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Black Coffee (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – 15 Sep 1999

3.7 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, 15 Sep 1999
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 3rd ed. edition (15 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312970072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312970079
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 2.1 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,221,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Subtitled "A New Hercule Poirot Novel", Black Coffee is actually an Agatha Christie play recrafted as a book meant to be read rather than seen on the stage. The story was first produced in 1930, and Charles Osborne has done little to it except string the dialogue and stage directions together in paragraph form. Christie loyalists will welcome and applaud his dedication to the original, but it does seem as though he could have given it a bit more flair. Still, Poirot himself, bumbling Captain Hastings, and obsequious George are all in good form and it is amusing to find them engaged in another adventure, with an interesting assortment of possible murderers, blackmailers, and innocent (if suspicious) bystanders.

The novel opens as Poirot receives a summons at his breakfast table from England's premier physicist, Sir Claud Amory. Busy working on a new formula necessary for England's defence in the second world war, Amory suspects a member of his household of espionage. Of course, by the time Poirot and sidekick Hastings arrive at the scientist's country house, he is mysteriously dead. Amory himself turns out to have been not so nice, and his family, regardless of his scientific efforts, is pretty pleased with the new state of affairs. Still, Poirot manages both to save the more amiable members of the household from themselves and to protect the secrets of the British Empire. The novel is warmly evocative of another time and place and a welcome reminder of vintage Christie. --K.A. Crouch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Poirot ... is lively and stimulating, like a fine black coffee, in this welcome addition to the Christie canon." -- "Publishers Weekly"

Poirot ... is lively and stimulating, like a fine black coffee, in this welcome addition to the Christie canon. "Publishers Weekly""

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 15 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
I normally enjoy Hercule Poirot books, but I was distressed to find this one a hughly disapointing read. Admitedly it was not written in this form by Christie herself but the foreword disribes it as vintage Christie and with this I cannot agree. The underlying structure is based upon the original play of the same name, and this is visible throughout as it frequently feels that you are reading a play with the actions as stage directions. The characters behave in ways that are out of sympathy with their actions in the novels written by Christie herself and the plot is not convincing. To my mind it would have been better to let the novel remain unwritten than to butcher it in this manner. If you enjoy the works of Agatha Christie in any form avoid this one.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I saw this play many years ago and it was brilliant. Why Osborne felt the need to retell it in novel form, and why his publishers agreed to it, is anyone's guess. It makes for a dull and tedious listen and much of the narrative seems to be lifted straight from the stage directions. Avoid.
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Format: Paperback
VERY disappointing. This is written by a different author and is just an adaptation of a play by Christie. Have just read the first 5 pages of Peril at End House (the next REAL Christie book) and you can immediately tell it is a different author. Shame on Chrisitie's executors and publisher for allowing such a poor imitation to be published. In short don't buy this book. You have been warned!!!
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Format: Paperback
This is an interesting read - a novelization of a Christie play where Poirot is called to investigate a potential case of espionage but which turns quickly to a murder situation. Osborne makes a good job of emulating Christie's style, and the personalities of Poirot and Hastings are spot on.

It does however read like an adaptation, Osborne has taken no liberties at all it seems, so almost the entire book takes place in one room. The actions are described just like in a script, obviously necessary for the reader to see the clues, but it could have been better disguised.

It's very short as a novel, even for a Christie, and I read through it in a couple of hours at most. As such, it doesn't give the reader a lot of time to consider what has happened and try to solve the mystery themselves. I imagine on the stage it has an interval which serves this purpose. There are several rather distracting references to Poirot's other cases - presumably a stage tactic to sell books - which seem out of place, especially as one of them (afaik) had not been published when this play was written, and so I have not yet read it.

Overall, it was an okay read, but nothing special. I could easily visualise it on the stage, however, and think it was probably better suited to its original medium.
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Format: Kindle Edition
In the play version, I'm sure there's a stage direction mentioning when the murder occurs. I'm also sure that stage business is intended to distract you from that. Showing the murder happens works on the stage, where you can distract the audience, keep them baffled, and if by chance they do see it, they feel clever.

Simply telling us who the murderer is and how he did it at the point he did it does not work in an Agatha Christie story. It's rather appallingly badly handled - the description - removing the name of the murderer - is something along the lines of "[Censored] tipped the poison into the coffee, their face turning into one of devilish glee."

If that was cut, it'd have been a fairly good, albeit a bit workmanlike adaptation. As it is, I can't really recommend it to any fans of Agatha Christie's work, and those who aren't fans have so many better books to choose from, like Appointment with Death
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Format: Hardcover
I was looking forward to reading this,but was disappointed with it,the book read and sounded like the play it was and was also very stilted too,and the characters didnt gel with me either,so I think I will stick to re-reading Agatha Christie's books,as they are the real thing.and the best crime books ever written in her times and even now they still stand up,crime after all is still crime,whatever decade we live in.......
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Predictably, perhaps, this 'novel' reads like a playscript. It only lacked 'enters stage left', etc. While the plot was traditional Christie, I was more and more irritated by characters entering and exiting through the numerous doors, ensuring that the 'stage' was never left empty. As an adaptation of a play, it was a lazy and uninspiring piece of writing. Unless, like me, you want to tick it off your 'Christie List', don't bother reading this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The mistake is trying to 'do' Christie, The author was very familiar with her work and Poirot but didn't quite manage to pull this off. I would have known within a few lines this wasn't a genuine Christie. It wasn't too bad against the brief but I'm not sure the brief was a good one.
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