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on 9 January 2017
This is one of my favourite Christie books but I really wish it had been narrated by Hugh Fraser, who I feel narrates all the Christie books really well.

Suchet on the other hand is fine for some of the characters, and of course wonderful as Poirot, but others, especially the females, have been given quite irritating voices which I find distracting, especially the main character and the Aunt.

It's unfortunate as he is clearly a good narrator in general but seems to make odd choices in characterizations (I can't listen to his narration of "Death on the Nile" due to his interpretation of Colonel Race).

He sometimes emphasises the wrong word in a sentence and at other times uses a tone or emotion that doesn't seem to fit, especially with the Aunt.
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on 9 August 2017
Great book that I just had to finish, once started you can't put it down until you know the truth and see how it was done, another Agatha Christie masterpiece.
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on 11 February 2009
Sad Cypress is one of Christie's books which stand out in my memory, and that now and then I fancy reading again. The twist at the end, which is surprising and quite prosaic, the magic of the Christie atmosphere, in between style and tension is there, and the implied importance of heredity and class are almost Victorian!

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.
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on 11 November 2014
An interesting opening and revelation of guilt in the background leading to a satisfactory conclusion.
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VINE VOICEon 10 April 2007
This book is cited as a favourite perhaps more than any other by hardcore Christie fans, and with good reason. It's outstanding in the Christie catalogue. Beautifully written (for this type of book anyway!) and the most emotionally engaging and affecting of all her work, it's an absolute gem.
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on 10 January 2017
This is truly a gem and one of my favourites. It stands out with its atmosphere, and tension sustained throughout. Elimore Carlisle is a fantastic character and there are times you feel she's guilty. The twist came as a surprise. Simply outstanding.
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on 8 February 2012
In 'Sad Cypress' Hercule Poirot is hired on behalf of an accused murderer in an attempt to get her off the charges, despite all the evidence saying that she's guilty.

I found it quite a quick read, and enjoyable, though I'm afraid I didn't spot the solution before it was unveiled for me. The set of characters are the usual, but the country house setting , although present, is at least utilised slightly differently.

The characters are a good, rounded set and it's nice to see a lot of the story from one of their point-of-view rather than coming in with Poirot or Hastings (who is absent from this story). This allowed Christie to blend genres a bit and add a little romance to the story.
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on 8 April 2011
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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on 6 June 2012
Christies novels vary, for me, in how well they've stood the test of time. Also, though the crime is always convoluted, sometimes things go just a little bit too far! I think Sad Cypress is a winner judged on both these criteria and I'm surprised it's not more famous than it is. There's real atmosphere and tension and the characters are more vividly drawn than in some other Poirot adventures (Dead Man's Folly, for example). Elinore Carlisle is one of Christie's better characters I think. Her repressed passion and unrequited love lead her to the edge of madness and make her actions seem believable when they're actually quite odd. I liked the narration style, which includes excerpts from letters, and felt this kept me 'on my toes' looking for clues. The ending is particularly mature and thoughtful for Christie, who often ends novels as if she ran out of ink. Poirot is a joy, as ever - the main reason for reading any of these novels.
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Published in 1940, this is one of Poirot’s most intriguing cases. Elinor Carlisle stands accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard and the first part of this book looks at her looking back at the events which led her there. It begins with Elinor receiving an anonymous letter, warning her that someone has been trying to take her place in her Aunt Laura’s affections. Her aunt is an invalid, having had a stroke, and is cared for at her house by two nurses and Dr Peter Lord. Mary Gerrard is the daughter of servants, but Elinor’s aunt has always taken an interest in the girl and paid for her education and the young girl acts almost as a companion to the older woman in return.

Elinor comes across as a slightly cold and controlled young woman, but she is passionately in love with Roddy Welman, who she has known since they were young children and who are both related to Aunt Laura. The couple plan to marry and expect that Aunt Laura will leave one or the other of them the house and money in her will. However, Elinor’s future is suddenly changed forever, when Roddy falls head over heels in love with Mary. Before long, Aunt Laura has died and her lack of a will means that Elinor inherits. However, when Mary is poisoned, Elinor’s is accused of killing her out of jealousy.

This is an unusual Poirot novel, in that there is a possible miscarriage of justice, which is something hardly ever suggested in an Agatha Christie book. The evidence all seems to point to Elinor as the murderer, but Poirot is never wrong – as he himself assures us - and he promises to get to the truth. With interesting characters, a complex plot and some great courtroom scenes, this is a wonderful mystery. It is said most murders happen because of love or money and this has greed, jealousy and repressed emotions in abundance.
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