The Elusive Corpse

“Spider’s Web” was originally a play written by Agatha Christie and was adapted into a novel by Charles Osborne in 2000.  I don’t think this is one of Christie’s better known plays until I saw the novel on the shelves years ago.  I finally got to read it after all these years.

The wife of foreign office diplomat has a habit of teasing and messing with people’s heads a little and finds herself in a predicament when a man who was trying to blackmail her for the custody of her step-daughter ends up dead in her home.  She enlists the aid of her three dapper British gentlemen friends to help hide the inconvenient murder.  However, the police come calling much sooner than she anticipated, and her beloved husband is going to return with a very important visitor to their shores.  It does not help that the body is not where it not where it was left.

It was fun to read a Christie novel that was essentially new to me, but I wouldn’t call this one of her more noticeable contributions.  It could be that Osborne’s prose style just failed to pop for me.   None of the characters felt all that fresh.  I sort of liked the Inspector who turned up after a mysterious phone call was made to the police.  He seemed surprisingly astute at times.  I probably would have enjoyed the stage presentation more.  It’s not without some charm and hits some of the right notes of literary nostalgia for a Christie fan, but I can’t count this as one of the better presentations from the Queen of Crime.  She probably shouldn’t the shoulder the blame alone since Osborne’s prose is not that compelling.

And so coming up next to the reading lamp is James Lee Burke’s “Wayfaring Stranger”.

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