Sad Cypress (Poirot) Paperback – 18 Aug 2008
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“Poirot solves another exciting case”
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!See all Product description
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This excellent story has all of Agatha Christie's trademarks. There is the country house, an excellent cast of suspects - the brother just returned from Africa, the quiet secretary, the wife who was once an actress, and more. Poirot is though, the cat by the mousehole, as he puts it. When his grand denouncement comes, he has been patient and, of course, solved the murder. For anyone who wishes to perhaps try Christie, these stories are a great way of sampling her work.
But the most interesting feature as far as I'm concerned is in the character of Elinore Carlisle. Her skilfully repressed passion and devotion echo a side of the British character that often goes untold, and very possibly hints to the passionate side of Agatha Christie herself, who wrote romantic novels under the name of Mary Westmacott, and loved her first husband Archie Christie so intensely as to actually lose her mind temporarily when he left her for another woman (she experienced a brief "fugue" where she lost her memory and signed into a hotel with the name of her husband's new flame).
As for plot, narration does feel somewhat disjointed as the story is narrated in retrospective, and in parts through letters, but it really does work, and the ending doesn't disappoint.
Poirot joins the story quite late, which makes for a change.
Elinor Carlisle remains one of my favourite Christie women.