I have again joined up to the #ReadChristie challenge this year and the theme for 2023 is Methods and Motives. Each month a book will be chosen to match that month’s theme. The first official choice is Sad Cypress with it’s theme of jealousy. ou don’t need to read the official choice but can match another AG novel to the theme. As I know it take’s me ages to chose an Agatha Christie novel to read, as there are so many good one’s, and I did already have a copy of Sad Cypress on my book shelves, I decided on the official choice this month.
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…
I’ve watched this one on TV before but had never picked up a copy to read. Slightly different to most novel’s by Agatha Christie, this is one of her books which starts with someone already arrested and charged with murder. With the prologue opening the book with main character Elinor Carlisle in court charged with the murder of Mary Gerrard, the book goes back in time to when Elinor receives a strange anonymous letter from a ‘well-wisher’, encouraging her to pay a visit to her very sick Aunt Laura. Apparently there is someone buttering up to her aunt in order to cut Elinor out of the will. Elinor and her fiancé Roddy, have always been under the assumption that they will be the main benefactors in Aunt Laura’s will and decide to go down and see what could be going on.
Without giving the story away, not too long after Elinor pays her visit the murder of Mary Gerrard occurs. The same person who Elinor and Roddy think is the person accused of making trouble in the anonymous letter. Is Mary after the money? Did Elinor kill her? Soon Poirot is called in and he is determined to find the killer, even if it really was the beautiful Elinor.
Full of mis direction and the obligatory secrets from the past this was a great who done it, with one of the best thought out, ‘who to’ in her collection. The way the murderer hides it from being them is wonderful, but Poirot finds out! Of course he does.
Sad Cypress was first published in 1933. The edition of the book pictured with the ReadChristie2023 cards is my own copy and is a Fontana Books edition which they first published in 1959. It doesn’t say which year my particular copy was printed but with a price of 2’6 clearly before 1971. The book is dedicated to Peter and Peggy McLeod.
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 true;
Did share it.