can visit their site to find out about opening times.

– I went to Greenway this week with my daughter and we had a brilliant time. We were given a guided tour and learned fascinating facts about the author, like the way she’s in the top three most-printed authors in the world, and she used to work in pharmacy and archaeology, which influenced her plots.

– A couple of her novels have been set in Greenway itself. One of these is called Dead Man’s Folly, and features a detective called Poirot. We stood in the bedroom that Poirot slept in in the book, and we admired the author’s silk dresses in a walk-in wardrobe.

Dead Man's Folly

– I was even more over-awed by a large bookcase filled with first editions of this author’s many novels, and her library that was filled with delicious-looking books I wished I could examine more closely. The library also featured a mural which was painted during war-time, while the house was requisitioned for use by the US navy.

– There was a toy frog in the old-fashioned (not-in-use) toilet!

– The house is in a part of Devon that isn’t too far from Paignton Zoo.

Paignton Zoo is raising awareness for the plight of gorillas.

MYSTERY REVEALED: Have you guessed it?!

Yes! The gorilla statue in the picture is a part of the Paignton Zoo Gorilla Trail, and – I’m certain you guessed this! – it is outside author Agatha Christie‘s house! Agatha Christie wrote 66 crime novels in her lifetime, as well as 14 short story collections, a long-running play called The Mousetrap, and 6 romances under the name Mary Westmacott.

The Gorilla Trail is “a mass public art event on the streets, parks and public spaces of the English Riviera… helping to raise money and awareness for fellow conservation charity Paignton Zoo’ s Great Gorilla Project”. Find out more.

Are you fascinated by authors’ houses? Have you ever visited one, or would you like to? Let me know in the comments! (Confession: I’m definitely fascinated by authors’ books…!)

Luisa
xxx

15 thoughts on “The Great Gorilla Mystery

  1. I am so jealous you’ve been to Greenway. I’ve tried to go twice but both times it was in August and it was too crowded. I love visiting author’s houses. Haworth parsonage where the Bronte sister’s lived is so atmospheric. I have also visited Cloud’s Hill where T.E Lawrence lived , Charleston where the Bloomsberries hung out but one of my favourite places is in Cambridge -it is the former home of Lucy M. Boston the author of The Children of Green Knowe. Her relatives still live there and take you on a guided tour.

    • Wow, Jo! I wish you’d been with us. 🙂
      By the way, in case you see this, what age do you think Agatha Christie novels are suitable for, if you think they’re suitable for children at all? Some people in our group were asking this. I remember reading them from the age of about 12.

      • There’s really very little controversial in the books – no sex, for example, and despite the astonishingly high murder rates, hardly any violence 😉 but I’d say what would put off younger readers are the long ‘talky’ scenes, where people are being interviewed or Poirot is ‘chatting’ with people in order to discover their secrets. They’re not very action-packed, some of them, which I think would put off readers who weren’t interested in the tea-time gossip side of things. Cards on the Table, for example, is really very dull in terms of action. I would say a ‘child’ is the right age to read them when they find them interesting! (which is probably about 12, to be fair.)

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