Spider's Web

Charles Osborne, Adapted by, Agatha Christie, Author, Charles Osborne, Author Minotaur Books $23.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-312-26650-9
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 identitiesDall 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.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/2000
Release date: 11/01/2000
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