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

4.3 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Physical Audio; Unabridged edition (9 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846070376
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846070372
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not as good as an 'original Christie', because too often it is obvious from the writing that it was written as a play that has been turned into a novel. Some of the sentences are so obviously stage directions. But it is enjoyable for all that. The story starts with a stranger running his car into a ditch on a Welsh road in fog, and going to a nearby house, where he finds a murdered man - and the man's wife standing nearby with a gun in her hand. It seems obvious that she killed him, but that was not Miss Christie's way, and the story turns this way and that, until it seems anyone in the house might have done it. The ending again is so obviously written for the stage, and somewhat contrived, but it is still worth reading this book, even if you do find yourself imagining the characters acting it out in stage as you read it.
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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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