Agatha Christie: Spider’s Web


Spider’s Web is a screwball drawing room murder mystery comedy mashup with bits of Christie’s own Bundle Brent books (The Secret of Chimneys and The Seven Dials Mystery), as well as bits of the Hitchcock comedy The Trouble with Harry thrown in for good measure.  The result is an evening’s entertainment of pure hilarity — next to nothing intricate or refined (and Christie fans will be able to separate out real clues and red herrings easily enough), but definitely worth checking out.  As long, that is, as you stick with Christie’s original text and don’t go for the novelization by Charles Osborne, which (like those of two of Christie’s other plays, Black Coffee and The Unexpected Guest) manages to suck the marrow out of Christie’s work and leave behind a spineless corpse that is a mere shadow of the original, however much of the dialogue may be left behind.

I do recommend the 1960 movie adaptation, however, which currently — like the BBC audio of The Lie — is available on YouTube:  The screenwriter added a few explanatory / “setting the scene” curlicues at the beginning and the end (and Osborne’s novel promptly replaces Christie’s original ending by that of the movie), but both the plot and the dialogue are almost 100% those of the play, and so are the characters; only the inspector is decidedly more menacing in Christie’s play (but then, you just can’t expect Peter Butterworth to play a character like that as a straight-up sinister figure). — The play’s main character is  another one of Christie’s spunky young women, Clarissa Hailsham-Brown, the quirky young wife of a diplomat, who is chiefly known for her high flights of fancy, which reputation proves decidedly unhandy when trying to convince others that the highly unlikely sequence of events she is narrating to them is actually the literal truth.  In the movie, Clarissa is played by Glynis Johns.

 

One thought on “Agatha Christie: Spider’s Web”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cats Literature

Halloween Bingo 2021: Card, Spells, Markers and Book Pool

Phew!  I’ve had blog display issues for the better part of August due to a stupid WP plugin acting up (and of course, it was a plugin allegedly intended to “facilitate” the import of content into my chosen theme — haha, right), but luckily they were resolved just in time for Halloween Bingo! (Gosh … […]

Read More
Cats Literature Reviews

June 2021 and Mid-Year Reading Recap

Sigh.  Well, I think posting a monthly (and even half-year) reading recap a full three weeks into the next month has to be some sort of record, even for me, but here we are.  And I admit that at this point I’d even been contemplating holding off another week so as to combine this with […]

Read More
Literature Reviews

Dorothy L. Sayers: The Five Red Herrings

Dorothy L. Sayers is occasionally accused of having gotten too caught up in her research for a given book; and the two mysteries that routinely come up in this context are The Nine Tailors (bell ringing, published in 1934) and, well, The Five Red Herrings (1931), which, although chiefly concerned with fishing and painting, also […]

Read More
%d bloggers like this: