Black Coffee: Novelisation

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9780006511373: Black Coffee: Novelisation

In the first novel to appear since 1976, Hercule Poirot returns to bring his "little grey cells" to bear on one last case.In spring 1934, Poirot is summoned to Surrey, by England's most prominent physicist, Sir Claud Amory. Amory fears that someone in his household is attempting to steal his latest discovery, a formula critical to England's defense. Poirot, with Captain Hastings at his side, rushes to Surrey, but arrives too late. Amory has died, his formula is missing, and anyone in his country house, full of relatives and guests, could have been responsible.

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Review:

Subtitled A 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 defense 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 suddenly and mysteriously dead. Amory himself turns out to have been not quite 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

From the Publisher:

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A bauble for Christie buffs." --San Jose Mercury News

"A welcome addition to the Christie canon...Lively and stimulating, like a fine black coffee." --Publishers Weekly

"Intricate, knockout plotting...A fast, entertaining read." --Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Deliciously old-fashioned...For a gracious pick-me-up, it's just what the butler ordered." --People

"Lively and light-hearted." --London Sunday Telegraph

"Undeniably appealing." --The Wall Street Journal

"A brilliant rendition." --Midwest Book Review

"Great fun." --Arizona Daily Star

"A first-rate job." --Indianapolis Star

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