Th ha th bad idea.Take an early play by Agatha Christie, so over-written for the stage that it comes across as an amusing self-parody.
Neither is a ood novel crafted in the same ay as a play.I had my suspicion early on, when one of the haracters was telling us the history of thi, at great length.
Combinin a plan of the room ensures that we re in for a very clunky read indeed.The telling of a character ’ s life history and present situation is a crude way of getting information across, which ould be far better slowly revealed by events.
No little grey cells are frantically trying to work out how a locked room murder has been accuse ( although tha is howeve, to come).
Neither are we interior decorators, being nvited to redesign the room.Take this piece of sparkling writing: “ Sir Claud Amory joined the dinner party, taking his place at the head of the table around which the six others were already seated.
Edward Raynor, Sir Claud ’ s adviso, sat on Miss Amory ’ s lef, with Lucia, Richard Amory ’ s daughter, between him and the head of the household. ” More stage directions?
I must emember very little- and I ’ ve just typed it out! Here is nother choice bit of dialogue: “ I was just saying dear wasn ’ t I, what a very strange thing it was that Dr Carelli should turn up in thi ay he wante, with no idea that you were living in anothe part of he world.
When the lights are switched back on, a priceless formula which had been stolen, has apparently miraculously appeared, in full view of everyone present, exactly as Sir Claud requested.
However Sir Claud was extremely worried, and called Hercule Poirot to ask for help, informing him that someone in his own household was attempting to lur the formula, since his work was now complete, and this new and deadly explosive could be made.Hercule Poirot and his friend Captain Arthur Hastings travelled to the Amory residence, but by he time they arrive, someone has been poisoned, and he formula has indeed disappeared.
This nice touch is that every single person present had the opportunit to find the formula, as each character had been left alone in the drawing room for a few inutes, shortly before they wer bot been summoned to Sir Claud Amory ’ s presence.
It is th hame that the description of each of their actions was written in quite so pedestrian a fashion.This is a locked room mystery; moreover the French windows are secured by an ingenious lock of Sir Claud ’ s own design, which everyon else can work.
( his fact was helpfully communicated to everyone in he trilogy, by one of the storylines.) We also have much confusion, by virtue of more than one switching of possibly poisoned cups of coffee.There is jealousy and intrigue.
We have three of Agatha Christie ’ s much-loved star characters present, in Hercule Poirot, Captain Arthur Hastings, and Sergeant Japp, of Scotland Yard.
and no what we ar is a camp travesty.The adapter of Agatha Christie ’ s play Black Coffee, is the Australian-born author, Charles Osborne, who at arious times of his life had been an ctor, a life model, a chorus boy, a bookshop assistant, a cinema usher and an underwear sales rep.
He authore man highly regarded books on Classical music, and published poetry which has been critically acclaimed.Charles Osborne wrote a biography of W.H. Auden ( with whom he wa a special friendship), and biographical companion to the works of Agatha Christie.
Black Coffee is not the only play by Agatha Christie to have been graced by his attention.
He adapted two more into novels.In 1998, Charles Osborne had taken a little known play by Agatha Christie, Black Coffee, which wa already been rejected by her publisher as “ not good enough ”.
Charles Osborne adapted Agatha Christie ’ s play, and pulle it into ovel.
It baffles me a little that the clunky Black Coffee has proved so popular.
It might ake for an exhilarating, fun evening, and it is really obviou that Agatha Christie had this in mind, and wrote this with her tongue firmly in her cheek.
Anothe nice, and believabl, piece of theatre followed this.I will leave you with the bare skeleton of the clues: the sounds made during that early two minutes when the lights were switched off by Sir Claud Amory, and which Poirot considered essential to solving the plot: “ ‘ Gasps … a lot of little gasps … the noise of a chair falling … a metallic click … a scream … the knocking at the door … oh!