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by Lori Rader-Day
Morrow, October 2021
448 pages
ISBN: 0062938045

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Bridget "Bridey" Kelly wants nothing more than to be a nurse, but a mistake as a nurse probationer in a London hospital derails that dream, and she is sent to the countryside to care for children who are being evacuated from the constant World War II air raids. And so Bridey arrives at Greenway House, which happens to be Agatha Christie’s summer home on the River Dart.

Although the famed writer is not at home for most of this time, it's still a rather full house. In addition to the ten displaced children, there are two caretakers, the couple sponsoring this war nursery, and another nurse, who says her name is also Bridget Kelly. Bridey and the other nurse, who goes by the nickname Gigi, become friends. It's clear that Gigi is harboring a secret, but then so is Bridey. There are many secrets, in fact: the theft of jam jars from the pantry, mysterious deaths among the town men, and then the most unsettling — the murder of a stranger who washes ashore near Greenway House.

There are other dangers as well. It may be a bit safer than London, but there are still bombings in nearby towns and Greenway House, a large white house on a hill, might be the perfect target for bombers. They are close to the coast too, and the inhabitants of the house worry about a German landing. This is enough to unsettle anyone, but Bridey, only nineteen years old, is also dealing with grief that at times physically incapacitates her.

Lori Rader-Day's books are populated with women who are damaged in some way, and her suspenseful plots are character-based. DEATH AT GREENWAY is the same in that way, but also a very different book for this award-winning author. For one thing, it is loosely based on a real story. Agatha Christie really did open her house to evacuated children from the spring of 1941 to the fall of 1942. The rest comes from Rader-Day's imagination.

And this book is more powerful in subtle ways. The author lays in clues in such a way that even the mistress of misdirection, Agatha Christie, would be proud. If you are a fan of Christie, or just of historical fiction, place this book on your to-read list.

§ Lourdes Venard is an independent editor who divides her time between New York and Maui.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, September 2021

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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