Black Coffee was just the ticket. My husband and I have watched all of the David Suchet Poirot series so this story was not unfamiliar to me (but I can never remember the killer). In Christie's novels, however, knowing “whodunit” is only part of the fun. The rest of the pleasure comes from Poirot’s quirkiness, the gentle jabs at British snobbery, and the interesting chemistry between characters.
In this novel, a wealthy scientist is murdered and everyone in the house is a suspect. The ditzy Miss Avery, the ultra-modern Barbara, and the Italian houseguest are just a few of the possible culprits. I listened to John Moffatt’s narration and he was absolutely marvelous with all the voices; he captured the relationship between Poirot and Hastings especially well.
Because of my familiarity with the BBC series, it felt as if an old friend walked in when Inspector Japp finally makes his appearance near the end of the book. Several characters make reference to earlier cases concerning Lord Edgeware and the Affair at Styles, which are like inside jokes to Christie fans.
There is an interesting interchange between Barbara and Colonel Hastings (Poirot's sidekick) when she calls him a darling, old-fashioned thing for believing in decency and truth-telling. Hastings, clueless as always, can’t understand why she thinks that is worth commenting on. I enjoyed this sly way of showing that modern is not always better. Truth does matter. Particularly when it comes to finding the killer.
I listened to this for free on YouTube.
A pleasant, cozy mystery!
P.S. This novel was not written by Christie, but by Charles Osborne. Yet it was based on a play she had written, which frankly, made it an excellent audio book.