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Black Coffee Paperback – January 28, 2014
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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The action takes place in the library of Abbot's Cleve, the mansion of Sir Claud Amory, a scientist who has just made a very potent and enviable discovery. Among those in his household are his son Richard and his newlywed wife Lucia, who has a secret of her own that she is hiding from her husband's family. A mysterious Dr. Carelli shows up claiming to know Lucia, and she fears her secret will be made known. When Sir Claud discovers that someone has stolen the formula out of his safe, he calls in Hercule Poirot to solve the case, but Sir Claud dies before Poirot can arrive. When Poirot does arrive, and finds Sir Claud's death was by poison not natural causes, he sticks around to find the culprit.
Fans of Christie's work will enjoy "Black Coffee". While not as ingenious as her most famous stage work "The Mousetrap", it does rely heavily on surprise and intrigue. Avid readers will recognize a plot element from "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" involving coffee cups. I read this in preparation to read Charles Osborne's novelization of the play, wanting to know Christie's original story. While this play was a little hard to find, it was definitely worth it.
This tale seemed quite sophomoric and the murderer was revealed to any careful reader near the beginning of the book. I kept thinking it would turn out differently in the end, or perhaps I'd read it wrong, but apparently I hadn't. Disappointing.
This is actually only the second Agatha Christie novel I've read, the first being And Then There Were None, which I read after playing a computer game adapted from that novel. I've really got to read an actual Agatha Christie book without an adaptation. I'd then have a better feel for her writing, and be able to compare this better to her other work.