Black Coffee: Novelisation Hardcover – 2 Nov 1998
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
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
‘A lively and light-hearted read which will give pleasure to all those who have long wished that there was just one more Christie to devour’
Antonia Fraser, Sunday Telegraph
‘Reads like authentic, vintage Christie. I feel sure Agatha would be proud to have written it’
Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie’s grandson
‘A worthy addition to the Christie canon’
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great to come across a newish Poirot. Turning the play into a novel was an excellent idea and it's an interesting read with all the action taking place in the one roomPublished 5 months ago by John
Not a terrible attempt at writing a novel based on Christies source material (the play of the same name). Read morePublished 5 months ago by M Cunningham
Don,t like this one , supposed to be like Agatha Christie but there is something missing and it doesn't grip you enough to make you want to keep on reading itPublished 6 months ago by Mrs. E. T. Currie Elizabeth. T. Currie
My favourite crime author!! I love the way she brings characters together and keeps me guessing about the culprit until the lasy page!!Published 8 months ago by claire fitzpatrick
I sort of liked this, but I really think you can tell it is written by someone else, not Agatha Christie herself. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Chris Miller