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Sad Cypress: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Sad Cypress: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Written by Agatha Christie

Narrated by David Suchet


Sad Cypress: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Written by Agatha Christie

Narrated by David Suchet

ratings:
4/5 (112 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 3, 2012
ISBN:
9780062232137
Format:
Audiobook

Description

In Agatha Christie's classic murder mystery Sad Cypress, a woman damned by overwhelming evidence stands accused of murdering her romantic rival, and only Hercule Poirot stands between her and the gallows.

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.…

Publisher:
Released:
Jul 3, 2012
ISBN:
9780062232137
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Agatha Christie is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime. Her books have sold over a billion copies in English with another billion in over 70 foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time and in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. She is the author of 80 crime novels and short story collections, 20 plays, and six novels written under the name of Mary Westmacott.


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Reviews

What people think about Sad Cypress

4.2
112 ratings / 31 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Poirot tackles a courtroom battle.

    "Sad Cypress" is a fascinating Poirot story, combining the weight of Christie’s most mature works with her more ‘classic’ mystery structure.

    "Sad Cypress" is a complex but believable mystery, not quite as flashy as Poirot’s most famous works, but very skillfully put together. Coming off of her most prolific decade, Christie was an unstoppable force. Like the carefree, decadent characters who pervaded films in spite of the Depression, the War really did nothing to quash the appeal of Christie’s cruel worlds. Here, Poirot gets to be a champion for justice – always one of his strongest suits – with some convincing courtroom drama (practically unique to Christie’s oeuvre). Perhaps a classic.

    Poirot ranking: 13th out of 38.
  • (4/5)
    The clues in this one are hidden well. A woman standing trial for murder seems to be the obvious, indeed the only possible killer. Maybe xer motives, mysterious pasts, and red herrings abound. Not the best Poirot, but certainly not the worst.
  • (4/5)

    I really enjoyed the differences in this book, as Poirot was blessedly absent for the most part. No matter how much I enjoy the mystery, sometimes I get tired of his pomposity...

    Elinor Carlisle stands accused of poisoning, Mary, a younger woman she had every reason to hate & be jealous of..... Mary, a working class girl, had been sent to Germany to be educated by Elinor's Aunt Laura. As Aunt Laura has had a stroke, Elinor receives an anonymous letter saying that Mary is buttering up Aunt Laura in hopes of gleaning her estate.

    Elinor & her fiance, Roddy Welman (Elinor's distant cousin) immediately visit Aunt Laura.... When Roddy sets eyes upon Mary, he is smitten and Elinor promptly calls off the engagement....

    Aunt Laura suffers a second stroke & begs Elinor to call for her solicitor so that she may make a will..... At this point: Elinor promises her Aunt that Mary shall be taken care of; a vial of Morphine goes missing; and Aunt Laura dies in her sleep intestate....

    Later, as Elinor cleans out her Aunt's mansion in preparation to sell it, she invites Mary (whom she has promised a goodly sum of 2,000 GBP) & Nurse Hopkins (Aunt Laura's nurse & Mary's mentor) to lunch..... While Elinor & Nurse are out of the room Mary succumbs to a deadly dose of morphine.....

    Elinor is arrested (as she was the one who made lunch), Aunt Laura is exhumed, and the good doctor Peter Lord (which I kept reading as "Lord Peter") call on M. Poirot to prove Elinor's innocence.

    There are several more lesser mysteries involved which come together nicely with the main story..... For Once I Figured out who the murderer was!
  • (4/5)
    A somewhat atypical Poirot in that half the story happens before he is ever involved. The rest is quite typical - upper class central characters, village supporting cast, inheritance, mysterious personal stories. David Suchet's reading made this a very enjoyable listen.
  • (4/5)
    This is a wonderful mystery by one of the greats. Elinor Carlisle is accused of killing Mary Gerrard because she will have to share an inheritance with her; or maybe because they are both in love with the same man. All evidence clearly indicates she is guilty and even when Hercule Poirot can see no hope based on what he sees, it takes some convincing by a doctor to have him look at the case.Slowly, he finds little lies being told by everyone including one about the real identity of the victim. Then there is the missing tube of morphine carelessly left unguarded by a nurse.
  • (2/5)
    I read this instead of a contemporary mystery for book group. I think the culture has changed enough, as well as the literary expectations, that this book seemed very black and white and flat. I missed description as well as little subplots. I appreciate her skill with the plot, but I think if it was presented to an editor today, it wouldn't pass muster.
  • (4/5)
    Hercule Poirot does it again. I’m quite enjoying this series. I will probably pick up more of her detective series when I’m done with this one.
  • (4/5)
    This wasn't great. Poirot didn't appear for ages and then a lot of the ground had to be covered over again for his benefit. Elinor was a hard heroine to root for - I don't think Christie made her 'love' for Roddy very believable, or any of her emotions actually. Still, the misdirection was excellent - I kept changing my mind about the identity of the murderer.
  • (5/5)
    Good story and great reading by David Suchet. Thank you!
  • (5/5)
    One of Christie's best with a trial scene ending no less.
  • (4/5)
    Until Poirot's late first appearance in the book, the latter played like a different story. I pretended that it was so. There were none of Poirot's "beloved" eccentricities. Not once did he talk in french. The entire story was a well imagined mystery with a somewhat nebulous solution. Since the denouement was not as explicit as the usual showdown, I didn't fully understand the details, but on the whole I've read what I believe to be a very satisfactory murder mystery. But why Sad Cypress?
  • (3/5)
    Old Mrs. Welman doesn't have long to live, but she's surrounded by people who care for her- two nurses, a niece and nephew, a housekeeper and the young woman Mrs Welman put through school. When Mrs. Welman dies without having made a will, someone takes steps to ensure the money is theirs.This has much more emphasis on romantic relationships than most Christies, and Poirot doesn't pop his egg-shaped head in for nearly one hundred pages. Other than that, this one sits right in the middle for me.
  • (5/5)
    an unconventional telling of a poirot story, a fiendishly clever puzzle, and a master class in red herrings!
  • (4/5)
    Really good story but it wasn't really a Poirot novel, it opens and closes with the characters involved in the murder and Poirot makes but a passing appearance. The end revelation is rather spectacular I must say and I don't think anyone would guess at the method used. I liked Elinor a lot in this.
  • (4/5)
    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 trueDid share it.(Act II, Scene IV of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night)No. 21 in the Hercule Poirot series. Distant cousins Elinor Carlisle and Roddy Welman are engaged to be married when they receive an anonymous letter claiming that someone is 'sucking up' to their wealthy aunt, Laura Welman, putting their inheritance in jeopardy. Mary Gerrard, the lodgekeeper's daughter, has a close relationship with their aunt and is poisoned after Roddy in infatuated with her and calls off his engagement to Elinor. Poirot is persuaded to investigate the case, even though Elinor has already been arrested.
  • (5/5)
    AUTHOR: Christie, AgathaTITLE: Sad CypressDATE READ: 04/05/14RATING: 5/AGENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS: Mystery/1939/Putnam/271 pgs SERIES/STAND-ALONE: SATIME/PLACE: 1930's/UKCHARACTERS: Elinor Carlisle; Roderick Welman; Mary GerrardFIRST LINES: An anonymous letter! Elinor Carlisle stood looking down at it as it lay open in her hand. She'd never had such a thing before. It gave one an unpleasant sensation. Ill-written, badly spelled, on cheap pink paper. COMMENTS: Is there anyone better at the puzzle in mysteries? I have read Agatha Christie over the years. I think I read most years ago when I was in my 20's and still pick one up on occasion -- usually so many books so little time, I don't go back for re-reads-- I only get to one when chosen as a group read. And I am always glad to read a mystery by Agatha Christie -- they always hold my attention & I am always wondering who dunnit & usually have to wait until the final hour to be told who it is. I picked Sad Cypress because I had a copy I had gotten from library sale last year. Debated about giving it away/trading it but held on to it. At first I thought I had read this one recently because it had some similarities to The Crooked House I read 2+ years ago (in 2012) but then as I kept reading it became clear this was a different book. Not that I really remember all the details of Crooked House. In this book Elinor, Roderick & Mary knew each other as children. They have in common Aunt Laura -- Elinor's aunt, Roderick's aunt by marriage & Mary lived at the lodge nearby. Aunt Laura didn't have children & took a special interest in Mary so they grew up knowing each other. Now they are in their 20's. Elinor & Roddy are engaged and live in London. Mary has received an education thanks to Aunt Laura, altho' her father believes she is "moving beyond her station", and altho' is currently around to see to Aunt Laura while she is ill she is pondering what she shall do to support herself. Elinor & Roddy travel to the estate to visit Aunt Laura who takes a turn for the worse & dies rather suddenly. She died w/o leaving a will and since Elinor is the closest relative, she inherits. At the same time Roddy is fascinated w/ Mary and decides to break his engagment w/ Elinor. When Mary dies a month later, after having tea w/ Elinor -- almost everyone has presumed Elinor is accountable for the murder. However, there is one person who believes in Elinor, even if he is doubtful of her innocence & he calls in Hercule Poirot to ferret the facts from the lies.
  • (3/5)
    Usually Christie's books rate higher for me but Sad Cypress just didn't pull me in to the mystery as so many of her other ones have. I found myself having to reread passages and often looking for other books to read instead. The lengthy exposition of the crime which takes half of the book breaks the usual pacing of a Christie mystery and the book never seems to recover from it.
  • (4/5)
    Elinor Carlisle and her fiancé Roderick Welman travel to see their aunt, who is recovering from a stroke, after receiving an anonymous letter alerting them that their inheritance may be in danger. They meet with Mary Gerrard, a young woman and Aunt Laura's companion, and Roderick becomes infatuated with her, causing Elinor to call off the engagement. When Laura Welman dies intestate after suffering a second stroke, Elinor inherits her aunt's fortune. But then Mary dies suddenly and suspicion immediately falls on Elinor, and she is arrested and faces trial for murder. Hercule Poirot, at the request of Dr Lord, the family doctor, starts asking questions and soon discovers that several people have not been telling the truth about what has happened ...This book is unusual in several aspects: Poirot doesn't get involved until nearly halfway through the book, Elinor Carlisle is one of Agatha Christie's most complex heroines, and several clues are deliberately repressed by the author, even if the rest of the novel is pure Christie, and the mystery quite ingenious, though as ever quite unlikely. The reason I enjoy reading Agatha Christie's books is because I enjoy picking up on the clues left by the author and trying to guess the identity of the culprit before the big reveal; if clues aren't revealed then half the joy is gone. An entertaining read but one I'll probably not re-read.
  • (4/5)
    England, ca 1960Ellinor Katharine Carlisle er anklaget for mord på Mary Gerrard. Baggrunden er at Ellinors tante, fru Welman, er død og har efterladt Ellinor alt. Uheldigvis har Ellinors forlovede, Roderick Welman, ved samme lejlighed fået øjne for Mary Gerrard, som er datter af portneren men er blevet taget under fru Welmans vinger og har fået en god opdragelse. Forlovelsen bliver ophævet, men Ellinor er ved at gå til over det. Huset bliver sat til salg og Mary dukker op for at tømme portnerboligen efter at hendes far er død. Under oprydningen opdager hun at portneren nok var hendes mors mand men ikke hendes far. Samme dag dør hun af forgiftning og Ellinor er den oplagte at mistænke. En sygeplejerske Søster Hopkins mistede en flaske morfin lige inden fru Welman døde og som følge af Marys død, bliver fru Welman også obduceret og hun viser sig også at være myrdet med morfin.Huslægen Peter Lord er forelsket i Ellinor og kontakter Hercule Poirot. Poirot snakker med alle involverede og opdager at de næsten allesammen lyver eller skjuler noget.Ellinor viser sig at være uskyldig, og Poirot får hende frikendt ved at finde den virkelige morder. Det viser sig at være Søster Hopkins, der i virkeligheden er søster til Marys mor, der faktisk blot er hendes adoptivmor. Mary var datter af fru Welman og motivet til begge mord var at få fingre i fru Welmans penge. Søster Hopkins viser sig at hedde Mary Riley og være fra New Zealand og formentlig har hun også stået bag nogle mistænkelig dødsfald der.Undervejs er der nogle sjove overvejelser om det at elske en anden for meget.Vældig spændende krimi
  • (3/5)
    Sad Cypress opens in a court scene at the trial of Elinor Carlisle for the murder of Mary Gerrard. In the dock Elinor starts to reflect on events which have led up to this moment and readers are taken back to when she received an anonymous letter suggesting that a young lady is ingratiating herself with Elinor’s bedridden Aunt Laura with the aim of being left the considerable fortune that Aunt Laura possesses. Elinor and her Aunt’s nephew by marriage, Roddy, to whom she has just become engaged leave London for Maidensford and find that Aunt Laura has become very fond of Mary Gerrard, the lodgekeeper’s daughter. Although they leave things unresolved for the moment a further stroke leads to another visit during which Aunt Laura dies. Activities involving the subsequent winding up of her estate ultimately lead to Mary Gerrard’s death and the arrest of Elinor for her murder. Hercule Poirot is called in by the village doctor, Peter Lord, who is somewhat smitten with Elinor and wants her acquitted.

    As usual with the best Christie tales the intricate plot is the standout feature of Sad Cypress. Although one always knows that the obvious answer cannot be the real solution everything points to Elinor’s guilt and I did wonder how Ms Christie (or M. Poirot) would work their way out of this particular corner. The resolution is clever and, at least by me, unexpected. The final portion of the book took readers back to the courtroom where the case for the defense is laid out and we see what Poirot made of all the odd little facts he has accumulated with his seemingly random conversations with all the players in the drama. I did find the ending a bit drawn out with several unnecessary repetitions of key information.

    I’m struck once again by the themes that recur in Christie’s work including her observations of how different classes of English society rub along together and her depiction of the damage that old family secrets can do. Although I sometimes find her characterisations a bit dated and stereotypical here she does an above average job of depicting interesting and believable people and Poirot seemed to be at his best: egotistical but not over the top.

    Finally, I’ll admit that though I alone think Peter Ustinov as the best Poirot (but only in Death on the Nile) I am myself smitten with David Suchet’s narration of Christie books. He makes reading them a delight (rating is 3.5)
  • (4/5)
    I liked it, it's a nice easy read, and kept me guessing til the end.
  • (4/5)
    This is a somewhat typical country house murder with a typical cast of characters – a wealthy invalid with stylish young relatives who live a bit above their means, a beautiful but penniless neighbor, a handsome young doctor, a couple of private duty nurses. There's also a love triangle (or is it a rectangle)? What's atypical for this series is that Poirot isn't called in until a trial is imminent. Since he wasn't at the scene of the crime, he has to rely more than ever on his little gray cells to sort out truth from falsehood as he interviews witnesses.I don't think this structure suits Poirot very well. There's too much distance between Poirot, the evidence, and the suspects. Since a lot of the evidence is presented in the courtroom, the reader doesn't get the benefit of Poirot's cryptic comments on the significance of some apparently trivial clue or bit of information. He has to save it all for his summing up. While this doesn't rank among Christie's best, in my opinion, it's still better than the best of many other mystery authors. Readers who already have a few Poirot novels under their belts might enjoy the change of pace.
  • (4/5)
    "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 yewO prepare it;My part of death no one so true;Did share it."Wm ShakespeareAnother innocent young lady charged with murder.Another crime solved by the magnificent Hercule Poirot.I am coming to love the Agatha Christies.I recommend this one as well and gave it 3 1/2 stars out of 5.
  • (5/5)
    This was an unusual case because on the face of it the charges of murder against Elinor Carlisle were supported by irrefutable evidence.Hercule Poirot is brought into the case by Dr. Lord who is actually being called as a witness for the prosecution. He however has fallen in love with Elinore and believes she is innocent.Hercule Poirot is amazed by the fact that everyone he talks to tells him lies. Some are just small lies and he can understand why the person has lied. But then he comes across a lie that seems unnecessary. The other thing that prompts his involvement is that he becomes convinced that the truth lies not in what he knows about Elinor Carlisle, but in what he does not know about Mary Gerrard.SAD CYPRESS really has a very clever and intriguing plot. I liked also the way the reader gets to see things from Elinor's point of view, and is privy to her thoughts.
  • (4/5)
    Here we have two Christie mysteries (Sad Cypress & Why Didn't They Ask Evans?), both written around the same time, both make use of telephones and license plates and both have similar poison by morphia murders. I thought both were, as expected, fine mysteries with interesting twists and turns. Neither are the absolute best of Agatha Christie but the contrast between the two highlights just how great of a character Hercule Poirot is. Why Didn't They Ask Evans? comes across as an afternoon movie plot with its cast of Bobby Jones and Lady Frances doing the solving (barely) and Sad Cypress has the magisterial air of Poirot to give it a fine luster.
  • (3/5)
    Another great Poirot read with everything hanging on a scrap of paper and seemingly meaningless lie. A heroine falsely accused but apathetic because she has condemned herself morally. Clever and tragic.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of my favourite Christie's and in it she explores one of her favoourite plots, as some one. who might just be innocent is tried for murder. Elinor Carlisle is an interesting character, not necessarily likeable, but complex. The revelation of the murderer is a shock and is not revealed in Poirot's usual grandstanding manner.
  • (4/5)
    This was the first Agatha Christie I’ve listened to with a courtroom portion. I thought it was quite good, and kept me guessing until the end. At the beginning, it’s really hard to believe that Elinor didn’t do it.
  • (4/5)
    An Agatha Christie courtroom drama - this is the first book of hers I've read that takes place mainly in a courtroom. And there is NOT the usual dramatic scene where Poirot speaks to all the suspects and reveals the killer. That was a surprise. This is one of my favorites so far. Poirot is his usual self. There is a damsel in distress of course. But the plot has dramatic twists and complexities. I did have a hunch as to who the killer was, but did not know how or why. The love story is more developed than in other works, which I liked. The depth and complexity made me enjoy the story more and I could not put it down.
  • (4/5)
    Isn't it Romantic?Apart from the novels she wrote under the pen name Mary Westmacott, Agatha Christie's 1940 mystery Sad Cypress may just be her most romantic book. It's the most unapologetically love-gushy of the 27 Christie mysteries I've read so far (which amounts to about one-third of her canon).Being the prim and proper product of the Victorian era that she was, Agatha usually kept her romantic subplots bound tighter than a laced-up corset. Yes, there was often a love interest in her mysteries, but she did her best to keep the hearts-and-roses stuff suppressed until the last chapter. Agatha once said, "I myself always found the love interest a terrible bore in detective stories. Love, I felt, belong to romantic stories. To force a love motif into what should be a scientific process went much against the grain."That may be true in most cases, but Sad Cypress finds the Grand Dame of Mysteries chafing against the grain throughout the book.Not that the romance trumps the mystery. Not by a long-shot. Those who are looking for murder, deceit and intrigue will find it in spades here in Sad Cypress. The plot revolves around an elderly dowager, Mrs. Welman who, contrary to her name, is not in the pink of health and suffers two strokes in the course of the book's early chapters.When they get an anonymous letter warning them that a girl in the household is "sucking up" to the widowed invalid and might prevent their chances of an inheritance, niece Elinor Carlisle and nephew Roddy Welman make a quick trip to the woman's estate. They have plans for the old lady's money and it involves their eventual marriage. You see, Elinor and Roddy are literally kissing cousins, having maintained a cool, detached love affair for quite some time. They're lovers, but their feelings for each other run deep under a cool surface.As always when she saw Roddy, Elinor was conscious of a slightly giddy feeling, a throb of sudden pleasure, a feeling that it was incumbent upon her to be very matter-of-fact and unemotional. Because it was so very obvious that Roddy, although he loved her, didn't feel about her the way she felt about him. The first sight of him did something to her, twisted her heart round so that it almost hurt. Absurd that a man—an ordinary, yes, a perfectly ordinary young man—should be able to do that to one! That the mere look of him should set the world spinning, that his voice should make you want—just a little—to cry…Love surely should be a pleasurable emotion—not something that hurt you by its intensity…This passage comes from Chapter One. Normally, Agatha would save something like this for Chapter Twenty-Eight—if, indeed, she included such heart-throbbing, light-headed language at all. This is the stuff of Norah Lofts or Barbara Cartland, not Agatha Christie. The mere presence of passages like that stands in sharp contrast to Hercule Poirot, who enters the scene after two of the characters have died (at the risk of spoiling your enjoyment of Sad Cypress, I won't reveal the victims).Romantic complications ensue after Elinor and Roddy arrive at Mrs. Welman's estate. We already know that Roddy is clinically detached in how he views their relationship:Elinor, he thought judicially, was really quite perfect. Nothing about her ever jarred or offended. She was delightful to look at, witty to talk to—altogether the most charming of companions.But then Mary comes into view.She is the young girl who is allegedly "sucking up" to old Mrs. Welman. Mary is the lodgekeeper's daughter and has gotten quite close to the ailing woman and, yes, there is the chance she could be written into the will.After receiving the anonymous letter and rushing to Mrs. Welman's bedside, Roddy is out wandering through the woods, thinking about the pleasant way in which Elinor never jars nor offends, when…suddenly…she appears:A girl came through the trees toward him—a girl with pale, gleaming hair and a rose-flushed skin.He thought, "How beautiful—how unutterably beautiful."Something gripped him; he stood quite still, as though frozen into immobility. The world, he felt, was spinning, was topsy-turvy, was suddenly and impossibly and gloriously crazy!And so, Agatha sets up a deliciously tense love triangle which eventually proves to be central to the novel's mystery plot. Here, she integrates and intertwines love and murder as she rarely has before.I notice that I've given scant mention to Monsieur Hercule Poirot. He's part of the love story, too. He's in love with himself—and supremely confident in his abilities to sort out all the pieces of the puzzle. Never fear—everything is easy to Hercule Poirot. This comes from the mouth of the Belgian himself. He will find the killer and the true lovers will eventually find each other by the close of the book.