Sad Cypress (Hercule Poirot Series)

Sad Cypress (Hercule Poirot Series)

by Agatha Christie


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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.…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062073945
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/30/2011
Series: Hercule Poirot Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 116,183
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.68(d)

About the Author

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976, after a prolific career spanning six decades.

Date of Birth:

September 15, 1890

Date of Death:

January 12, 1976

Place of Birth:

Torquay, Devon, England


Home schooling

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

Elizabeth George

“What Agatha Christie taught me was all about the delicate placement of the red herring. She was the ultimate genius behind ‘by indirections shall we find directions out.’”

Robert Barnard

Elegiac, emotionally involving and the ingenuity and superb cluing put Sad Cypress among the very best of Christie's classic titles.

Customer Reviews

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Sad Cypress 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really good. It's a quick read. The solution is nothing short of surprising. However the only bad point was that the final denouement was NOT presented by Poirot himself, but someone else entirely. Poirot still figures out the solution but someone else reveals it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Agatha christie displays her ingenuity yet again.A different sort of book with a totally unexpected ending.The plot is flawless and the ending really baffles you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Sad Cypress' is often referred to as one of the most outstanding of Christie's classic titles. To my mind, that's a bit like trying to say which flawless diamond shines the brightest. Nonetheless, this absorbing story is set in an English country house. As for Hercule Poirot - who else but David Suchet? He is acclaimed by many as the quintessential Poirot. Those who have seen his PBS performances will readily agree. His voice treatment of this tale brings to vivid reality all the nuances and eccentricities of the characters involved. 'Sad Cypress' presents Elinor Carlisle as a woman blessed with beauty and brains reinforced by wealth - she also finds herself on trial for murder. She stands accused of killing her rival, Mary Gerrard, by poison. Poirot is the only one who believes in her innocence. He needs to prove she is not guilty or Elinor will be hung. As with other Christie mysteries clues are liberally sprinkled throughout the tale. What fun to try to find them!
smik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
DirtPriest on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
rainpebble on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"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.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A collection of short stories featuring almost all of Christie's detectives. Miss Marple's story, told in a letter, is of helping a man accused of murdering his wife. Poirot is in this one too, working on a jewel theft, as is mysterious sleuth Parker Pyne, who interrupts his vacation to help some frustrated lovers. A good collection.
BookAngel_a on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
davidabrams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great mystery. The style is a little different, but it is very effective. However, to all the people who wrote reviews that really are not reviews: GET A LIFE!!! KEEP YOUR SENSELESS, OFTEN SICK, IRRELEVANT CRAP OUT OF THE REVIEW SECTION! If, and only if, you've read a book should you leave a review for it! It is NOT a forum for your crazy or bizarre rants, statements, and other assorted non book-related drivel!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Swooped down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lays down real sad
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Benedick_101 More than 1 year ago
Personally, I really loved "Sad Cypress". I thought that the scenery of her words were delightful, and the entire story was very good. The protagonist (Elinor Carlisle) is accused of murdering the young girl who she believed her fiancee to be in love with. Everything is working against her: the motive, the opportunity, the other witness statements, but fortunateky one thing that's working for her is Hercule Poirot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The_Iceman More than 1 year ago
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. When she is arrested, although even he is uncertain as to her guilt, he retains Hercule Poirot and charges him with finding the evidence to acquit her at any cost.

"Sad Cypress", a subtle, complex purely character driven mystery told virtually entirely through the device of dialogue, has an interesting three part structure. In the first part, told from Elinor Carlisle's perspective, we see the background of the entire story up to Mary Gerrard's murder. In the second part, we are witness to Poirot's subtle probing and investigation of the murder and, in the final third section, we sit in court as witness to Elinor's trial and prosecution for the murder. In a marvelous twist on the cozy mystery's usual climactic drawing room confrontation with all of the suspects, Poirot's findings are revealed to the reader by Elinor's defense lawyer during the proceedings of her trial.

While "Sad Cypress" is a marvelously entertaining mystery, I'm unwilling to accord it a full five star rating because I believe it violates what I always felt to be an unwritten set of rules governing the genre. The mystery in "Sad Cypress" is simply not solvable by an astute reader no matter how carefully one might read the story. Ultimately, the mystery is solved and revealed by virtue of information to which only Poirot is privy. The superb surprise ending is no less entertaining as a result but one does feel a little cheated.

On a historical note, I was interested to discover that this was Agatha Christie's first use of the courtroom setting in a Poirot mystery.

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss
Anonymous More than 1 year ago