The words “Never before published-the lost classic, unseen for sixty years!” grabbed my attention immediately. How can that be? A tale written by the woman called the Queen of Crime, with 80 crime novels and short story collections and 19 plays to her credit never before published? I was so sure I had read almost all, if not the complete body, of Agatha Christie’s work; of course, it’s hard to be sure since so many of her novels have been re-released under new titles.
There was a reason this story had never been published. What became Greenshore Folly was originally intended as a short story to be printed in a magazine with the proceeds to go to charity. In the end though it became more the length fit for a novella and was judged not right for the magazine. The yarn was set aside, eventually to be developed into a full-length novel titled Deadman’s Folly, and Mrs. Chrisitie wrote a Miss Marple story called Greenshaw’s Folly for the magazine.
I’m so glad she did. This presented me with the opportunity of a fresh read by Agatha Christie.
Agatha Christie was my introduction to mystery; the Grand Dame of the suspense novel. I never tired of her novels and stories even though I’d become frustrated and sometimes even felt she wasn’t playing fair when it came to the clues needed to solve the mystery. Never once have I correctly concluded who the culprit was and Greenshore Folly was no different.
I have finally realized though that what led me back to Agatha Christie’s novels wasn’t the challenge of solving the crime. Let’s face it; I’m no Hercule Poirot with his ingenious insights or even his friend, Mrs. Oliver, the murder mystery novelist. What led me back to novel after novel, story after story, was that the novels were set in a gentler time and in what have become exotic locales. (Did I just say ‘a gentler time’? People were killing other people!) The pace was slower, too; there weren’t constant distractions like cell phones, Twitter and video games. There was time and lovely quiet palaces to dally with a cup of tea and let your thoughts ramble.
In Greenshore Folly, Hercule Poirot is invited to attend a garden party taking place at a quiet country estate in the English countryside. The residents of the nearby village are eager to see the grounds, particularly the squire’s ‘folly’, and take part in the games, most notably the mock murder that has been scripted by the famous murder novelist Ariadne Oliver.
It’s a good thing Mrs. Oliver has asked M. Poirot to award the winning prize in the murder hunt. Otherwise we might never learn the fate of Mrs. Stubbs, the lady of the Manor or the unfortunate village teen.