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Sad Cypress: A Hercule Poirot Mystery Paperback – Aug 22 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (Aug. 22 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006207394X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062073945
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Mass Market Paperback
With a beautiful title taken from Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night', 'Sad Cypress' is one of my favourite Agatha Christie books, and also one of the best to feature Poirot. It doesn't have the sheer audacity of, say, 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd', but as one of her more emotionally engaging books it's at least up there with 'Five Little Pigs' (another underrated story), or the beautiful 'A Murder is Announced'.

As the book opens, the main character Elinor Carlisle is on trial for her life. The courtroom setting doesn't really mean much one way or the other, it's merely Christie experimenting with a new kind of plot framing device. No, it is the mystery of Elinor's personality and her true motivations which keep the reader guessing continually throughout the book, and hungry to learn who really killed the poisoning victim, Mary Gerrard.

Agatha Christie is usually ignored by literary critics or dismissed as 'genre fiction', but she was actually a master at portraying a wide range of psychological types, and that (along with her cunning solutions) is probably the reason that she's still the bestselling novelist of all time. Although her psychological types can occasionally be a little unbelievable as flesh and blood characters, that certainly isn't the case here - 'Sad Cypress' contains some of her most memorable and vivid figures. It will definitely stick in your head for some time after you have read it.
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Elinor Carlisle, a sensible, well educated young woman, and her distant cousin, Roddy Welman, a somewhat less well focused amiable gentleman - perhaps even a bit of a dandy - are happily engaged. They both know they are living somewhat beyond their means but they take comfort in their expectation of the inheritance of a very sizable fortune from their elderly aunt, Laura Welman. When they receive an anonymous mean-spirited letter suggesting that someone is cozying up to their aunt and worming their way into her affections, Elinor suspects young Mary Gerrard, her aunt's lodge-keeper's daughter. Rationalizing with one another that they really ought to be making a greater effort to see their aunt more frequently, Elinor and Roddy quickly pack up for a visit to Mrs Welman with a concerned view to protecting their interests in the estate.

During the course of their visit, when Roddy's head is turned by Mary Gerrard's stunning good looks and he becomes hopelessly infatuated with her, Elinor breaks off their engagement. When Mary Gerrard is murdered by the administration of a fatal dose of morphine in a sandwich and, shortly afterward, Aunt Laura dies intestate leaving Elinor as the sole heir of the entire estate by virtue of being the only surviving blood relative, Elinor quickly finds herself in the dock for Mary's murder. As the only suspect with both the means and the motive to dispose of Mary Gerrard, her conviction is all but certain.

But "Sad Cypress" is a complex mystery with many motivational twists and turns. Roddy Welman's head wasn't the only head turned with new found love. Peter Lord, the Welman's family physician, has fallen behind over tea kettle into love with Elinor Carlisle.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sure, there is always Ten Little Indians (also the best!!!) and Cards on the Table. But this one is very neatly plotted that - as it was with every other Christie - you can never expect what will surface just as soon as you thought you had it all figured out. Here, although the great Dame herself claimed would not revert to using Freudian complexes, she used a few here, perhaps unintentionally. And when the end of book one, you can't help but thinking that only one person can commit the murder under those given circumstances. Read it!
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Before i read this book,little i know that this book could be a fast moving mystery book.the book is about a mystery surrounding one family of a poor woman who has been convicted with murder.but for the obvious reason(whodunnit),she is the most unlikely person to kill the victim...and the story goes on how hercule poirot investigates the murder to assist an innocent party....this book must be put on your upper shelf!!!
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This 1939 novel has been compared to the 1930 STRONG POISON by Dorothy Sayers. Both novels begin with the courtroom observations of a young woman accused of murder by poisoning. Both young women are befriended by a young man who sets out to clear her of the crime and fall in love with her in the process. Christie's rescuer is named Peter Lord while Sayers' is, of course, Lord Peter. Even with these similarities the two stories, although both excellent, are vastly different.
Elinor Carlisle had an understanding with her cousin-by-marriage Roderick Welman, that one day they would wed, live happily in their mutual Aunt Laura's country house with her considerable fortune somehow split between them. The plan suited them all, Elinor, Roddy and Aunt Laura. Aunt Laura was now in failing health and was being cared for by nurses, her servants, a doctor and Mary, a young woman who had grown up on the estate and of whom Aunt Laura had always been quite fond...perhaps too fond for Elinor and Roddy's own good.
Aunt Laura died, not to anyone's surprise but had left no will, much to everyone's surprise. As her only living blood relative Elinor inherited everything - lucky Elinor! Except Mary was so lovely, and Roddy so smitten with her that the engagement was called off. Then Mary died, of poison and Elinor was the only one of could have committed the crime.
Dr. Lord made an impassioned plea to Hercule Poirot to prove Elinor innocent - if she was in fact innocent. Poirot reluctantly agrees and begins to sort through motives, love affairs and long buried secrets to arrive at the truth.
The opening is dramatic altough it causes the problem of making the most sympathetic character, Mary, known to the read as the victim. The questions remain, however, of who did it, why, and how for the reader to try to puzzle through before Poirot reveals all.
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