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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 August 2017
We see the first courtroom mystery for M. Poirot in the emotionally charged Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie. The plot revolves around a possible miscarriage of justice and Poirot becomes determined to dig out the truth. Elinor Carlisle is charged with the murder of her childhood friend, following a sad series of events, involving love, betrayal and heartbreak. Evidence against her seems almost impossible to refute.... but the case just seems too neat and simple for our little Begian detective, who feels that there must be more to it than meets the eye. Only Poirot stands between Elinor Carlisle and the hangmans' noose. It's an interesting case for Poirot and an engaging, turbulent and intense read. A complex plot, red herrings aplenty, deep characterisation and with a denouement which is quite superb, this one may well have you guessing until the very end...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 June 2017
Amongst my favourites, Evil Under the Sun does not disappoint. M. Poirot, hoping to enjoy a little sojourn in the sun, takes a holiday. Murder is never far behind. A beautiful actress and one of the hotel guests, Arlena, is murdered on a nearby beach. A host of suspects and a host of motives. M. Poirot exercises his little grey cells once more with astounding results. Perfectly plotted, sparkling dialogue and with a conclusion that, of course, is beyond belief but, as a reader, that we are ever keen to believe such is the genius of Christie. Highly recommended. (The BBC audio dramatisation of this novel is also superb and well worth listening to.)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 June 2017
Following the terrifying ordeal (for M. Poirot!) of a visit to his dentist, (complete sympathy there!), M. Poirot becomes involved in a convoluted case of murder, politics, finance and identity. He must follow up the apparent case of the suicide of his dentist, being convinced that it is not suicide at all but rather murder. The well known nursery rhyme is used as a basis for the story where nothing is quite what it seems. An enjoyable tale with a somewhat fantastical conclusion but nicely done, reflecting the perhaps tumultuous era in which it was written. You will not be disappointed. A good read.
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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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on 10 January 2018
Whilst reading "Poirot and Me" by David Suchet I came across this title and realised I had never read it. So glad I purchased the book and finally read it. One of Poirot's very early cases and I think his first Courtroom one. A wonderful assortment of characters, some likeable others you'd like to slap! Lots of red herrings leading to think you've solved the murder only for the Poirot to point out the error of your thought process. Proves again why nobody does these stories better than Agatha Christie. A great page turner and one you could return to and curl up with time and time again.
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on 20 April 2016
Agatha Christie never disappoints. Definitely one for her fans. Poirot is the same old genius sleuth and the plot leaves you guessing. I won't spoil it by going into the detail of the plot because it's so readable, aren't all Christie's novels, you can't put it down. If you haven't read this, why not? I've been trying to complete all Christie's novels and short stories and am finally getting there but there are so many and while some of the characters are like old friends, the stories are not of the formulaic kind. Yes Poirot is a genius and in the end his little grey cells solve the case but every book is fresh with new ideas and new twists.
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on 18 June 2013
Brilliantly written and one of my favourites, Poirot goes on holiday for a rest and soon finds himself solving a murder instead. Young, beautiful and flirtatious Arleena Stewart is murdered on a sunny beach. Poirot soon find himself amongst a nest of vipers and opening a can of worms. Nothing and no one is quite what it appears on the surface and motives are in abundance. Poirot can't help but feel that this crime has been committed by somebody who knows what they are doing and has got it off to a fine art as it were.

Can Poirot solve this mystery before the holidays are over?

Very good book. Would recommend.
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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 20 June 2013
Vintage Poirot. As is almost always the case, you have to reach the very end of the book before you have any inkling as to who the murdered is. With Christie you can't adopt the Midsomer Murder trick of looking to see who is the least likely candidate and know that that almost certainly will turn out to be the murdered. In Christie's books it might or might not be the least likely person, or even someone beyond that! Or it might be a seemingly obvious person, but somehow she manages to put in so many twists and turns that you end up thinking it can't be. Genius. In this book you get many options - Secret Service, anarchists, family, financial motives, economic de-stablisation motives, personal motives and much more. I guarantee that you will not work out who the murderer is until Poirot, splendid as ever, reveals his, her or their identity/identities at the end. Superb.
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2010
I understand the criticisms posted elsewhere, but in my opinion this novel's complexity is one of its major strengths. Questions of identity are key to most of Agatha Christie's novels, some of them more believable than others. In 'One Two Buckle My Shoe', she makes it pretty obvious early on that identity is an issue, particularly in relation to one of the female characters. The plot and collection of characters are such, however, that almost everyone appears to have something to hide. There is a danger that this device is overdone, but for me, Christie makes it convincing. Contrast this with her previous novel, 'Sad Cypress', which, though enjoyable, is almost routinely formulaic and one-dimensional in its concealment of identity. I first read 'One Two Buckle My Shoe' as a child in the early 1970s and find it as satisfying now as I recall finding it then. Though not one of her top ten novels, I still think it's a masterpiece.
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