Agatha Christie – Dead Man’s Folly

A charity murder game at a Devon house turns into the real thing. Sir George and Lady Stubbs, the hosts of a village fête, hit upon the novel idea of staging a mock murder mystery. In good faith, Ariadne Oliver, the well known crime writer, agrees to organise their murder hunt. Despite weeks of meticulous planning, at the last minute Ariadne calls her friend Hercule Poirot for his expert assistance. Instinctively, she senses that something sinister is about to happen…Beware – nobody is quite what they seem!

Dead Man’s Folly sees the return of Ariadne Oliver, who summons Poirot to a country house to investigate a lingering suspicion, which she fears might lead to something serious.

Dead Man’s Folly

The country house in question was inspired by Agatha Christie’s own holiday home, Greenway House in Devon, which looks over the River Dart and contains many of the features mentioned in the novel.

Greenway House is now owned and managed by the National Trust, it was also used in the filming of the TV adaptation in 2013, starring David Suchet and Zoë Wanamaker, one of the final episodes in series 13 of Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

The main plot first saw the light of day in the form of a novella only recently published as Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly. In 1954, Agatha Christie wrote the story with the intention of donating the proceeds to a fund set up to buy stained glass windows for her local church at Churston Ferrers, and she filled the story with references to local places, including her own home of Greenway. But having completed it, she decided instead to expand the story into a full-length novel, Dead Man’s Folly, which was published two years later, and donated a Miss Marple story (Greenshaw’s Folly) to the church fund instead.

Visit Greenway House.

History of Vipers Quay

“The original ‘Viper’s Quay’ was a small quay or jetty at the Southern tip of the property, downstream of the Anchor Stone. No traces of this remains and indeed the access to it has been greatly eroded over the years. It is easy to imagine how its sunny position might have been appreciated by a snake, though we have only ever seen lizards and slow-worms.

The boathouse with its jetty originally served the Rectory. At the time transport was much easier by water than by the steep and often very muddy Devon lanes. Indeed, the importance of the river as a means of communication can scarcely be overstated. The fact that there were until after the war two completely separate villages, Higher and Lower Dittisham is entirely a result of the convenience of water transport. Many houses, such as Gurrow Point, had their own little quay or landing stage to bring in coal etc. and the Rectory, as the most important house in the village after the Court, was no exception.

The original boathouse was a single storey building with a pitched roof and it had no residential accommodation. It can be seen in the old photograph in the laundry room. It is not known when it was built but by the 1900s it had become a roofless ruin, almost lost in the oak trees which then covered the whole river bank. The original jetty was much lower than the present jetty and was also in a ruined state.

After the war the jetty was occasionally used a berthing place, in particular by a rather beautiful motor yacht called the Melisande which sometimes moored there in the late 1940s or early 1950s. It can be seen in postcards of the period. It disappeared after being caught smuggling and was later said to be involved in gun-running in North Africa.

In 1959 River Farm was acquired by our father, who also farmed at Dittisham Court, and in 1962 he began to build the present boathouse using the old buildings as the base. The builders were the men who worked on his farm (and when they could not avoid it, his children). The building was topped out in 1964.”

Regatta Season 2020

A regatta is a series of boat races. The term comes from the Venetian-Italian language regatta meaning “contest”. Although regattas are typically amateur competitions, they are typically organised events, but they may be quite amateur.

The Regatta season starts with the Port of Plymouth Regatta (10-12th July), Salcombe Town Regatta (1st – 8th August 2020), Cowes Week (Sat, 8 Aug – Sat, 15 Aug) and the Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta (Sat, 22 Aug – Sat, 27 Aug).

Dittisham Family Sailing Week

Dittisham Sailing Club is organising a Family Sailing Week (Tue, 11-Aug to Fri, 14-Aug). this is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in sailing.

Sign up

Dittisham Regatta

The Dittisham Regatta, which has been running since 1983, is fun for the family event with plenty for the family to do.

This is strictly an amateur event, with fun in the village and a great chance to meet people. Please support local events by going along.

The regatta details can be found at Dittisham Regatta.

Dartmouth Regatta

The Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta, Dartmouth, UK celebrated its 175th Anniversary in 2019.

The regatta is well organised with events for the family and the Dartmouth Sailing Week.

Mark your calendars for 2020:

  • Dinghies: Saturday 22nd – Tuesday 25th August
  • Passage Race: Tuesday 25th August
  • Yachts & Keelboats: Wednesday 26th – Saturday 29th August

Followed by Dartmouth Mayflower 400 week 30th August – 5th September

The Regatta details can be found at Dartmouth Regatta.

Vipers Quay was built for sailing and life on the River Dart. If you are taking part in the Family Sailing Week, competing in the Dittisham or Dartmouth Regatta, contact us for a 10% Discount Voucher.

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