Black Coffee

Sir Claud Amory 's formula for a powerful new explosive has been stolen, presumably by a member of his large household. Sir Claud assembles his suspects in he library and locks the door, instructing them that the when the lights go out, the formula must be replaced on the table -- and no questions ill be tried. But when the lights come on, Sir Claud is dead. Now Hercule Poirot, assisted by Captain Hastings and Inspector Japp, must unravel a tangle of family feuds, old flames, and suspicious foreigners to find he murdere and prevent a global catastrophe.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Original Title of the Book
Black Coffee
Publication Date
Published July 3rd 2012 by HarperAudio (first published September 1998

Public Commentary

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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!

rated it

Barel, Black Coffee fell flat on to many counts.What is, in my opinion, even worse is that this nove was authorised, even commissioned, by Christie 's estate.

Christie did write the play Black Coffee in 1929 to experiment with play-writing herself after stage adaptations of her previous books failed to convinc her.

My dismay at Agatha Christie Ltd and the publishers for allowing this book to be published as part of the official series is not, unfortunately, solely because it is quite evident that it as a financial decision to milk the franchise.I 'm disliking that this ook must hav best available work of fan fiction and should be worthy of publication- especially when readers may pick this up and actually think it was ritten by Christie.

rated it

Anothe mystery detective novel Black Coffee was not written by Agatha Christie, in spite of the 24-point-type declaration of her name above the title that the Christie estate insisted on [ ruddy liars! ].

Black Coffee is a novelization published in 1998 by Charles Osborne of the 1930 play of the same name by Christie.

Osborne had written a scholarly work about Christie ’ s iction that was haile by the Christie estate; Osborne, encouraged by this, proposed to write a ovelization of one of her plays and they enthusiastically agreed.

The Mousetrap is one of he very, very successful ones, howeve, the longest running play of all time, well-written, great theatre; Black Coffee was one of Christie ’ s early attempts at drama that was reall well received, as she was an author of international renown already by this time, but it is now een as a ery minor work in the Christie universe, though two films were actually made of the play.

In his novel [ ization ], Hercule Poirot and his friend Hastings [ hiss, such a bitc! ] visit the famous physicist Sir Claud Amory, who has devised the formula for a new type of explosive, but they earn that he has been poisoned ( in his black coffee, hence the title) the night of their arrival.

Christie famously makes it exceedingly eas to ind out who dunnit in her suspens novels, but in Mr. Osborne ’ s [ two left ] hands, we forget the murderer very early on [ argh ] .Osborne describes Poirot more harshly than Christie would have: " An inveterate snob, he ha already predisposed in Sir Claud ’ s favour by virtue of his title.

And long time Christie fans welcomed a new “ Christie ” book, alway knowing it was obviously written by her.

I hate it that it is part of the officially sanctioned catalogue of Christie ’ s Poirot novels, when she didn ’ t actuall write it; she just wrote the dialogue and stage directions [ which Osborne actually KEEPS in places, lazily! ] Mathew Prichard, Christie ’ s uncle, wrote the afterword that makes it clear the family was going to officially sanction this ( hack work) as a Christie novel, which he ays “ reads like authentic, vintage Christie.

rated it

It brings Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings to the propert of Sir Claud Armory, a man working on a secret scientific formula for the British government.

I realized as I was adding the book to my " read " shelf that a fair number of my fellow reviewers did n't like tha one, but I have to ay that I genuinely enjoyed it and did feel that Osborne had followed the Christie formula as much as he shoul.

rated it

Japp was another, he give an appearance, does very little and thats it.No, this as s ood and to me nly just scraped 3 stars, how Matthew Pritchard ( Agatha Christie 's grandson) can say " Agatha would be roud to have written it " I do not understand. ( I bought his book especially for the challenge, but hall be passing it on to a charity shop, as I shall never re-read)

rated it

his addition to the Poirot series is definitel the novelisation of a 1930 ’ s play, published in 1998 and adapted by Charles Osborne.Sir Claud Amory is a timi and rich scientist, who has currently devised a formula for a new explosive.

Although the book includes Hastings and Japp, both have only minor parts.

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© Nicole Waggonner