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Black Coffee

(Hercule Poirot #45.5)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  14,433 ratings  ·  962 reviews
Inventor Sir Claude Amory feels a bitter taste in the mouth, when the new formula for explosive material stolen by someone in the household.

In order to quickly remedy the situation, Sir Claude locks the door and turns off the light, giving the thief a chance to return the formula without being detected. But darkness brings death and Hercule Poirot has to untangle family st
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 15th 1999 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published September 1998)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  14,433 ratings  ·  962 reviews

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2019 LISTEN for pleasure (?)
Well I have just finished listening to this, not because I was hoping it would get better but because for various reasons I just wanted to listen to a detective novel (the comfort of being read to) and I happened to have this on my iPod.
In actual fact, it was better than reading the book, not enough to change the 3 star rating (it was about a 3.5 ⭐️) but enough that I don’t think so badly of it.
Hastings is still a parody of his character, and Japp is again just a by
David Schaafsma
Jul 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
The 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 fiction that was praised by the Christie estate; Osborne, encouraged by this, proposed to write a novelization of one of her plays ...more
Bionic Jean
This was a bad idea.

Take an early play by Agatha Christie, so over-written for the stage that it comes across as an amusing self-parody. Select a non-fiction writer, opera expert and erstwhile actor, to turn it into a novel. Result? A frankly embarrassing read. Histrionics and melodrama do not work on the page; or at least not for a modern audience. Neither is a good novel crafted in the same way as a play.

I had my doubts early on, when one of the characters was telling us the history of another
Apr 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
"‘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
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blurb: "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 the 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 will be asked. 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 suspic ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
In 1930, Black Coffee was an Agatha Christie play production that Australian writer Charles Osborne would make into a novelization in 1998. It brings Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings to the estate of Sir Claud Armory, a man working on a secret scientific formula for the British government. In true Christie fashion, the pair arrive just as Sir Claud has been poisioned and every person in the mansion is accused of the crime.

I tell you, Hastings, what we have here is drama! Not a simple, sor
samantha  (books-are-my-life20)
It shows that this was written by Agatha Christie as a play but then adapted into a novel by another not a bad book but very disappointing if you have read any other Agatha Christie stories.
Don't Bother

This was a play written by Agatha Christie that was converted into a novel by Charles Osborne at the request of the Christie Estate. Charles Osborne actually acted in the original play. Unfortunately Osborne's novel is nothing but the dialogue of the play strung together by stage directions. I found it to be very unpleasant to have every little action described in great detail as well as every detail of a room. It was a terribly boring novel and if it hadn't been so short, I probably
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This addition to the Poirot series is really the novelisation of a 1930’s play, published in 1998 and adapted by Charles Osborne.

Sir Claud Amory is a reclusive and rich scientist, who has currently devised a formula for a new explosive. He now fears one of his household is trying to steal the formula and asks Poirot to come and stay and then return to London and give it to the ministry. He catches Poirot at a time when the detective is feeling bored and also at a time when Hastings is visiting L
Sumit RK
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
As a Poirot novel, this one felt very weak in comparison to many others. Maybe, because it was an adaption from a play. The characters are forgettable and there are very few twists. You could even guess the ending. Strictly for Poirot fans.
Nandakishore Varma
Sep 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
A play featuring Hercule Poirot turned into a novel by Charles Osborne. Well, all I can say is, he shouldn't have.
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
At first I was really interested in this book because it wasn't really written by Agatha, like at all. Black Coffee is more like a play adaptation than anything and the only thing you're going to get from Agatha Christie is her name on the cover. Why? Because this book is by Charles Osborne.

Now I will admit that I read other people's review before I wrote my own because I honestly had no idea how to write this one. It's very hard since it wasn't written by Agatha (who's writing I've fallen in lo
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
This book sucked which is why I kicked it to the proverbial curb when I got to 40 pages in. I often say that a good DNF review can steer potential readers away from a book that the reviewer articulates why it would be a waste of time. Honestly, all you have to know is that Agatha Christie did not write this novel. Instead, Christie wrote a play called "Black Coffee." However it was not turned into a novel. Decades later, Charles Osborne would take up the mantle and write this. I have no idea why ...more
May 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 17, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: agatha_christie
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
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, poirot

Sir Claud Amory calls Poirot to help him to find the one who is intending to steal a new formula for a new type of explosive. But before Poirot arrives,Sir Claud Amory is poisoned and dead. There are a number of people gathered in the household and it's up to Poirot to figure out about the murderer.

Sir Claud Amory- rich scientist, dies after drinking poisoned Black Coffee.
Richard Amory- Sir Claud Amory's son, in need of money due to his failed businesses.
Lucia Amory– Richard's italian w
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
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading the Poiret books with my daughter as a sort of buddy read and I'm really enjoying them. However, this one didn't really grab me the way the previous ones did. It meandered along and then finished quite quickly. I thought parts of it were a bit silly.
I realise that it was written by another author from a play that Christie wrote and it shows.
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
Aug 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
The book is a novelisation of an Agatha Christie play and I couldn't help imaging the theatrical version as I was reading. I often thought I'd spotted comments directed to the audience, humourous comments that would make the audience laugh, entrances and exits to the stage. The scenes had something static about them too (obviously the scene would stay the same and characters come and go.

This didn't detract from the reading experience however. In some ways, it added to the interest and has made m

Description: Inventor Sir Claude Amory feels a bitter taste in the mouth, when the new formula for explosive material stolen by someone in the household.

In order to quickly remedy the situation, Sir Claude locks the door and turns off the light, giving the thief a chance to return the formula without being detected. But darkness brings death and Hercule Poirot has to untangle family strife, love and suspicious visitors tangle in order to clarify the murder
Um, yeah, no. Deadly dull. So dry you can hear leaves crackling. It is very obviously not written by Agatha Christie, and it irritates me that it was even credited to her here on Goodreads. I didn’t get far into this book.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime-mystery
This was okay, but it was nothing spectacular. That makes sense, as it was not actually written by Agatha Christie. I wish I had known that before I bought it.
Steven Walle
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Full book review at a later date.
Vikas Singh
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-book
Disappointed with Alibi which was a stage adaptation of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha wrote this play featuring Hercule Poirot in 1929. It was her first attempt at writing a play. It was first staged in 1930 at Embassy Theatre, London. Years later in 1956 Charles Osborne played the role of Dr Carelli when the play was being staged at Tunbridge Wells. In 1998 Chrles Osborne novelised this play which was published by Harper Collins. Nothing spectacular about the plot, it is average story lin ...more
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Amy by: Tori
Shelves: agatha-christie
I am sorry, Tori! I *did* want to like this one! I imagine as a play this would be quite fun, especially because you would have to pay attention to catch the details of the characters' actions. However, in a novel, it is very easy to track their movements and gestures and I figured out the murderer pretty quickly. I kept waiting for a shocking twist that never came!

(view spoiler)
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
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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

Other books in the series

Hercule Poirot (1 - 10 of 45 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)
  • Black Coffee: A Mystery Play in Three Acts (Hercule Poirot, #7)
  • Peril at End House (Hercule Poirot, #8)
  • Lord Edgware Dies (Hercule Poirot, #9)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)

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