Monday, July 19, 2010

Black Coffee


A Hercule Poirot Novel

Adapted by Charles Osborne

Black Coffee was a play written by Agatha Christie in 1930 and staged at the Embassy Theatre and then St Martin's Theatre in London. This novel is an adaptation of the original play, written by Charles Osborne.

Poirot is summonsed to the home of prominent British physicist Sir Claude Amory when Sir Claude comes to believe a potentially devastating formula he has developed is about to be stolen by someone in his household. But even before M. Poirot arrives the formula is stolen and Sir Claude dead, from poisoning. Those present at the time of the murder include many members of Sir Claude's family, none of whom are particularly fond of him, his secretary, household staff and the mysterious Italian stranger, Dr Carelli.

Poirot and his companion Captain Hastings have to sift through the lies and deceit to find the killer.

I really did not enjoy this book, the story yes, perhaps, but not the way it was written. I guess my biggest gripe is that I feel Osborne portrays Poirot as straight out arrogant. We all know he is charming and arrogant, well, probably more self-assured than arrogant, but I think Osborne forgets about the charm. I found myself cringing on occasion, which is never a good thing when you're reading a book.

Although it is apparently endorsed by Agatha Christie's estate, I feel the novel doesn't do Agatha justice. I felt disappointed by it, and I suspect Christie would have been too.

3 comments:

Kerrie said...

I wonder how the play would be? Apart from The Mousetrap I know very little about Agatha Christie as a playwright. You will submit this to the ACRC Carnival won't you Vanda?

Margot Kinberg said...

Vanda - I read this one, too, and I feel, much as you do, that Osborne didn't do the story itself justice. I would have liked to see this one staged; I wonder if Poirot would have come across any differently.

Kerrie said...

Hello Vanda - you should get an email that shows I have submitted this to the next edition of the Agatha Christie Reading Challenege Blog Carnival