by Charles Osborne
Category: Fiction / Crime
238 pages; ISBN: 0002261987
Rating: 6/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Luke Croll
This is the third of Charles Osborne's novelisations of Agatha Christie's plays, following on from 'Black Coffee' and 'The Unexpected Guest'. In this story, Clarissa comes downstairs to find a body in the library. Her husband is an important Foreign Office diplomat and she knows it has to be gone before he arrives. It is up to her to persuade her three houseguests to help her, but things are not helped by the arrival of a police inspector.
Sadly, 'Spider's Web' is not a great piece of work. Whilst it is fast-paced and at times, humorous, the novel is just too short and the denouement simply bizarre. Wee are not given any clues that could allow us to solve the mystery ourselves and when the answer is finally revealed, it seems too odd.
I imagine that the dramatic version of this piece is much more interesting and the fact that Osborne's novelisation is so reliant on dialogue reinforces this. The small amount of violence at the end of the book seemed like an afterthought and I doubt that it is necessary. The Poirot novels caught the murdered without the need for violence.
Overall, 'Spider's Web' is an average read. If you are a fan of Agatha Christie or have seen the play, then you might want to try this. However, like 'The Unexpected Guest', it will be a disappointment for people to want to read a good Christie.
Buy Spider's Web at amazon.co.uk
Buy Spider's Web at amazon.com