Clarissa Hailsham-Brown loves to pretend. She's pretended that her husband was secretly married to another woman. She's pretended to be a great actress whose world is a stage. She's even pretended that she's had to choose between betraying her country and seeing her husband shot before her eyes. But when Clarissa stumbles upon a dead body in the drawing room, there's no pretending about the mess she'll be in if she can't hide the body before her husband comes home, and convince the police that there's been no murder….
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Osborne completes his homage to Christie with this third and final adaptation of an original Christie play, following Black Coffee (1998) and The Unexpected Guest (1999). Though the play was written in 1954, the story suffers little from the passage of time, and aside from the static setting, reads well as a novel. Christie's exquisite timing and clever sleight-of-mind tricks are a delight, while Osborne has the good sense not to embroider the tale. A typical closed cast of characters occupies the temporary country home of Henry and Clarissa Hailsham-Brown: the seemingly scatterbrained Clarissa; her stepdaughter, Pippa; the odious Oliver Costello, who has married Pippa's mother; Sir Rowland Delahaye, Clarissa's godfather and a man of honor; an outspoken gardener; a butler; a cook; and Inspector Lord, the rather diffident policeman. When Clarissa discovers a body in the drawing room, she decides that it mustn't be found there. Her plans to dispose of the body are interrupted by the arrival of a rather diffident policeman, Inspector Lord, who has come to check out an anonymous tip that a murder has been committed. Christie's bag of tricks includes hidden doorways, secret drawers, French windows and concealed identities--all used to amusing effect. As with Osborne's previous novelizations, this is a welcome addition to the Christie canon and is sure to reach mystery bestseller lists. The cover, with a spider in a web against a green faux-marble background, is as catchy as they come. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Osborne's third novelization of a Christie playthis one based on a 1954 original that ran for two years alongside the West End perennials Witness for the Prosecution and The Mousetraptakes place in still another country house that, except for the impending hush-hush visit of the Prime Minister and the Soviet premier, could be frozen back in the '20s. As Copplestone Court's latest tenant, rising Foreign Office star Henry Hailsham-Brown, orders his wife Clarissa to get the place ready for his big event, she's already in deeper waters. Minutes earlier, she'd faced off with Oliver Costello, current husband and rumored drug supplier to Henry's ex. Unsavory Oliver threatened to launch a custody battle for Henry's beloved daughter Pippa. And on returning secretly to Copplestone soon after, Costello is promptly murdered, and Clarissa, frantically attempting to preserve the peace Henry needs for his all-important meeting, enlists the aid of three houseguests to hide the body from Inspector Lord, who despite his blandness has much too sharp an eye to be fooled by such rank amateurs. Both the dramaturgy and most of the characters, as usual, are stockyou can almost hear the swish of the curtain falling on the first two actsbut Clarissa, a charming liar, supplies some much-needed humor and pep to the tired proceedings. Better than Christie/Osborne's Black Coffee (1998), not as good as The Unexpected Guest (1999). If this adaptation repeats the sales of those two, expect an Osborne version of Verdict, Christie's last original mystery play, in time for next Christmas.Eccles, Marjorie THE SUPERINTENDENT'S DAUGHTER Dunne/St. Martin's Minotaur (240 pp.) Dec. 2000
From the Publisher
“Christie's exquisite timing and clever sleight-of-hand tricks are a delight...this is a welcome addition to the Christie cannon.” Publishers Weekly
“Great fun. The perfect way to distract you from the cares of the day.” Arizona Daily Star
“Agatha Christie is the champion deceiver of our time.” The New York Times