The Unexpected Guest

( 16 )

Overview

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time with her works outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. She is regarded by generations of fans as the greatest mystery writer ever, and her novels are read and cherished the world over.

Clarissa, the young wife of a Foreign Office Diplomat, delights in tweaking the sensibilities of her more serious friends and for playing a game she calls "supposing" - imagining a difficult situation and figuring out how people ...

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The Unexpected Guest

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Overview

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time with her works outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. She is regarded by generations of fans as the greatest mystery writer ever, and her novels are read and cherished the world over.

Clarissa, the young wife of a Foreign Office Diplomat, delights in tweaking the sensibilities of her more serious friends and for playing a game she calls "supposing" - imagining a difficult situation and figuring out how people would respond. But Clarissa's lighthearted game becomes deadly serious when she discovers the dead body of an unknown person in her own drawing room. If that wasn't bad enough, her husband is on the way home with an important foreign politician and the attendant scandal of the dead body would irrevocably damage his career at the very least. Therefore, Clarissa decides to dispose of the body and persuades her three houseguests to help.

But before she can get the body off the premises, a policeman arrives at her front door. The police received an anonymous tip about a murder in the house and have shown up to investigate. Now Clarissa must keep the body hidden, convince the skeptical police inspector that there has been no murder, and, in the meantime, find out who has been murdered, why, and what the body is doing in her house.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Bookseller ReviewsMichael Starkwedder encounters all the problems that rural Wales is known fir: Ditches adjacent to poorly-lit roads and a corpse in the first house you visit. This charming Agatha Christie cozy derives from a 1956 drama that Ms. Christie never reworked into novel. Without denting the original, Charles Osborne does the trick. As for Starkwedder, we must confess that he slips into a series of small fibs that render this evening less pleasant than ours.
Tom Nolan
The Unexpected Guest is a twist-filled tale of murder in a country house in Wales, is the second Christie stage play adapted as a novel by Charles Osborne; and, as with last year's best-selling Black Coffee, the results are smooth and bracing.
Wall Street Journal
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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 cast--the victim's mother; the victim's teenage half-brother; his housekeeper/secretary; and his male nurse--parade 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 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Christie biographer Osborne's second novelization of a Christie play (Black Coffee, 1998) opens with a wonderfully arresting scene: engineer Michael Starkwedder, having run his car into a ditch while poking around the Welsh countryside looking at houses, enters Richard Warwick's house looking for help, only to find the man himself, a big-game hunter now confined to a wheelchair, shot to death. When Richard's wife Laura confesses to the killing, Starkwedder, struck by sympathy for her sufferings at the hands of this brute, encourages her to fake evidence against a fictitious intruder for Inspector Thomas and his quotation-spouting sergeant to find. Veteran readers of the author's work will watch in fascination, secure in the knowledge that Starkwedder and Laura aren't the only ones in the household playing fast and loose, and untroubled by the certainty that the other intimates—Richard's mother, his retarded half-brother, his housekeeper and valet, a neighbor standing for Parliament—have no more moving parts than necessary to keep the twists coming. It's not clear what Christie, who got into playwriting in mid-career because she thought other writers' stage adaptations of her novels too slavish and unsimplified, would have thought of Osborne's close, stingy reworking of her 1958 play. Here, though, Osborne, working with much less creaky material than Black Coffee, manages a few surprises worthy of his master.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312975128
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 417,278
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is the best-selling author of all time. She wrote eighty crime novels and story collections, fourteen plays, and several other books. Her books have sold roughly four billion copies and have been translated into 45 languages. She is the creator of the two most enduring figures in crime literature—Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple—and author of The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in the history of modern theatre. Christie was born in Torquay, Devon in 1890. She died in 1976 in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.
Charles Osborne is a world authority on theater and opera and has written a wide range of fiction and non-fiction. He is the author of The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie as well as the novelizations of Christie's plays, the best-selling Black Coffee and The Unexpected Guest. He lives in London.

Biography

Agatha Christie is the world's best-known mystery writer. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language, and another billion in 44 foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her writing career spanned more than half a century, during which she wrote 79 novels and a short story collection, as well as 14 plays, one of which, The Mousetrap, is the longest running play in history. Two of the characters she created, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and the irrepressible and relentless Miss Marple, went on to become world famous detectives. Both have been widely dramatized in feature films and made-for-TV movies. Agatha Christie died in 1976.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Mary Westmacott (used for her romantic fiction)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 15, 1890
    2. Place of Birth:
      Torquay, Devon, England
    1. Date of Death:
      January 12, 1976

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    "The Unexpected Guest" reads like classic Christie

    A man in search of road-side assistance after getting lost in the fog happens upon a woman who has apparently just shot her wheelchair-bound husband in the head moments before. Instead of jumping to the phone to call the police, the man decides to help the beautiful lady in distress cover up her crime.

    Or IS it her crime?

    Delight, as I did, in Agatha Christie's play, as realized in novel form by Charles Osborne. Mr. Osborne's prose does not match that of Christie, but his smoothing out of the stage directions is artfully done and the mystery can unfold for the armchair reader on a stage in the mind's eye.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2003

    Brilliance, Purely Classic

    Purely classic example of deception of the mind. Even knowing that you could never guess what is going to happen even on the next page. It starts as an open shut case, but no one knows the real truth. Then, the solution begins to fog up. And what was so obvious...isn't as it appears. One thing leads to another, and an unexpected guest becomes apart of the unfolding plot. And right when he wants to leave, the truth comes out. And the simple and obvious, becomes genius and incredible...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2003

    Keeps you wondering until the end...

    I've recently found my love for Agatha Christie novels, and this is on the top of the list of my favorite books. I got so into it that I read it in one day, I'd recommend it to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2002

    great twist

    i loved this book! it has a great plot and will keep you entwined for hours! i was really suprised at the killer... it has so many twists to it it's hard to just guess whodunit!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2001

    a agatha christie fan

    sounds like something poe wrote but its really pretty good

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2011

    Highly Recommended-keeps you guessing

    This book is perfect if you are a fan of mystery books. The book is great due to the way the author write s the text. It just keeps you guessing throughout the book. You won't be able to put the book down because the evidence points to one person then the next then the next. I thought this was going to be one of those books were i was going to get bored while reading, but i was wrong. This book kept me wanting to read more because of the suspense. This is one of the best books I have ever read and I really recommend trying to read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2007

    This was the best book i ever read!

    There were so many twists in this book.Clues ran into dead ends and no one knew who the killer was until the final chapter.This was the best book i ever read and i highly recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2004

    very great

    Agatha Christie sends you in every direction during the course of this book. you never figure it out until the last page. simply amazing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2003

    You think its over but its not

    This book was fantastic. You don't really guess what is going to happen because you believe your own ending. Actually, it ends way different then you would think.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2002

    great book

    I read this book for a book report and it was a overall good book. It was full of excitement and mystery. This book was a great book. This book was about a murder of an old man. The problems were that they could not find the murderer. If you like mysteries then you should read this book. I recommend this book to everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2002

    Great Book

    I found this book to be an enjoyable read. A surprising end, keeps you guessing who was the killer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2000

    Execllent book!

    This is one of the best books I've every read! I am usually very picky about books but this book I couldn't put down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2000

    A New Book!

    This is another Agatha Christie shocker. I was so surprised at who the killer was.At the end of the book, I could not put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2000

    An excellent read for anyone who loves a good mystery!

    I, personally, do not like most of Agatha Christie's work, but I loved this novel. It is very twisted and keeps you guessing who the killer is until the final chapter. The story is great and won't disappoint you.

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    Posted November 1, 2011

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    Posted June 23, 2011

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    Posted January 15, 2012

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    Posted January 20, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2011

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews

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