Monday, June 14, 2010

Agatha Christie duo

So, both Death Comes as the End and Black Coffee. One after the other. That's cured me for a while. Reading one okay book seems to have led me to forget all the others I didn't like. I think I was lured into it by the recently watched Doctor Who episode that shows Christie in a favourable light. And it wasn't even particularly clever, even considering how low my Doctor Who expectations are.

Black Coffee is the best one. Originally a play, it's been adapted into a book by Charles Osborne. In the foreword/introduction Christie's grandson says well done, Osborne, you'd never know it wasn't the Dame. Well, I think you kinda would. I mean, you can tell it's a play ... although perhaps I see it cuz I know it? But I think not, I think it is obvious. And I don't think that it would look like that if Christie herself had adapted it, because she'd have rewritten more. I think. Anyway, it's full of clichés and monotony and it's easy to spot the killer. But on a posititive note - it must be fun to watch in on the stage! You see everything happen before your very eyes, and then you have to think, did I see who did it? After all, when reading it's simple. It's basically laid out for you, right under your nose. So, it probably works really well as a play. Story: Poirot called to house of scientist who has invented new explosive, arrives just as scientist drops dead in armchair surrounded by entire household plus Italian guest. Quite silly. Like every Christie parody ever written I suppose.

Death Comes as the End is worse, because it's pretentious. "As the wife of a prominent archaeologist" as the introduction puts it, Christie had learned a lot about ancient Egypt and set this story there. A young widow, Renisemb, returns to her father's house with her little daughter, just as he returns from a business trip and brings along a new concubine. The concubine is spiteful and catty and ends up dead. When more people start dying it is assumed that it's her ghost doing it, but Renisemb and the household scribe, Hori, unravel the truth. By means of gazing into the sunset and saying inane stuff that's meant to seem profound as hell, mostly. God it's boring. I struggled. There has to be some flesh and blood even in a fictional character, after all!

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