An unpublished full-length Hercule Poirot novel by Agatha Christie, adapted from her play by Charles Osborne
Sir Claud Amory has discovered the formula for a new powerful explosive, which is stolen by one of the large household of relatives and friends. Locking everyone in the library, Sir Claud switches off the lights to allow the thief to replace the formula on the table, no questions asked. When the lights come on, he is dead, and Hercule Poirot – joined by old favourites Hastings and Inspector Japp – try to unravel a traditional Christie spy-cum-murder thriller in which we learn of family feuds, old flames and suspicious foreigners, which is all resolved in typically unexpected fashion.
BLACK COFFEE was Agatha Christie’s first play, first performed in 1930. It was made into a now rarely-seen film the following year. Now Charles Osborne, author of THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF AGATHA CHRISTIE, has written a novel based on the play. Combining Agatha Christie’s typically labyrinthine plot and sparkling dialogue with Osborne’s faithful narrative, this is truly a ‘new’ Agatha Christie novel for the millennium!
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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. CrouchReview:
‘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’
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Book Description St Martins Pr, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 2326620