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Friday, March 4, 2022

#ReadThis @AgathaChristie @HarperCollins @Morrow_PB #SadCypress by #AgathaChristie #Twentieth #20 #HerculePoirot #Mystery #ReadChristie2022

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet?  And guess what, not all roses have thorns.
Agatha Christie pays homage to one of two that outsells her with this title: Shakespeare.  

Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid

And Sad Cypress centers on what you can always count on along with taxes: death!  And in this case of course it's murder.  And for all our legal eagles out there, court plays a tremendous part and thank goodness this one's much more snappy than Jarndyce v. Jarndyce!  (Dickens, bien sur.  Bleak House!)  

Red Herrings galore punctuate this work, perhaps even more so than the others.  Agatha Christie's timeless ability to invent, concoct and invigorate a plotline is unparalleled and has proven to be timeless.  

Here, elderly Mrs. Welman, quite well off, is at the end of her road.  With a niece, nephew, doctors, nurses, and those that she is an English cheerleader for (what can we say, Peachy has an American vocabulary-she can't help it)  there are many who could benefit from her passing...if she has a will.

Digging up the past is a central theme: divorce and its possibilities, war (which sadly we are learning a lot about now), and relations all emerge as mysterious vehicles to transport you to the conclusion of what exactly is going on.

Basic human behaviors spanning the spectrum from good to evil emerge from pride to jealousy and all the usual suspects and of course it is our superhero with the grey cells that uses them: Hercule Poirot, who deduces what is really going on not by the truth itself, but by detecting who is lying about what.  He emerges one-third of the way into the book so it is quite a leadup.

Some Poirot wisdom:
"Ah, but life is like that!  It does not permit you to arrange and order it as you will.  It will not permit you to escape emotion, to live by the intellect and by reason!  You cannot say, 'I will feel so much and no more.'  Life, Mr. Welman, whatever else it is, is not reasonable!"  (p. 162)

Everyone knows reading makes you smarter (and since you're on this website you know that already!) and there are beaucoup de mots to add to your vocabulary from Sad Cypress including: jackanapes (conceited, sarcastic, brutish individual),  foudroyante (occurring suddenly or with great severity), avers (states, asserts to be the case) and purloin (steal).  We're not certain but we think when she says girls that are all SA and IT she is referring to sex appeal and it girls. (p. 135)

Another fun fact: Dalmatia is brought up which we had no idea existed-it's in Croatia and yes the dogs are from there.

Bien sur mes amis, the devil is in the details as always.  Read those labels!  And be happy-the end is fantastic.  

Sad Cypress is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know!

Previously on Whom You Know, we have raved about Agatha:

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Murder on the Links

Poirot Investigates

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Big Four

The Mystery of the Blue Train

Peril at End House

Lord Edgware Dies

Murder on the Orient Express

Three Act Tragedy

and we took a break from only him and did him with others in Midwinter Murder

and returned to only him with Death in the Clouds

The ABC Murders

Murder in Mesopotamia

Cards on the Table

Murder in the Mews

Dumb Witness

Death on the Nile

Appointment with Death

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

About the Author
Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time and in any language, outsold only in the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She is the author of eighty crime novels and short-story collections, around thirty plays, two memoirs, and six novels written under the name Mary Westmacott

She first tried her hand at detective fiction while working in a hospital dispensary during World War I, creating the now-legendary Hercule Prior with her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. In 1930, Miss Jane Marple made her first full-length novel appearance in The Murder at the Vicarage, quickly becoming another beloved and enduring character to rival Poirot's popularity. Additional series characters include the husband-and wife crime-fighting team of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, private investigator Parker Pyne, and Scotland Yard detectives Superintendent Battle and Inspector Japp.

Many of Christie's novels and short stories were adapted into plays, films, and television series. The Mousetrap opened in 1952 and is the longest running play in history. Academy Award-nominated actor and director Kenneth Branagh helmed the acclaimed major motion picture Murder on the Orient Express in 2017 and its sequel, Death on the Nile, starring in both films as the Belgian detective. On the small screen Poirot has been most memorably portrayed by David Suchet, and Miss Marple by Joan Hickson and subsequently Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie.

Christie was first married to Archibald Christie and then to archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan, whom she accompanied on expeditions to countries that would also serve as the settings for many of her novels. In 1971 she achieved one of Britain's highest honors when she was made a Dame of the British Empire. She died in 1976 at the age of eighty-five. The one-hundred-year anniversary of Agatha Christie stories and the debut of Hercule Poirot was celebrated around the world in 2020. Whom You Know will never stop celebrating it!

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