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  • Writer's pictureDavid Morris

Agatha Christie's "Greenway Editions"

Updated: Apr 25

One series of Christie books that frequently appears in used book stores and for sale on line is the 'Greenway Edition'. It appears that there was previously no definitive guide anywhere to this edition of books making it hard for collectors to known what to seek or value books correctly. Thank you to Dr. Mark Aldridge for filling in a few of the gaps so that this is now a complete guide.


The genesis of these books supposedly occured towards the end of 1965, when Christie celebrated her 75th birthday. To mark this event Collins decided to create a new uniform series, named after her home in Devon. However, Christie didn't understand the appeal of 'Greenway' as it had nothing to do with her books. Christie is claimed to have selected the symbol of three intertwined fish - used in her short story The House of Lurking Death from Partners in Crime - to be on the coversArtist Kenneth Farnhill then created the image which became the standardized design which makes these books instantly recognizable. The books also had this design on the cloth spine (both UK and US), and an embossed Christie signature on the front boards.


There are both Collins (UK) and Dodd Mead (US) versions of the Greenway Editions which mostly have the same titles, follow the same numbering, and year of publication. By observing copyright and printing dates, it appears the first books were published in 1967 and at a rate of four titles per year. In 1970 and 1971 no new editions were released. Then in 1972 and 1973 four more titles were published in each year. No titles were issued in 1974 and 1975. Then, two per year were issued from 1976 through to 1981 when the series was ended. In total 32 titles were published under this imprint. However, there are a few differences in the Dodd Mead (US) books in the latter years.


The UK Collins Editions:

The titles published, with the first year of publication and the number on the jacket spine are detailed below. No. 7 Murder on the Orient Express and No. 24 And Then There Were None (published with its original title of Ten Little N's), along with the last four books (29-32) appear to be the hardest to find. It appears the print runs for these later books was very small - such that I haven't been able to locate 30 or 32. Also, the fish on the cover are all 'colourful' on first edition covers. There are later reprints of titles where the fish lose their colour!


1967:

1.       The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

2.       The Labours of Hercules.

3.       Crooked House

4.       A Murder is Announced.


1968:

5.   Cards on the Table

6.   Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?

7.   Murder on the Orient Express

8.   The Moving Finger


1969: 

9.     Lord Edgware Dies.

10.   They Do It With Mirrors.

11.   Death on the Nile.

12.   They Came to Baghdad.


1972:

13.   The Mystery of the Blue Train.

14.   Three Act Tragedy.

15.   At Bertram’s Hotel.

16.   Thirteen Problems.


1973:

17.   Death in the Clouds.

18.   N or M?

19.   Towards Zero.

20.   Hercule Poirot’s Christmas.


1976:

21.   Murder at the Vicarage.

22.   The ABC Murders.

1977:

23.   Destination Unknown.

24.  Ten Little N. (aka: And Then There Were None).


1978:

25. Elephants Can Remember.

26. Caribbean Mystery.

1979:

27. Third Girl.

28. Passenger to Frankfurt.


1980:

29. Sad Cypress.

30. Five Little Pigs.

1981:

31. A Pocket Full of Rye.

32. Murder in Mesopotamia.

It is my understanding that there were 32 books in the series of Collins printings, but I have been unable to locate images of 30 or 32 to confirm there was no title change at the last minute. Thus: Input sought: If any readers have these, please email me at collectchristie@gmail.com and preferably also send a photo to add to this article.

 

The US Editions by Dodd Mead & Co.

In the Unitied States, Dodd Mead & Co printed the Greenway editions mostly in alignment with the British publications. It is also interesting to note that Dodd Mead used the UK titles for all these books (except one, No. 24) in lieu of the American alternate titles original used in the States. In many cases this makes the US Greenway edition the only American hardback so titled.


Many editions in the States used different colour jackets though the design remained unchanged. For example even in the initial eight books, Crooked House was shod in a blue dust jacket, Why Didn't They Ask Evans had a green dust jacket and The Moving Finger had an orange dust jacket.


After the first eight books, most of the US books were published one year later than the UK editions. Some printings also appear to be undated. For example, No. 9 – Lord Edgware Dies was printed in 1970, and No. 11 – Death on the Nile - believed printed in 1970 was undated.


Other Dodd Mead publications of note include No. 24 – Ten Little Indians - published in 1978. I believe this to be the only US hardback printed under this specific title. There were a few paperbacks in the US titled this way, but all hardback printings typically used And Then There Were None.


Variances in Later Dodd Mead Titles:

Further changes appeared in 1981, when Dodd Mead chose not to publish Third Girl (#27) or Passenger to Frankfurt (#28) in the States. These were perhaps viewed as novels with less demand so alternate titles were selected.


27. (1981) - A Pocket Full of Rye (replaces UK title: Third Girl). In the UK, issued as No. 31.

28. (1981) - Evil Under the Sun (replaces UK title: Passenger to Frankfurt).

29. (1981) - Murder is Easy.

30. (1981) - The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side.

31. (1982) – Peril at End House.

32. (1982) - 4:50 From Paddington

Because of the changes to the final titles and numbering Dodd Mead used, it creates some issues for collectors of Greenway editions. There are several titles that may have only been published in the US (depending on confirmation of No. 30 and No. 32 in the Collins series), completist collectors will need to seek these out. They are Evil Under the Sun, The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side, Peril at End House and 4:50 From Paddington.


Values:

Most of these books are fairly valued for less than £20 or $25 per volume. However, a few titles appear particularly challenging to find and would likely command significant premiums. For UK editions, these are No. 7 and No. 24. Also, given my current difficulty in ascertaining a few of the later volumes, these are likely quite scarce! For the US editions, No. 24 appears to be the most desirable, plus No. 27 onwards would also command some premium given their appeal to completist collectors outside the US.


Since many of these books ended up in libraries or were just well read and enjoyed, very good or better quality books can be scarce. Consequently, collector quality copies are harded to find that one may think. As with other books, try to collect those that show their price on the flap (all UK and US books were priced). In addition, while each title was numbered, many were reprinted multiple times. For collectors, generally the first printing would be most desirable.


Summary:

As clear, this is stil a work in progress, so please email me on items I have missed or have incorrect information cited. If you have any questions or feedback, please email me at:


As always, thanks for reading and comments are always most welcome. If you are not a subscriber to my website, please consider subscribing here: link. This ensures you receive an email any time I write and post an article. Also, consider following me on X (formerly Twitter) @collectchristie and on Facebook (link). The content varies across platforms.


Happy Hunting!

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John PERRY
John PERRY
Mar 10

There would appear to be "Winterbrook Editions" published in India?


https://rarebooksfinder.com/rarebooks/agatha-christie-winterbrook-edition-30-volume-set/


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chriwillid
Mar 05

I am surprised the original title of AND THEN THERE WERE NONE was still being used as late as 1977.

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