Friday, October 24, 2008

Book Report: Sad Cypress, by Agatha Christie

My introduction to Hercule Poirot, I'm ashamed to say, came through television and not through one of Agatha Christie's many mystery books. In 1989, the BBC put together a series of Poirot mysteries starting the wonderful David Suchet, who captured a character who was as endearing as he was eccentric. I doubted that the text versions could be half as entertaining.

As so often is the case, though, the book and the drama are different creatures and should be considered independently.

Unlike Ice Station Zebra, which I found plot heavy and character light, Sad Cypress is as much involved with character as it is with plot. Surprisingly, though, the character in focus is not the nominal hero (Hercule Poirot himself), but the young woman accused of murder. She undergoes an emotional transformation as a result of events in the story. Poirot himself remains unchanged, although his interference is a catalyst for the woman's change. I won't say that it was treated with great emotional depth, which would have been difficult given the British reserve evident in the story and characters, but it was important and it was consistent and it was well done.

I can see why, over thirty years after her death, Agatha Christie is still considered one of the world's greatest mystery writers.

Ulysses Rating: 3 - I enjoyed this.


dan radke said...

Heh, nice comment on Nathan's blog. The swedes are certainly doomed.

slcard said...

Alright, I give up. You'd think anyone with enough sense to realize when they've been crazy would have enough sense to make a quiet, decorous retreat, but no, I keep coming back. I adore your work. When you played with Shakespeare and Clue in the same day adding a picture of a kitten, followed soon after by such delightful silliness regarding e-readers, I knew I was hopeless. There, I've said it. Now I can move on to cheerfully obsess about something else. Oh wait, Hallowe'en is at the end of the week and I still have to come up with an organic, fair-trade, vegan, nutritious but delicious, spooky but cute, wildly kid-pleasing treat to pass out to impress my young son and his friends while staying true to my principles. That should hold me for a few days.

Ulysses said...

It's a shame when technological advancement throws an entire country into turmoil.

Ulysses said...

I think you've narrowed the field down to brown bread buns baked in the shape of a bat.

That covers everything but the "wildly kid pleasing part." To achieve that, I suggest you starve the children for two days beforehand.

Good luck.