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Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie

Sad Cypress (original 1940; edition 2009)

by Agatha Christie

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2,121423,090 (3.62)79
Title:Sad Cypress
Authors:Agatha Christie
Info:Harper Collins (2009), Edition: paperback / softback, Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie (1940)

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English (38)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All (42)
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Elinor Carlisle and Roderick Welman travel into the country to visit their aunt, Laura Welman, who is bed-ridden following a stroke. Mrs Welman is delighted to hear that the two are engaged; although privately she worries that Elinor cares too much, despite her self-controlled exterior. Along with two nurses, Mrs Welman is looked after by Mary Gerrard, the daughter of the estate's lodge-keeper, in whom she has always taken an interest, including paying for her education. And when a restless Roddy lays eyes on the lovely Mary, everything changes... Reeling from the breaking of her engagement, Elinor suffers a second blow when her aunt dies suddenly. As Mrs Welman made no will, the estate devolves upon Elinor, her blood relative; but with her dreams of life in the country with Roddy shattered, she makes plans to sell the house. As she takes the necessary action, Elinor is consumed by anger and a passionate desire for the death of Mary Gerrard. And Mary does die... Though it doesn't seem to get talked about much, this 1940 mystery by Agatha Christie is one of my favourites, featuring as it does one of Christie's most cold-blooded murders in the poisoning of Mary Gerrard, and one of her most complex characters in Elinor: cool, poised and self-contained; a woman of high principles, but strong passions; capable of murder, yes; but is she guilty? It is not Roderick Welman but the local doctor, Peter Lord, who calls in Hercule Poirot. Lord fell for Elinor at first sight, though he knows he is nothing to her; and as her trial approaches, he begs Poirot to find something, anything, that might help her in the face of the prosecution's open-and-shut case---and the discovery after exhumation that Mrs Welman died of an overdose of morphia. In the death of Mary, Elinor had means, motive and opportunity, while no-one else did; while either compassion or greed might explain her aunt's death. In fact, considers Poirot, there are altogether too many motives; so many, he begins to grow suspicious; but it is not until he notes a tiny, seemingly pointless lie from a witness that he begins to see the light...

    Elinor said dreamily: "There was a mark on Nurse's wrist. I mentioned it and she said it was a thorn from the rose trellis by the Lodge. The roses by the Lodge... Roddy and I had a quarrel once---long ago---about the Wars of the Roses. I was Lancaster and he was York. He liked white roses. I said they weren't real---they didn't even smell! I liked red roses, big and dark and velvety and smelling of summer... We quarrelled in the most idiotic way. You see, it all came back to me---there in the pantry---and something---something broke---the black hate I'd had in my heart---it went away---with remembering how we were together as children. I didn't hate Mary any more. I didn't want her to die... But later, when we went back into the morning-room, she was dying..."
    She stopped. Poirot was staring at her very intently. She flushed and said: "Will you ask me---again---did I kill Mary Gerrard?"
    Poirot rose to his feet. He said quickly: "I shall ask you---nothing. There are things I do not want to know..."
2 vote lyzard | Jan 12, 2017 |
The audio production of this story is fair. David Suchet is a good choice of narrator for a Poirot mystery, but there were a couple of characters with accents that were rather too demanding (e.g. the Irish Nurse O'Brien), and there was slightly less variety in the female voices. Fortunately, for the most part it was easy to figure out which woman was which.

The story itself felt more plodding and convoluted than it might have in print form. In audio, one particularly jarring feature was the adverbs: so many adverbs, she exclaimed surprisedly. So many adverbs that to make a drinking game out of them (drink when you hear an adverb) would be to run the risk of alcohol poisoning.

Not an urgent read for Poirot fans. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Dec 30, 2016 |
One of my favorite books written by Agatha Christie, 'Sad Cypress' is a great book with fascinating characters and story line. After finding out there's a movie, too, I watched it and love the book even more. Especially the main character. ( )
  RobertPop | Nov 23, 2016 |
Really enjoyed this story though Poirot played quite a minor role. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Jul 27, 2016 |
This is one of my favorite Agatha Christie stories. A girl is murdered. Her love rival is suspected. If she didn't do it, who did? The red herrings are all in place and it's difficult to figure out. Even though this was a re-read for me, I still enjoyed it very much. But I still don't know what a fish paste sandwich is. ( )
  MCDyson | Mar 26, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (29 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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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.

To Peter and Peggy McLeod
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"Elinor Katharine Carlisle. ...?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425098532, Mass Market Paperback)

As a condemned murderess stands before the court, her eyes meet those of the only man who believes in her innocence. But Hercule Poirot must prove it before it's too late.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:52 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

When Elinor Carlisle goes to visit an elderly aunt, she finds herself charged with murder. Can Hercule Poirot prove her innocent of the crime?

(summary from another edition)

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