Book Review: Black Coffee, by Agatha Christie, novelization by Charles Osborne

I am a big fan of the author Agatha Christie, and without a doubt, I consider her to be one of the best authors in the genre of crime fiction. From the many sleuths she has created, I admire Hercule Poirot, and his character. This book was a play, initially, and it was adapted into a novel by Charles Osborne. As such, this is the first Hercule Poirot novel that’s not written by Christie that I am reading.

Sir Claud Amory is a famous scientist and inventor. He calls Hercule Poirot to tell him that he has discovered a formula for a powerful new explosive, and that he is afraid for its safety. He fears it will be stolen by someone staying in his own house, and as such, wants Poirot to come and transport the formula back to someone at the Ministry. Things do take a turn as expected, and the formula is stolen before Poirot can reach. Sir Claud locks the house and prevents anyone from leaving, even going as far as to turn off the lights and giving the thief a chance to return the formula. Darkness turns deadly, and Hercule Poirot enters the house only to realize he is too late, and Sir Claud is no more.

I liked the novel, to be honest. It did feel like a Hercule Poirot novel, even though it was Osborne who wrote it. There is mystery, and there is intrigue. Poirot, though described a little more arrogantly than I feel Christie would have, still has his trying methods that make Hastings irritated. He has an idea of who the perpetrator is, and as such, makes his moves to get that perpetrator caught. He looks at the evidence, analyzes it, and corroborates it with what he gets from the other characters who are witnesses. There is even a false trail that is laid that might confuse a reader new to the Hercule Poirot series, but not one who has read the series before. There are discrepancies too, though. I couldn’t really understand why the Professor himself couldn’t leave his house to get the formula to safety, and I definitely didn’t like Hastings’ character sketch either. It reminded me of his character sketch in The Murder on the Links, so perhaps Osborne took a leaf out of that book.

It is a very good crime fiction, no doubt, but I wouldn’t say that the book is one of the best Hercule Poirot fictions. It makes me wonder how Christie would have written the book.


A Score Of 7 Out Of 10
Book Details
Title: Black Coffee Series: Poirot #7
Author(s): Agatha Christie Genre: Crime Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9780007299515 Publisher: Harper Collins

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.


(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
16th August 2017)

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