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The Unexpected Guest: AND The Pale Horse (BBC Audio Crime) Audio CD – Audiobook, 9 Jan 2006


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Product details

  • Audio CD: 2 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd; Unabridged edition (9 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846070376
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846070372
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1 x 12.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Torquay in 1890, Agatha Christie began writing during the First World War and wrote over 100 novels, plays and short story collections. She was still writing to great acclaim until her death, and her books have now sold over a billion copies in English and another billion in over 100 foreign languages. Yet Agatha Christie was always a very private person, and though Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple became household names, the Queen of Crime was a complete enigma to all but her closest friends.

Product Description

Review

‘Like a Martini – crisp, dry, sophisticated, habit-forming – will satisfy all devotees of Christie neat plotting.’ Booklist

--This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

From the Back Cover

READ BY HUGH FRASER

Adapted as a novel by Charles Osborne

'The Unexpected Guest' is considered to be one of the finest of Agatha Christie’s mysteries, hailed as “another 'Mousetrap'” when it opened as a play in London’s West End. Now Charles Osborne’s novelisation brings her superb story to a new legion of fans.

When a stranger runs his car into a ditch in dense fog near the South Wales coast, and makes his way to an isolated house, he discovers a woman standing over the dead body of her wheelchair-bound husband, gun in her hand. She admits to murder, and the unexpected guest offers to help her concoct a cover story.

But is it possible that Laura Warwick did not commit the murder after all? If so, who is she shielding? The victim’s retarded young half-brother or his dying matriarchal mother? Laura’s lover? The father of a little boy killed in an accident for which Warwick was responsible? The house seems full of possible suspects …

--This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Poldy on 21 Jan 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This pack consists of two full-cast dramatizations of stories by Ms Christie. In "The Unexpected Guest", a passing house-hunter, Michael Starkwedder, runs his car off the road in a fog. Reaching the nearest house, he finds a woman standing over the dead body of her husband, a gun in her hand. Rather than ring the police, he helps her concoct a story that might exhonerate her.

As you would expect from Miss Christie, this is a story with lots of twists, lots of suspects and red-herrings. The cast are very good, relishing their roles and making each character distinctive. It really is like watching a play in the theatre.

The Pale Horse has always been one of my favourite Christie stories. Its tale of witchcraft, black magic and death wished from afar makes it a unique entry in Christie's work. Mark Easterbrook discovers that people whose name appears on a certain list all died suddenly. The only connection appears to be The Pale Horse, a converted cottage inhabited by three women, who claim to be able to control certain elemental forces. Of course, such an idea is too wild to be credible, and yet those people died.

The air of menace in this story is palpable. The cast really shine, and the denouement is as brilliant as anything in the Christie canon.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Penfold on 8 Feb 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
You get 2 CDs, total time 2 hrs 35 minutes.

The two stories are totally unrelated. I enjoyed listening to them both at bed-time, in half-hour sessions.

The dramatisation works really well, you always know who is speaking and the voices are very clear and animated. The emotions are exaggerated so you know very well whether they said it ruefully, or with a pained expression.

Accents tend to be larger-than-life British upper-class, which suits the characters and the upper-class world in which the stories take place. I almost imagine them going round in dinner-jackets most of the time.

There is not much in the way of sound effects, it relies mostly on the voices.

If you are not familiar with Agatha Christie's work, she wrote to a different set of make-believe rules than today, which makes it seem quaint. The stories are primarily a puzzle to be solved by the reader, the murders are not graphically described at all.

I found that the challenge of solving the crimes in both stories was enough to keep me interested, but I was quite happy to leave the solution to be revealed at the end.

I paid less than four quid for it from Amazon, which makes it stunning value.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 July 2000
Format: Paperback
While many did not like the previous novel adapted by Charles Osborne, "Black Coffee" was an inferior play to begin with, much like many of Agatha Christie's own short stories.
This new novel, "Unexpected Guest", was from a more complicated story and thus is a more satisfying experience by comparison: and Charles Osborne's knowledge of Christies really show. I suppose anyone who has read his excellent biography on Agatha Christie would know that already. The novel reads like a vintage Christie, and I am very happy with the experience, and would recommend it heartily to not only Christie fans, but to new readers who wants to start of with one of Christie's more exciting plots, without the burden of excessive setups (like Death on the Nile).
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 July 1999
Format: Hardcover
On a very foggy night in Wales, Michael Starkwedder runs his car into a ditch. He goes to the nearest house where he finds Laura Warwick who confesses to having murdered her husband, Richard, a person confined to a wheelchair.
Instead of calling the police, he coaxes Laura into telling her story. She provides him with the details of why and how she killed her abusive spouse. Michael agrees to help her hide the truth by blaming it on someone else. Laura chooses MacGregor. The Canadian tourist hates Richard for running over his child in a DUI incident in which the law dropped the charges against the pompous Richard. Sergeant Cadwallader and Inspector Thomas investigate only to learn that the Canadian died two years ago. What is the nest step for Michael and Laura?
BLACK COFFEE, the latest adaptation of an Agatha Christie play, was an entertaining novella that fans fully enjoyed. The second "Agatha light" tale, THE UNEXPECTED GUEST, is an entertaining story that continues to stays true to the twists that became the trademark of the great Ms. Christie. Charles Osborne does a brilliant conversion that will please fans of the famous novelist and bring in new readers who will hunt for one-hundred per cent pure Christie works.

Harriet Klausner
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 May 2002
Format: Paperback
Penned in only four weeks this Agatha Christie murder mystery was originally written as a play in 1958, but has recently been adapted as a novel by Charles Osborne. It was written, it seemed, to answer back the critics who had slated her previous play, 'Verdict' and was a big success at the time.
It centres around the grim discovery made by a traveller in South Wales called Michael Starkwedder ('I know it's an unusual name'). After apparently driving his car into a ditch one misty night and stumbling into a nearby house to get help, he finds the body of a murdered man slumped in his wheelchair, and his dazed wife standing in the same room holding a gun. Open and shut case right ? Come on, this is an Agatha Christie tale !
Before you know it a whole host of suspects to this crime emerge (both inside the household and out) and through this maze of deception and trickery the earnest Inspector Thomas and his dreamy sidekick Sergeant Cadwallader (who rather annoyingly keeps quoting poetry) must somehow find the truth.
The murdered man, Richard Warwick, a one-time big game hunter in Africa, had no shortage of enemies, as his disability turned him into a less than endearing character. But who could have been driven to murder him ? His wife Laura Warwick ? Heaven knows she was sorely tested by Richard, but what about MacGregor, the father of a child that Richard had accidentally killed a few years before when he lived in Norfolk ? Can he be traced even ?
Other suspects include the housekeeper, the rather evasive Miss Bennett, a sub-normal boy called Jan, who has a fascination for guns, and Richard's nurse-attendant, Angell. Even Richard's mother, the rather strident Mrs Warwick senior does not seem unduly upset.
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