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Black Coffee (Hercule Poirot #7)

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  6,789 ratings  ·  371 reviews
A full-length Hercule Poirot novel, adapted from Agatha Christie’s stage play by Charles Osborne

Sir Claud Amory’s revolutionary new formula for a powerful explosive is stolen. Locking his house-guests in the library, Sir Claud switches off the lights to allow the thief to replace the formula, no questions asked. When the lights come on, he is dead, and Hercule Poirot and C
208 pages
Published 2002 (first published 1930)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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"‘George,’ he called, ‘please take my heavy tweed suit and my dinner jacket and trousers to the cleaners. I must have them back by Friday, as I am going to the Country for the Weekend.’ He made it sound like the Steppes of Central Asia and for a lifetime."
Tweed? No, I to Poirot in tweeds.

I am all in favour of fan fiction, especially when it is done well. Unfortunately, Black Coffee fell flat on so many counts.
What is, in my opinion, even worse is that the book was authorised, even c
I picked up this book with low expectations. In fact, if I wasn't such an awful completist I would have skipped this little outlier altogether. Being merely an adaptation of Agatha Christie's foray into playwriting, it lacks the Dame's impeccable style. It's too heavy on dialogue, and sometimes is too deceptively easy to figure out. I'm saying "deceptively" because after all it is still Christie's storyline. Surprisingly, it was an enjoyable light read. Perhaps not on the level of her average wo ...more
Jun 16, 2012 A~lotus rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers
Recommended to A~lotus by: No one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Carter
“The first Poirot novel in twenty years” says the blurb. Except it isn’t twenty years, since Christie’s contribution was done in 1930; and it isn’t a novel, it’s a novelisation. And it’s a novelisation done by someone without the courage (and perhaps the talent) to make changes to the play. When Christie turned The Hollow into a play she kicked Poirot out of it altogether because it made a better play. I’m not suggesting that Osborne should have removed Poirot, but he should have managed somehow ...more
I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie and have read virtually everything she ever wrote so I felt drawn to this book. Black Coffee was written as a play but Agatha Christie never actually turned it into a novel for whatever reason. This book was written as a novel several years after her death by Charles Osborne and I think it is plain to see. Although the plot is the same the Christie polish is missing.
This book does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as any of Agatha Christie's actual
Book Concierge
The seventh work by Christie to feature retired Belgian detective Hercule Poirot was written as a play, after Christie had been dissatisfied with the dramatization of an earlier work and decided she would write a play herself. Some twenty years after her death, former actor Charles Osborne was hired by her heirs to novelize the work.

Hercule Poirot is asked to come to the country estate of Sir Claud Amory to unmask the traitor in his midst. Amory is a famous scientist and has been working on a f
For an avid Agatha Christie fan, I remember being so excited--a "new" book!

And then I read it. It was based on a play Christie wrote--an early play. Too many elements reminded me of other, better novels (actually written by Dame Agatha Christie herself). There were no surprises, no Christie prose; Poirot didn't sound or act like *my* Poirot, and Hastings wasn't Hastings. The language was terribly forced; putting stage directions into a paragraph does not a novel make.

Don't care if Osborne is an
Agatha Christie did not write this book. She wrote it as a play and then 68 years later Charles Osborne, the foremost and in my opinion a very poor Christie 'expert', came along and turned it into this godawful mess of a novel. For someone who is supposed to be a Christie aficionado, he clearly has little to no knowledge of the basics of Christie's characters and their personal idiosyncrasies.

For example, at a key part of the story, Hercule Poirot's sidekick Captain Arthur Hastings eavesdrops o
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
Black Coffee by Agatha Christie was first written as play in 1929 then novelized in 1930. And it truly is a masterpiece mystery. Hercule Poirot is slightly bored until he gets a call from Sir Claude Amory. He believes that his new formula is going to be stolen by a member in his household. Shortly before dinner on Friday, Sir Claude checks his safe - the formula is gone. He makes a quick call to London. After dining, Sir Claude, his family, his secretary, and and an Italian Doctor move into the ...more
Bruna Prior
Abaixo da média do que eu considero um bom romance policial.
Embora se trate de uma adaptação de um texto que originalmente era uma peça, adaptação esta feita não por Agatha Christie, mas sim por seu biógrafo Charles Osborne, não acredito que meu desagrado decorra totalmente disto, pois não vi muitos prejuízos de linguagem e estilo em relação aos textos originais da Rainha do Crime. De fato, achei o texto ruim, entruncado e irregular, tendo bastantes momentos ruins de início, no qual se percebia
Ehm. Okay. First things first: skip the first chapter. This is a novelization of Christie's play, and the first chapter is the only thing that is completely the novelization's author's creation. And boy, does it show! It doesn't match Christie's writing at all. Poirot says something as thoroughly British as: "I do beg your pardon, my dear George." It also refers to Poirot as a snob who is predisposed to like people who have lofty titles, when he always approaches people as people first, treating ...more
I think this did not translate well from play to novel, there were some scenes that I thought would be fine on stage, but seemed weedy in text form. I also felt that it was very obviously not written by Christie (it was novelised by Charles Osbourne), Hastings in particular just seemed slightly "off" to me. As well as this, I did not find the mystery particularly captivating.

Annoyingly, on my edition (9780006511373) this is listed as being before Lord Edgware Dies, but Poirot refernces that case
This is a novelization of a play by Agatha Christie. The adapter, however, is not Agatha Christie and does not have her skills. The writing is clunky at best and the characters are stereotypes through and through. It's a testament to Christie's original plot though that this is essentially enjoyable if taken on its own terms as a simple, conventional English-country-house mystery.
Nov 08, 2012 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary mysteries
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
Belgian private detective Hercule Poirot and his friend and detecting partner Captain Arthur Hastings receive an urgent call for help from renowned physicist Sir Claud Amory. Sir Claud is absolutely convinced that a member of his own household is attempting to steal a secret formula created by Sir Claud, and destined for use by the Ministry of Defense. Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings travel to Sir Claud's sprawling mansion, only to discover that the famed physicist has been poisoned by his a ...more
This was kind of disappointing in that it was a novelization of one of AC's plays rather than a novel that she wrote (which I didn't realize until I had already gotten the book from the library. Also I accidentally got the large print version which was rather annoying and I could have read it from 3 room away, but that was no one's fault but my own). The story was decent, but as someone who has read a bunch of her books, I could tell it wasn't written by her. Most, if not all, of the books that ...more
Well I should definitely start a straight Queen Agatha shelf on here as she is definitely one of my favorites and I always know on a library crawl that ANY one of her books will be concise, entertaining and a three star read or better, this one was no exception..With the detective stylings of the incomparable Hercule Poirot and his sidekick Hastings this mystery involves what Agatha does best, introducing you to all the suspects then placing them in a situation where they are all suspects with a ...more
A very different type of Hercule Poirot book.

The murder is this time narrated in third person and, rather than us arriving with Poirot and Hasting as per usual, we actually witness the murder as it happens.
But that doesn't mean that it is clear who the murderer is!

A fine mystery, with a rather cosy and mysterious atmosphere; yet the plot in itself was a little easier to disentangle.
Catherine Ryan
Although some people do not like this book, since it isn't really by Christie - it's a novelization from a stage play written by Charles Osbourne - I thought it was a really good adaptation. It had a flavour of Christie to it. I admit there were some scenes and quotes which were more or less taken from Agatha's first ever novel (Mysterious Affair at Styles) but I really enjoyed it.
Within the first several pages, I recognized a difference in style from the other Agatha Christie books I have read: namely, after several pages, I was not yet engrossed in the story. A closer look at the title page gave me my answer. This is not an Agatha Christie novel. It is an Agatha Christie play that has been adapted into a novel. Personally, I would much rather read it as a play. As it is, in many places it reads almost as stage directions, so clearly that I found it painfully awkward.

The novel Black Coffee is an adaptation of the play Black Coffee written by Agatha Christie. I'd highly recommend first time readers of Mrs. Christie not pick this one up first. And that's what I've got to say about that.
Don't get me wrong, I love Agatha Christie novels. I enjoy Hercule Poirot books especially.


It was written as a play, and reads more like a play than a classical Christie novel. The dialogue is lacking and description is less rich- obviously the actors are supposed to bring life to the emotions rather than having a clear picture in our minds as most of Agatha Christie's novels inspire one to imagine. This book was published after Christie's death with an e
This was the first time I'd read Christie, and I did enjoy it. It was interesting, and I found the characters very engaging. I hope to read more Agatha Christie soon :)
brian dean
Another one I have trouble justifying the number of stars I gave it. The plot devices and tropes probably weren't cliche' when the story was written.

Still, this was a simple book that in another's hands would not be merely so simple. The key points and plot requirements are effortlessly set up so the murderer (somewhat of a surprise) could be caught.

The one problem with the shortness of the book is that the murderer's backstory was not filled in enough. I read the book quickly but not quickly en
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luc Williams
Disappointing. While it's great to get another Christie tale; and a nice chance to experience some of her lesser known work (since many of us will never get an opportunity to catch a production of the play), the effort here falls flat -- very flat. Three main beefs. (1) The author chosen to translate the play to the page, Charles Osborn, made no real effort to capture Christie's novel voice. What we have here is essentially the stage play, including stage instructions, strung together in paragra ...more
Kristi Richardson
This is a novelization of a play written by Agatha Christie updated by Charles Osborne in 1998. If you appreciate Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective than you should be happy with this work.

The story revolves around Sir Claud Amory asking Mr. Poirot to visit him as he believes someone in his family has stolen his formula for a dangerous weapon he has been working on. Richard Amory, his son who can't seem to earn money and his new wife Lucia Amory, a beautiful Italian orphan girl who is hiding
In my desperation for new Hercule Poirot stories, I discovered this novelization of an Agatha Christie play starring her Belgium detective. In terms of story, it was almost everything I've come to love from our dear Agatha, although, as the title implies, coffee instead of tea. But this is, literally, a classic example of a British drawing room mystery (as all the action takes place in just such a room). However, despite our wonderful old friends and a suitably clever mystery, the novelization i ...more
I am disappointed. I knew I would, but not as much as I am now. He went on describing the characteristics afresh as Christie did at the onset of the series to introduce them to us and there seemed to be no end to the stereotypical dialogues and commentary on type casted accounts of each other. There was a reason, now I strongly agree, for it was written as a play. There were so many unnecessary things getting in between much to the reader's exasperation if one has read a great deal of Hercule Po ...more
As I was reading this book, I started to remember having seen the movie - although I cannot quite recall, what actors were actually in it - and that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Did not, however, remember the outcome which was a blessing. Even though the number of culprits were limited, it still turned into a vivid read, of a book I simply could not put down. I so love reading Agatha Christie novels and, of course, both of her fictional inventions, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
The writing style of
Jules Goud
First off, I would just like to say that this novel is a little bit different from Christie's other novels. It was written as a play and then Charles Osborne made it into a novel so there were some differences.

I was getting the play vibe from this novel. The setting was pretty much in one room in the house so as I was reading "Black Coffee", I was picturing a stage with the room and where all of the characters would come off and on.

Because Osborne adapted this as a novel, his interpretations of
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Charles Thomas Osborne is a journalist, theatre and opera critic, poet and novelist. He was assistant editor of The London Magazine from 1958 until 1966, literature director of the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1971 until 1986, and chief theatre critic of Daily Telegraph (London) from 1986 to 1991. He is the only author the Agatha Christie Estate has ever allowed to produce adapted works in h ...more
More about Charles Osborne...

Other Books in the Series

Hercule Poirot (1 - 10 of 43 books)
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)
  • The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot, #2)
  • Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot, #3)
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4)
  • The Big Four (Hercule Poirot, #5)
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train (Hercule Poirot, #6)
  • Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot, #8)
  • Lord Edgware Dies (Hercule Poirot, #9)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)
  • Three Act Tragedy (Hercule Poirot, #11)

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“Poirot thought it not quite professional to begin a routine working day before ten.” 7 likes
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