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Sad Cypress: A Hercule Poirot Mystery Paperback – 1984
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A couple more things: There are silly pictures that add no value to the text, and although the book is larger than the HarperCollins/William Morrow editions, there's less spacing between lines and the typeface is more difficult to read.
My advice is to buy used, not new. The number of errors in the Appletons edition is unacceptable, and the images and the typeface only reinforce the cheapness of this edition of the text.
The Appletons edition earns 1 star, and Christie's story earns 5.
“Yes, we are all human beings. That is what you have not remembered." (Hercule Poirot)
The story starts simply - and humorously - enough with Poirot going to his dentist, Dr Henry Morley. Later, Poirot learns that Dr Morley is dead - supposedly a suicide. When another of Morley's patients, Mr Amberiotis, dies of an overdose from a dental anesthetic. Did Morley commit suicide when he realized what he had done? Of course, it's not that simple - it never is with Christie. Then another patient of Morley's, Mabelle Sainsbury Seale, vanishes.
To say anything else would ruin the fun of reading this excellent Agatha Christie. Very recommended.
Hercule Poirot is vacationing at the Jolly Roger Hotel, Smugglers’ Island, Leathercombe Bay, in southern England. Also present is Arlena Stuart Marshall, a beautiful former actress, her husband, Captain Kenneth Marshall, and his teenage daughter, Linda Marshall.
Arlena loves men and men love her - and she sees no reason why just because she's married she shouldn't have some fun. Of course, for Arlena this means flirting - and more. Meanwhile, her taciturn husband - the epitome of the British gentleman - suffers in silence. Linda, though, is not so silent and her feelings are very obvious. To complicate matters, Kenneth Marshall's childhood friend, Rosamund Darnley, is also at the resort. Then there are the Redferns, Patrick and Christine. Patrick quickly begins a relationship with Arlena that sets the stage for murder.
This is one of the more enjoyable Christies. The characters are well drawn and interesting. Linda lonely, unhappy, and struggling with her feelings about her stepmother's death. Even Arlena is sympathetically drawn. Once I learned her story, I could not help but feel sorry for her. There is an interesting twist at the end. The murderer and the motive are both rather surprising, and I really did not suspect either.
Very well done.
So it's time for Hercule's six month oral checkup, and he has the same fears as you and I. The superior Hercule was not himself. On page nine..."His morale was down to zero. He was just that ordinary, craven figure, a man afraid of the dentist's chair." While in the waiting room, our sleuth observes the other patients. There was a military looking man, and a seemingly angry young man flipping pages of magazines. Hercule has his appointment with Doctor Henry Morley and prepares to leave after some minor filling work. Hercule learns that the Doc's assistant, Gladys Neville, is missing, and an important banker, Alistair Blunt, is on his way for his dental appointment. On his way out, He observes a fierce looking man in the waiting room, and outside a lady leaving a taxi who has torn her buckle off her shoe as she exited. Later that day, Hercule is informed by Chief Inspector Japp (you remember him from previous novels) of Scotland Yard that Doctor Morley has shot himself. How can that be? The Doc seemed normal and trouble free. Hercule Poirot suspects murder, and gathers a list of suspects.
The possible perpetrators are: Doctor Reilly, Morley's partner; Mr. Amberiotis, the last patient; Miss Sainsbury Seale, the taxi lady; Howard Raikes, the American; Alistair Blunt, the banker; Frank Carter, the angry young man; Gladys Neville, the missing assistant; Jane Olivera, Blunt's niece; and Alfred Biggs, the murdered Doc's page boy. Then the unthinkable happens on page 53, Mr. Amberiotis turns up dead at his hotel! He is dead from an overdose of adrenaline and novocaine. What? Was he poisoned by Doctor Morley before the Doc committed suicide, or was murdered?
Hercule Poirot is stumped. Then later in the novel, he is in church with Alistair Blunt, Jane Olivera, her mom, and Howard Raikes, while listening to the morning sermon, the light bulb goes off: "It was like a kaleidoscope-shoe buckles, 10-inch stockings, a damaged face, the low tastes in literature of Alfred the page boy, the activities of Mr. Amberiotis, and the part played by the late Mr. Morley, all rose up and whirled and settled themselves down into a coherent pattern." Okay, Mr. Poirot's noggin is working again. Now is the time that you should grab your own copy of this highly recommended mystery.