"Black Coffee," by Agatha Christie. St. Martin's. 240...

BRIEF

October 18, 1998|By Deepti Hajela | Deepti Hajela,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

"Black Coffee," by Agatha Christie. St. Martin's. 240 pages. $22.95.

Charles Osborne gets points for trying. His novelization of Agatha Christie's play "Black Coffee" has some of the earmarks: Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and his passion for precision; and the ever-obtuse Captain Hastings.

But the result, "Black Coffee" (St. Martin's, 240 pages, $22.95), .. shows that it wasn't just those traits that made Christie's novels so wonderful. Osborne's work just doesn't have the same feel.

The story isn't fulfilling. Throughout, it's obvious that this is a play that has been turned into a book. Sometimes, it seems as if the stage directions were merely converted into sentences.

One of the best things about Christie's novels is the side relationships going on around the principal murder. While there is some interaction between characters in "Black Coffee," it's not enough.

Christie wrote the story as a three-act play. It should have been left that way.

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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