Title: Black Coffee
Author: Agatha Christie, Adapted by Charles Osborne
Series: Hercule Poirot #7
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 murderer and prevent disaster.
Adapted from a play written by Agatha Christie this one just left me wanting a little bit more. I could see this working very well on stage it is a fun locked room mystery with a twist, everyone was in the room when the murder took place. However, the reason I found this disappointing as we had seen these solutions before. If you had read mystery at styles – which is even mentioned during the events of the play – you basically know the outcome. There are just to many similarities to previous Poirot cases for me to feel any thrill in the reveal. While who was the murder was a surprise the method and how Poirot reasoned it out was an amalgamation of previous, and very familiar, Poirot tales. So it was overall disappointing when it was all revealed.
The adaption itself is also bland. The obvious filler scenes and descriptions just don’t quite feel right with the rest of the dialogue. It even takes poor Hastings from loveable idiot to bumbling fool which looses a lot of the charm of the Hastings/Poirot dynamic. I think I probably would have liked this a lot more reading it as a play, with the stage directions and descriptions instead of this attempt at novelization. It just didn’t feel like a Christie.