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Black Coffee
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Poirot Buddy Reads > Poirot Buddy read 8: Black Coffee

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Jessica | 351 comments It's a new month and a new Poirot!

This month might turn out to be a bit divisive in our group. We're reading "Black Coffee" a novelisation of an Agatha Christie play. The purists amongst us might choose to read the original script (Black Coffee: A Mystery Play in Three Acts).

I will read the novelization and am quite curious about it! I think it will keep the Poirot experience fresh for us all, as it will chronologically fit in with where we are but this is a different writer and might be a very different experience indeed. A New York Times review (1983, https://www.nytimes.com/1983/09/18/ny...) states that the story might actually be more suited to a book than the stage. And bonus! Hastings plays a part here too!

Apparently, the play the book is based on was one of the least known works by Christie. There are some movie adaptations, but not many and none recent...

Well, here we go! I am looking forward to reading what you all think of it :-)


message 2: by Bruce (new)

Bruce I haven't read the book yet, but the play was very good, and is available on Amazon, published by Samuel French.


Susan | 9418 comments Mod
I read this when it first came out (1998?). I can remember fairly little about it, so will re-read - or perhaps listen on Audible.


Tara  | 748 comments I listened to this on audiobook (once again the incomparable Hugh Fraser), and it was probably my least favorite of the series thus far. It just didn't click somehow. I enjoyed Poirot playing matchmaker, but that was the only bit I connected with.


Sandy | 2553 comments Mod
I'm also listening to the audiobook. I imagine following the coffee cup visually would have been tense on the stage ... I lost track of it in the novel.


Susan | 9418 comments Mod
It did read as though you were listening to someone telling you about a play they were watching.


Jessica | 351 comments I've opened it up and already am stranded on page 1 thinking "hmm, it might be interesting to read the stagescript alongside." To see what is Christie and what is Osborne. For instance, is Poirot's breakfast a stage direction? Or scene setting by Osborne? Also, all the thinking that Poirot's doing here... How would that be portrayed on stage?

Perhaps this feeling of disconnection will fade as the story draws me in.


Jessica | 351 comments hmm that was okay. It's not exactly that I did not enjoy the book. I actually thought it was quite good (once I got over my objections re it not being a "real" Poirot), but it didn't really give me the usual Agatha Christie-satisfaction.

I was confused at times due to the sheer amount of detail thrown at me. I wondered if those were stage directions or additions by Osborne. The coffee cups indeed, Sandy, and the room description (with a not very necessary map). And even quite late in the story when he tells Hastings to take particular note of the way the family would seat themselves in the room... I wasn't really sure if he presented important clues and I should pay close attention or if it were misdirections.


Jessica | 351 comments I looked in my reading companion for Poirot to see if I could find anything interesting there... but nope. Guess, there really isn't that much to say here. Except that apparently, this is the first time that Hastings has the Captain title. Between the events with the international crime consortium and this one, he must have had some praiseworthy adventure then.


Tara  | 748 comments Jessica wrote: "I looked in my reading companion for Poirot to see if I could find anything interesting there... but nope. Guess, there really isn't that much to say here. Except that apparently, this is the first..."

Its a shame we don't get more of a backstory about Hastings Jessica. He is used pretty effectively as a foil for Poirot, but there really are only tidbits here and there. Also, what companion book do you have?


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