The Mousetrap and Selected Plays Paperback – Special Edition, 5 Nov 2001
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From the Back Cover
'The Mousetrap', the longest-running play in the English language, is 50 years old. This special edition comes complete with three other thrillers, showing how Agatha Christie's plays are as compulsive as her novels, their colourful characters and ingenious plots providing yet more evidence of her mastery of the detective thriller.
Being cut off by snowdrifts is not an auspicious beginning, but Molly and Giles Ralston are determined to make a go of their new guest house. But among their first visitors is a maniac with an ambition to murder 'Three Blind Mice'…
'And Then There Were None'
Ten guilty people, brought together on an island in mysterious circumstances, await their sentence…
'Appointment With Death'
The suffocating heat of an exotic Middle-Eastern setting provides a backdrop for murder…
A set of friends convene at a country home where their convoluted relationships mean that any one of them could be a murderer…
About the Author
Agatha Christie was born in Torquay in 1890 and became, quite simply, the best-selling novelist in history. Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, written towards the end of the First World War, introduced us to Hercule Poirot, who was to become the most popular detective in crime fiction since Sherlock Holmes. She is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in over 100 foreign languages. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, 19 plays, and six novels under the name of Mary Westmacott.
Top customer reviews
In 'The Mousetrap' guests are gathered at a new guest house run by an endearing but inexperienced couple. Heavy snow means that the guests are trapped, and all lines of communication with the outside world are unavailable. A local murder is announced on the radio station and a policeman is dispatched (on skis, bless him) to question the guests and discover the murderer, who we are informed is amongst them.
'The Mousetrap' is typical Christie, with a collection of characters, more than one of whom has a secret not fully disclosed to the reader/audience. These small mysteries within a overarching mystery add to the enjoyment of the suspense and the final denouement, as with all Christie, is startling. Stage directions (which are fairly extensive) ensure that the reader can picture Christie's overall scheme for her play and mean that a sense of what the stage would look like is clear. This, for me, added to the enjoyment of the play as much as reading description in a novel.
The other plays in the collection are equally enjoyable and this makes the book a necessary addition to an avid Christie fan's collection.
"And Then There Were None", is based on Christie's 1939 novel, And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie Collection) and it was first produced in 1943. The play is set in the living room of the house on Indian Island, off the coast of Devon, where ten completely different people are lured and trapped. The characters are very well developed and the mystery plot is wonderfully crafted, as they are murdered one by one. This three act play has a cast of eleven characters.
"Appointment with Death", is based on Christie's 1938 novel Poirot - Appointment with Death and it was first produced in 1945. When the tyrannical Mrs. Boynton is found dead, the remaining members of her dysfunctional family suspect each other of the murder. The plot is intriguing and the characters very well developed. This three act play has a cast of eighteen characters. Although I think the play is better than the novel, if you are simply looking for a theatrical adaptation of the novel, you might be disappointed as it has many differences, particularly the lack of the extraordinary Poirot.
"The Hollow", is based on Christie's 1946 novel Poirot - The Hollow and it was first produced in 1951. A weekend gathering at Sir Henry Angkatell's house, The Hollow, about eighteen miles from London turns ugly when one of the guests is murdered. The play is interesting, but in my view, it is the weakest of this selection. This three act play has a cast of twelve characters.
"The Mousetrap", is based on Christie's 1947 short radio play "Three Blind Mice", it was first produced in 1952, and has been running continuously ever since. The play is set in the Great Hall of Monkswell Manor, a guest house. As the owners and the lodgers of Monkswell Manor are snowed in, they realize that a murderer is amongst them. This two act play has a cast of eight characters. The plot is fascinating and the characters well developed, but I think that the play is a bit outdated, and although I liked reading it, I really cannot understand what makes it last so long on stage.
The plays of this book are great and I loved them, but having said that, it is not necessary for someone who loves her novels to enjoy her plays as well.
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