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Sad Cypress (1940)

by Agatha Christie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hercule Poirot (20)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,589523,965 (3.64)109
An elderly stroke victim dies without having arranged a will... Beautiful young Elinor Carlisle stood serenely in the dock, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, her rival in love. The evidence was damning: only Elinor had the motive, the opportunity and the means to administer the fatal poison. Yet, inside the hostile courtroom, only one man still presumed Elinor was innocent until proven guilty: Hercule Poirot was all that stood between Elinor and the gallows...… (more)

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» See also 109 mentions

English (47)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Excellent read ( )
  devendradave | Sep 1, 2020 |
To care passionately for another human creature brings always more sorrow than joy; but at the same time, Elinor, one would not be without experience.
Anyone who has never really loved has never really lived.

Told in medias res, we begin Sad Cypress reading about how Elinor Carlisle was standing trial accused of the murder of Mary Gerrad. Elinor watches the galley and sees Hercule Poirot sitting there watching her. We then flashback several weeks to when Elinoir discusses an anonymous letter she received with her cousin Roddy Welman. Readers quickly find out that a letter warns Elinoir that her Aunt Laura Welman is being led astray by a young local woman named Mary Gerrad who is doing her best to get in her aunt's good graces before she passes away. Deciding to go and visit their aunt and see which way the land lies, Elinoir and Roddy journey to their aunt's home, Hunterbury. Elinoir and Roddy also want to share with her that they are now engaged. I don't want to tell too much about the plot since anything I try to discuss may unintentionally reveal the ending.

Though this is a Hercule Poirot book, a good fifty percent of the novel is told in the past with readers getting to read about how Elinoir feels about Roddy. Though Roddy believes that Elinoir is sensible, and not at all emotional, he does not realize how desperately in love with him she has been since they were children. I liked the character of Elinoir since she has taught herself to appear aloof at all times. However, she reminds me of so many other Christie female characters who seems intent on throwing themselves away on a man that is not worth it at all.

Poirot is called into investigate and we have Poirot interviewing suspects and examining crime scenes. I really can't add much to Poirot at this point. I honestly have not found him to be brilliant as he was in say Murder on the Orient Express. I think a lot of times there is just a lot of reading about how Poirot has a bare glimpse of an idea and then cannot remember something. He does not seem as effortlessly brilliant as Miss Marple is when she figured out whodunit. I feel like Poirot for all his pompous comments about how brilliant he is just gets a minor clue and through that figures out who did what or why.

When we get to the end it is a bit of a letdown. I think because we don't have a resolution really for a lot of things. It is left to the reader to figure it out. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
A compelling and very well-written novel. Crime fiction at its best. A young woman is accused of a terrible crime, and it appears that she not only has a good motive, she is the only possible person to have had the opportunity to commit it.

Hercule Poirot is commissioned to find some evidence in her favour, or a way in which someone else might be guilty. And neither he, nor the person commissioning him, know whether or not she has committed the crime.

The book starts with the opening of the court case, then takes us through the events leading up to the crime. Clues and red herrings are carefully laid, and there's more characterisation than is typical with Agatha Christie. I hadn't guessed the outcome at all.

Recommended, if you like this kind of classic crime-fiction without gore.

Longer review: https://suesbookreviews.blogspot.com/2020/05/sad-cypress-by-agatha-christie.html ( )
  SueinCyprus | May 20, 2020 |
Poirot tackles a courtroom battle.

"Sad Cypress" is a fascinating Poirot story, combining the weight of Christie’s most mature works with her more ‘classic’ mystery structure.

"Sad Cypress" is a complex but believable mystery, not quite as flashy as Poirot’s most famous works, but very skillfully put together. Coming off of her most prolific decade, Christie was an unstoppable force. Like the carefree, decadent characters who pervaded films in spite of the Depression, the War really did nothing to quash the appeal of Christie’s cruel worlds. Here, Poirot gets to be a champion for justice – always one of his strongest suits – with some convincing courtroom drama (practically unique to Christie’s oeuvre). Perhaps a classic.

Poirot ranking: 13th out of 38. ( )
  therebelprince | Apr 27, 2020 |
This wasn't great. Poirot didn't appear for ages and then a lot of the ground had to be covered over again for his benefit. Elinor was a hard heroine to root for - I don't think Christie made her 'love' for Roddy very believable, or any of her emotions actually. Still, the misdirection was excellent - I kept changing my mind about the identity of the murderer. ( )
  pgchuis | Apr 25, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christie, Agathaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brinchmann, JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laine, Anna-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suchet, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
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Epigraph
Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.

—Shakespeare
Dedication
To Peter and Peggy McLeod
First words
"Elinor Katharine Carlisle."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (1)

An elderly stroke victim dies without having arranged a will... Beautiful young Elinor Carlisle stood serenely in the dock, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, her rival in love. The evidence was damning: only Elinor had the motive, the opportunity and the means to administer the fatal poison. Yet, inside the hostile courtroom, only one man still presumed Elinor was innocent until proven guilty: Hercule Poirot was all that stood between Elinor and the gallows...

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Book description
Haiku summary
Open-and-shut case
Guilty till proved innocent
Poirot asks questions
(passion4reading)

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