Sad Cypress

  • Hercule Poirot
  • Novel
  • 1940

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.

The human face is, after all, nothing more nor less than a mask.

Peter Lord, Sad Cypress

More about this story

The first courtroom drama for Poirot, Sad Cypress was written in the build up to the Second World War, a particularly prolific period for Agatha Christie and her little Belgian. It is written in three parts – the defendant’s account, the build-up to the murder, and Poirot’s investigation. Reflecting upon the piece after publication, Christie decided it would have been better without the character of Poirot.

BBC Radio 4 dramatised the story as a serial in 1992 with John Moffatt reprising his role as Poirot. In 2003 the story was adapted as part of the UK TV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot, starring David Suchet. It was filmed on location at Dorney Court, Buckinghamshire.

Did you know?

  1. The title was taken from the song in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and is printed at the beginning of the novel.

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