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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 29 November 2010
I sought this book out because I have never had chance to see the play 'The Mousetrap'(I live overseas and the play is never available here, to my chagrin). I enjoy reading plays because you are immersed in the action and they have an immediacy not available in a novel.

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.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 August 2011
This excellent selection of plays by Agatha Christie includes four of her plays; "And Then There Were None", "Appointment with Death", "The Hollow", and her famous "The Mousetrap". The book includes information on the original productions, but sadly no introduction. All plays have very detailed stage directions.

"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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on 11 March 2016
Nothing wrong with the script, but I wasted my money. Having enjoyed this play at the theatre I wanted to propose it to my amateur dramatic group. However, due to the tradition of keeping the ending secret, you won't get a license to perform it as an amateur.
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on 28 May 2011
Although I am a great fan of Agatha Cristie's novels, and enjoyed having seen The Mousetrap on the stage, I find that reading the plays does not give the same excitement and sense of suspence. The detailed stage directions spoil the spontaneity of action and make boring reading. However, on the stage the plays would come alive and provide an exciting evening.
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on 22 February 2013
I was VERY disappointed when I received this book. It was advertised on Amazon as including other works by Agatha Christie, but in fact only includes the one.
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on 14 July 2007
I would only recommend this book to avid Agatha Christie fans, who like me need to read this book to complete their collection. All four stories are excellent, with the carefully crafted plots you would come to expect from Christie. However written in play format they don't read so easily and the heavy stage directions disrupt the flow of the narrative. I would recommend that you read the individual novels for a more enjoyable reading experience.
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on 6 August 2012
I did not realise this book was written as a play. It might have been written up as such, but not obvious enough to see. I just wanted the novel to read before I go and see the play.
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on 9 January 2014
I had tickets to take my daughter to London to see the play as her christmas present - this was a lovely "Taster" and ticket holder. She is going to read it after we have seen in the play. I have given this 5 stars and it seems a nice little book and there is nothing about it to lower the score
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on 22 September 2010
The play was enjoyable enough and I can image with the right casting and direction the play might be good fun to watch. The problem is the plot structure it is weak to say the least. My personal thoughts are that the unfolding drama would have been considerably different if the character Major Metcalf was not such an incompetent. The events of the play could not unfold as they do unless that one particular character was such a complete ass, which is to say that the structure of the play is rather contrived and detracts from the pleasure of reading it. If I had paid for the price of a theatre ticket I'd probably feel annoyed unless the actual production quality was sufficient to distract me from the failings of the underlying story.
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on 17 March 2013
considering how old this book was (1970) - it arrived in really good condition. Stories in the book are only as Agatha Christie and very few others can - first class
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