Brixham, UK: The queen of crime's spirit lives here
At Greenway, the South Devon house where Agatha Christie spent summers from 1938 until her death in 1976, it's hard not to let your imagination run wild: That paperweight? Total murder weapon. Gardening tools? The shovel could come in handy if you needed to, you know, bury something.
Everything—from the way the 18th-century Georgian structure is shrouded by trees and perched on a promontory over the River Dart, to shelf after shelf of curios and objets prized by Christie and her archeologist husband, Sir Max Mallowan—feels imbued with sinister potential. That was Christie's stock in trade, after all: Stories in which the tea-and-cakes trappings of English civility could mask the deadliest of deeds and motives.
Christie used Greenway for pleasure only, soaking up the seaside charm of the "English Riviera" (which persists to this day). But if she didn't actually write here, countless scenes, several novels and at least one specific murder are inspired by Greenway (do stop by the boathouse, almost exactly as it appears—concealing a strangled corpse—in Dead Man's Folly).
Donated by Christie's daughter to the National Trust, Greenway has finally reopened to the public following extensive renovations, which included converting the manse's top floor into a vacation rental. The Apartment is a self-contained flat with five bedrooms and three bathrooms, designed to sleep 10, and comes appointed with its own butler—both a lavish, old-world amenity, and a clear setup to the line "The butler did it."
Stays start at about $1350 weekly; see more at the National Trust website.