Cover image for The unexpected guest : a mystery
The unexpected guest : a mystery
Christie, Agatha, 1890-1976.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
210 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Newstead Library FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Alden Ewell Free Library FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Concord Library FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Kenmore Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Marilla Free Library FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Niagara Branch Library FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Williamsville Library FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
Hamburg Library X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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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.

Originally written by Agatha Christie as a play in 1954, now rendered as a novel by Charles Osborne, Spider's Web is a compelling tale of murder and deceit sure to entertain and amuse the legions of Christie's fans worldwide.

Author Notes

One of the most successful and beloved writer of mystery stories, Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie was born in 1890 in Torquay, County Devon, England. She wrote her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920, launching a literary career that spanned decades. In her lifetime, she authored 79 crime novels and a short story collection, 19 plays, and six novels written under the name of Mary Westmacott. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language with another billion in 44 foreign languages. Some of her most famous titles include Murder on the Orient Express, Mystery of the Blue Train, And Then There Were None, 13 at Dinner and The Sittaford Mystery.

Noted for clever and surprising twists of plot, many of Christie's mysteries feature two unconventional fictional detectives named Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. Poirot, in particular, plays the hero of many of her works, including the classic, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926), and Curtain (1975), one of her last works in which the famed detective dies.

Over the years, her travels took her to the Middle East where she met noted English archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan. They married in 1930. Christie accompanied Mallowan on annual expeditions to Iraq and Syria, which served as material for Murder in Mesopotamia (1930), Death on the Nile (1937), and Appointment with Death (1938).

Christie's credits also include the plays, The Mousetrap and Witness for the Prosecution (1953; film 1957). Christie received the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for 1954-1955 for Witness. She was also named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1971.

Christie died in 1976.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Like a martini--crisp, dry, sophisticated, habit-forming, ever-so-slightly dated--Christite's smoothly polished mysteries go down easy. This one was written as a stage play, first performed in 1958, and is here adapted into novel form by Osborne, who last year published a novelization of Christie's Black Coffee [BKL Jl 98]. Like Christie's endlessly running Mousetrap, the plot here is full of twists around a single room, with people who are not what they seem. Michael Starkwedder's car runs into a ditch in Wales in the fog, and when he opens the French doors of the nearest house he finds an attractive woman with a gun in her hand, and the very dead corpse of her husband in a wheelchair in the same room. Mentally deficient relatives, loyal and twisted servants, patient inspectors, family secrets, and dramatic dialogue will satisfy all devotees of Christie's neat plotting, even without either Poirot or Marple. Ready for the beach or the fireside. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 castÄthe victim's mother; the victim's teenage half-brother; his housekeeper/secretary; and his male nurseÄparade 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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