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Black Coffee Mass Market Paperback – Sep 15 1999


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (Sept. 15 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312970072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312970079
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 10.7 x 17.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #428,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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HERCULE POIROT SAT AT breakfast in his small agreeably cosy flat in Whitehall Mansions. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Anyone who respects Christie would understand that she wrote BLACK COFFEE as a play (her first) - and, in the theatre, its a sort of minor masterpiece. She often would adapt her novels into plays herself, and occassionaly, vice-versa. She did not choose to 'novelize' Black Coffee - because it belongs in the theatre. (same is true of Unexpected Guest and Spider's Web) Now, we have dreary, hackish "novel' versions of these, of which Christie would doubtless disapprove, written with NO sense of the stage (ie the dialogue is NOT the most important element), a tin ear, and, worse, idiotic 'improvements'. Its sad that people can ransack a dead author's work. Sadder still the estate allows it. On the page, however, it is not as bad as the truly awful audiobook version, with a half-dozen risable accents.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Charles Osborne writes the novel "Black Coffee" as an adaptation of Agatha Christie's original play. This is a typical Hercule Poirot mystery with Poirot being called to the home of Sir Claud Amory, a scientist who suspects that someone in his household is trying to steal his secret formula. Poirot arrives just after Sir Claud is poisoned. He knows that the killer had to be someone in the room so he begins his investiation of the the four family members and two others who might be involved. The usual red herrings are thrown out before Poirot reveals the real culprit. This is an average Christie story and doesn't contain any of the clever twists that distinguish her best work.
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By A Customer on March 13 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book failed in many areas. There was no plot, no suprise ending, no engaging characters. But to explain subsquent terms, the book lacks developement. Personally, I like a book that is straightfowrd, simple and doesn't waste time, and I like suprise ending's and such. Although this book was simple and straightfoward and only took me a day to read, perhaps it was TOO simple and straightfoward. Like I said no suprise ending, no plot or great characters. If you don' believe me read it for yourself.
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Format: Hardcover
Since I've never seen the script of the original (1930) play, I cannot comment on the similarity between that script and Charles Osborne's conversion of the play into a novel.

What I can say, is that - IMO - this is a highly commendable piece of fiction (for those who enjoy Agatha Christie-type murder mysteries). Furthermore, unlike his later later play-to-novel conversion "Spider's Web", this text reads like a genuine novel, NOT like a hastily edited play script.

Of course it isn't a perfect example of a 100% genuine Christie novel. Christie was a far more talented writer than her later critics like to admit, and therefore not as easily imitated as one might expect.

In this case, the text occasionally becomes a little too heavy-handed, and the plotting isn't as nearly dense or labyrinthine as in an original Christie novel.

As to giving the game away, I personally prefer to read this kind of book as an entertainment rather than a MENSA examination, and as such I must confess that the passage in question passed almost unnoticed and in no way spoiled my enjoyment.

So "E" for effort to Mr Osborne for this workman-like pastiche. A "lite" but enjoyable read and well worth the price.
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By A Customer on Aug. 10 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well, Osborne broke the fundamental, essential rule of mystery writing. Never give away the murderer, at least so early into the story.
It's astounding. I kept expecting some kind of twist at the end to account for that "slip up" and was shocked to discover that there was none!
Unbelievable.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The mystery was excellent, a classic Agatha Christie plot. A mystery where even the least likely person is suspicious and you really don't have ANY idea whom to suspect. It could be him, or her...or him, but it's probably her, no HER... The only downfall? It's not written in Christie's style. It has some classic Poirot references like "the little gray cells" and what not, but the writing style is obviously not hers. It's more adjectival almost...if that makes sense. But an altogether fantastic mystery.
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By CMBohn on May 17 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many of the other reviews already said it, what a waste. They should have kept it a play. After all, I've read "The Mousetrap" and "Witness for the Prosecution" as plays, and enjoyed them. But this was so painfully drawn out. The characters were one-dimensional, Poirot was a cariacture of himself, and I guessed the murderer before anyone even died! I didn't give it one star, because it would probably be better if you've never read any Christie, and didn't know the difference.
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Format: Hardcover
...This is a novelization of play by Agatha Christie. And like many novelizations of both plays and screenplays it reads too much like the author took the stage directions and just translated them into prose (Poirot exits stage left while Hastings enters stage right becomes "As Poirot left the room by the garden door, Hastings entered the room by the hall door.") I usually don't read novelizations for this very reason. It seems that most of these things never delve any deeper than the movie or play. In this case the novel takes place in one room, just a the play did, which is very limiting. On top of that, the mystery is not very mysterious...this plot is has been used before in a previous Christie novel.
I'd recommend a pass on this book unless you've read every other Poirot mystery and really hanker for one more.
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