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The Unexpected Guest: Travels in Afghanistan (St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – September 15, 2000


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Frequently Bought Together

The Unexpected Guest: Travels in Afghanistan (St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries) + Spider's Web + Black Coffee (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)
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Product Details

  • Series: St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (September 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312975120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312975128
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.3 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As he did with Black Coffee (1998), Osborne has taken one of Christie's original play scripts and turned it into a (slight) novel. For those who can't see the play in production or who find a script dull or difficult reading, Osborne's adaptation may fill a need. But Osborne has added little flesh to the bones of the drama, which, with its single-room setting, absolutely retains the feel of a play merely masquerading as a novel rather than transformed into one. That's not all bad, as this novelization preserves the lightning-quick pace of the original. Christie's play had its premiere in 1958, yet remains undated by the passing years. When a stranger having car trouble at night on a lonely road enters a house through the French windows of its study, he finds an invalid who has been shot dead and a woman (his wife) standing nearby and holding a gun. Apparently on impulse, the stranger decides to help the woman hide her crime. Those two plus a small castAthe victim's mother; the victim's teenage half-brother; his housekeeper/secretary; and his male nurseAparade kaleidoscopically in and out of the study with two investigating police officers. Christie cleverly shifts suspicion and parcels out new facts and perspectives in marvelous fashion, proving ingeniously that the obvious isn't always obvious. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Like a martini--crisp, dry, sophisticated, habit-forming, ever-so-slightly dated--Christite's smoothly polished mysteries go down easy. This one was written as a stage play, first performed in 1958, and is here adapted into novel form by Osborne, who last year published a novelization of Christie's Black Coffee . Like Christie's endlessly running Mousetrap, the plot here is full of twists around a single room, with people who are not what they seem. Michael Starkwedder's car runs into a ditch in Wales in the fog, and when he opens the French doors of the nearest house he finds an attractive woman with a gun in her hand, and the very dead corpse of her husband in a wheelchair in the same room. Mentally deficient relatives, loyal and twisted servants, patient inspectors, family secrets, and dramatic dialogue will satisfy all devotees of Christie's neat plotting, even without either Poirot or Marple. Ready for the beach or the fireside. GraceAnne A. DeCandido --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Brenda VINE VOICE on July 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It's November in South Wales. A stranded motorist walks up on a house for help, but finds a murder instead. And so Christie's play, The Unexpected Guest, now novelized by Charles Osborne, begins. The gentleman, Mark Starkwedder, after knocking, walks into an unlocked terrace door in hopes of calling for help, what he stumbles on is Richard Warwick dead in his wheel chair, and the wife, Laura Warwick, standing in the dark with the gun. I don't want to go any further because the rest is vital to the mystery and how it gets so out of control. Included in the mystery are Mr. Warwick's mother, a brother, a valet, a housekeeper, a nurse, a neighbor, a Chief Inspector, and a detective. Each character is introduced and each part is vital to the plot. The plot is classic British traditional with 9/10 of the scenes being played out in one room (map included), characters coming and going, a moody Chief Inspector, a mellow detective, and a lot of impressive curves, with the ending being the ultimate curve.
Charles Osborne has done his best to novelize a rare treat, and in my humble opinion, he did a grand job. The scenes and conversation, to me, were true to the play, almost to the point that, while reading, I could envision the characters on stage. Now I've heard the complaints-- "It's to slow." "It's to confined." Well, it was a play, and that is the reasoning for the limited movement and conversation. I think readers should appreciate that Mr. Osborne has brought to life another wonderful Christie mystery. It's a great Christie fix for those fans that have read or seen all her mysteries.
Charles Osborne is an authority on theater and opera. He is also a writer and has authored The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie and novelized Agatha Christie's other play, Black Coffee.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By An Aussie reader on September 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Even though I am 13 years of age, I have read about three-quarters of the books Agatha Christie has written. Most of the books I have read by her I found to be flawless and exciting. I am a devoted fan of her books and refuse to read other murder-mysteries. When I found out there was a "new" Agatha Christie book out I went straight to the shops to buy it. I found the book to be very enjoyable and even though it only took me 24 hours to read it (I couldn't put it down and stayed up 'till the early hours of the morning to read it until I got caught and had to go to sleep) I thought it was excellent. I usually find that the beginning of Agatha Christie books are a bit confusing but this was one of the least. The murder in the book is a masked mystery until the sureness is proved wrong. I found the book didn't have much suspense but I don't think it mattered. Charles Osborne writes very much like Agatha Christie and he even added things that Agatha Christie didn't usually add like a map of the room the murder occured in. For all people who read and liked The Murder of Roger Ackroyd this book is an absolute must.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Being an avid mystery fan and a great fan of Agatha Christie, I was delighted when I came upon this novel. My delight turned to dismay as I started reading this "novel". I use this term loosely since it reads more like the play that it was originally meant to be. The book reminded me of a Nancy Drew mystery , which were favorites of mine in the fifth grade. If I ever get a craving for a good old fashioned Agatha Christie mystery, I'll just have to re-read one of her classics, and enjoy watching her plays performed on stage, as Miss Christie intended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David M. Sulkers on December 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
When I first read a novel adaptation of an Agatha Christie play titled 'Black Coffee' I was in awe of the story and twitsed plot of it all. I knew that the follow up, 'The Unexpected Guest' was going to be a killer book. One of the best mysteries I have read! There is a reason why Agatha Christie has been repsonsible for the sales of over 2 billion books, they are just so damn good! I very much enjoyed this book, as you will too. The ending is the added bonus! You never knew, you just never knew!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. Pollock VINE VOICE on November 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the 2nd and middle book of the 3 Osborne adaptations of Agatha Christie plays into novel form. I think it's the middling of the three in quality as well. The 1st was "Black Coffee" and the 3rd was "Spider's Web." All 3 read more like plays than novels--so if you are expecting the normal Christie novel, you may very well be disappointed. However, if you have read the novels, this is a lovely addition to your list of Christie's and a rare opportunity to envision her plays. True, the plays could just as easily have been bound and published. But, Osborne has apparently done little, if anything, to detract from the plays themselves. So, IMHO, he has done a service both to Christie and to the mystery reading public by publishing these works. As for the content, this particular work is great fun! I loved the story, the twists and turns (and there are many of them), the cleverness, etc. It IS after all, a Christie! And quite a good one at that. Enjoy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Agatha Christie once more proves that things aren't always what they seem. When I was about halfway through the book, I was convinced that I knew the outcome and had, finally, after reading so many of Christie's mysteries, conquered her ingeniousness. But in the end, I realized that I was once again mistaken. Although I greatly appreciate the beautiful writing techniques that Christie uses, I sometimes prefer the writing of Charles Osborne. I find that he uses words that I am more familiar with and less outdated, and he does not prolong the beginning of the book. He seems to get more to the point, and this keeps me intrigued throughout the book. After reading Black Coffee, I knew that I must read The Unexpected Guest. The only fault that I found in this book was of my own opinion--I did not like the ending. I am a fan of Hercule Poirot's triumphant cases, but I disliked the very end (although I liked the twist to it). Moreover, this inadequacy proved too imparticular for me to rate this book less than five stars.
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