Agatha: Sad Cypress
My Rating: B
I’m sure many of you have been wondering if I had given up on my quest to read all of Agatha Christie’s 87 novels. The answer is no – I haven’t given up, but my progress has stalled. I think I just got bored with it. One book a month was just too much. I’m going to attempt to start reading them again but on a slower pace.
Sad Cypress was a nice simple detective story that got me back in the groove. It is classic Christie: the clues subtly slipped into the story, there was a manageable number of characters to pay attention to, and a plot that was straightforward and easy to follow.
The novel was arranged in three parts. The first part set up the basic characters and their backgrounds. The second part laid out the murders and introduced Hercule Poirot into the story. The third part was the court trail and Poirot’s summation of all the details. Very easy to read and understand.
Here’s the summary of the story: Elinor receives an anonymous letter stating that ‘some girl’ is trying to take over her place in the heart of her aunt. That could possibly hurt Elinor’s chances of inheriting her aunt’s great fortune when the aunt dies. Elinor immediately thinks of Mary, the daughter of the Lodgekeeper, and someone Elinor’s aunt has always been very fond of.
Elinor and her fiance, Roddy (a distant cousin), travel out to the aunt’s home for a visit and to assess the situation. That night Elinor’s aunt communicates that she wants her solicitor to come the next day so she can add a provision in her will for Mary. However, the aunt dies before morning. The solicitor tells Elinor her aunt never got around to making a will. Her aunt dies intestate, so Elinor is the sole beneficiary of her estate.
While all of this is going on there is plenty of other activity. Roddy falls in love with Mary, so Elinor breaks their engagement. There’s lots of gossip provided by the nurses and the housekeeper. The doctor also seems to like Elinor a great deal. Hmm, he’s rather shy about it. And then, Mary is murdered, suppossedly poison in sandwiches served by Elinor. Of course,. Elinor is considered the logical perpetrator and is arrested.
The doctor refuses to believe Elinor is guilty. He hires Hercule Poirot to prove she didn’t do it. Poirot, who is an honorable man, will only take the assignment if he can only get to the truth. The doctor agrees. Poirot sets out to solve the case by ferreting out every single detail of the murder and of the lives of every single person involved. Naturally, he succeeds. Fortunately for me, the murderer is exactly who I thought it was.
This wasn’t my favorite Agatha story, but ir was still a fun mystery to figure out. I’ll recommend it to you. The Agatha Christie Reading Challenge is still going on over at Mysteries in Paradise. Check it out if you are interested. It’s not too late to join.