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The Great Christie Read 2012: Sad Cypress

Sad Cypress is another Poirot story, though, like Miss Marple in Moving Finger, he's brought in later in the story by a concerned party who thinks outside counsel is needed to set things straight. 

It was published in 1940, and it's kind of a melancholy story. In certain respects it's more formulaic than the others I've mentioned so far, as a setting is created, tension develops, a crime is committed. The difference is, the accused is known from the beginning, and the story unfolds to show events leading up to the trial. Sound familiar? This is how Dorothy L. Sayers set up Strong Poison, and the similarities don't end there. Strong Poison is a better book, in truth, because it has more guts to it, but Sad Cypress is fairly gripping, and it has that enjoyable characteristic of making you feel you are collecting clues all the way through, except that the mind of Poirot is required in order to put them together correctly. While it isn't one of Agatha Christie's best books, even her "average" ones are enjoyable and well worth reading.

Two fun things to know: first, the character who brings Poirot into the picture is Dr Peter Lord, and that is definitely a cheeky nod to the Sayers story featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, and second, the 2003 Poirot adaptation of this story is actually pretty good, and faithful to the original. This cannot be said of all of them...

Here's a fun cover from 1951. It has a clue on it! Screen Shot 2012-10-21 at 11.25.17 AM