Jewish Federation Book Club Reads Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day
I met the mystery/crime author Lori Rader-Day at the Midwest Writers Conference in Muncie, Indiana, in July 2023. She agreed to join the Jewish Federation Book Club’s session on Death at Greenway, her novel that takes place at Agatha Christie’s summer home during World War II. Despite its title, this book is not written in the style of a Christie murder mystery, rather, it’s an interpretation of what it might have been like for two women hired to take care of ten children under the age of five who had to evacuate their homes without their parents during the London Blitz. Infused with fictional mystery, the novel’s authenticity starts with the setting. Lori’s three visits to Greenway House made this possible; her first two as a typical tourist got her thinking, and then her third took place during a stay for several nights with her husband. Lori was privy to the few remaining children’s names carved inside a hidden cabinet. She became email buddies with “Doreen,” now in her 80s, who makes several crucial appearances in the novel.
Our group put together a list of questions for Lori in advance, and she selected her favorites to address during our Zoom video chat. Lori was generous with her time, easy to talk with, and shared extra details about what she learned during her research years of creating Death at Greenway. Prepared with stories and photographs, she explained how the book took ten years to complete and shared eye-opening details about how she came up with her use of “British English” throughout the text.
“I watch lots of British TV and read any British novel from that period. British baking shows, plus, friends who are British. Tapped two of them to look for problems, wrong words, etc. For instance: ‘handbag’ vs. ‘purse.’ One was Katrina McPherson from Scotland who trained as a linguist. The other was Anne Cleeves who read it for me and sent it all back! Even the audiobook narrator tweaked one of the sentences.”
Some of you may know about Anne Cleeves, author of several novels on which the series “Vera,” “Shetland,” and “The Long Call” are based.
For a transcript of our Zoom discussion with Lori Rader Day, click here.
To read more about Lori’s work, check her out at LoriRaderDay.com.
The Jewish Federation Book Club meets via Zoom at 4 PM on the first Thursdays of every month. If you’re interested in joining or learning more about future titles on our list, please visit TheJewishFed.org/Books.
Upcoming Books (subject to change)
February 1 - Sailing at the Edge of Disaster, by Elizabeth Garber, with author talk on Zoom
March 7 - The Giver of Stars, by Jojo Moyes