Review: The Late Show (2017), by Michael Connelly

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Orion, 2017. Format: Kindle edition. File Size: 2017 KB. Print length: 448 pages. ASIN: B06WLQL7SH. ISBN: 978-1-4091-4752-7

isbn9781409145547

Synopsis: Los Angeles can be a dangerous city – never more so than in the dead of night. Detective Renée Ballard, once one of the department’s young hotshots, now works ‘The Late Show’, the notorious graveyard shift at the LAPD. It’s a thankless job keeping strange hours in a twilight world of tragedy and violence, handing over her investigations as the sun rises, never getting closure. Some nights are worse than others. And tonight is the worst yet. Two cases: a brutal assault, and a multiple murder with no suspect. Ballard knows it is always darkest before dawn. But what she doesn’t know is how deep her dual investigation will take her into the dark heart of her city, her department and her past.…

My take: In this new novel, Michael Connelly introduces us Renee Ballard, a new protagonist in what we expect to be a brand new series. The title refers to the name given to the night shift in police slang, The one starting when everyone get back home and finishes the next day when they all return to work. What is most frustrating of this working schedule is that at the end of their shift, those who have begun an investigation must hand it over to other detectives and they will never have the chance of closing the inquest they themselves have initiated .

Renee Ballard, a young female police detective, with a promising career ahead, has fallen into disgrace and been banished to the night shift, when her partner, detective Ken Chastain, didn’t want to back up her accusation of sexual harassment against Lieutenant Robert Olivas, her superior in the Homicide & Robbery Division, HRD.

Soon we will get to know Renee’s background after finding her working on the late show with a new partner. That night turns out to be particularly hectic and they find themselves involved in three different cases. The first is a the burglary of a credit card, the second an attempted murder towards a trans known as  Ramona Ramone which has left her struggling between life and death, and the third a shooting spree at a nightclub known as The Dancers Club with the outcome of five dead, among them a waitress, a bouncer and three customers. As it’s mandatory, they must hand over The Dancers Club case to HRD, whose head, Lieutenant Olivas, is not going to accept the presence of Renee on his team. But the investigation takes an unexpected turn when Ken Chastain is shot dead and Renee, against the opinion of her superiors, shows herself determined in finding out the cause of the death of her former working partner.

As far as I understand, Michael Connelly has wanted to write about a new character inspired by real-life LAPD Detective Mitzi Roberts, who has been a consultant on the Bosch TV show. “I’m using some of her experiences as a woman in a male-dominated world, a male-dominated profession, trying to capture that,” Connelly said in February. (Source: Tampa Bay Times)

From my side, I can’t deny my, almost unconditional, admiration towards everything written by Michael Connelly. I always consider he, in all his books, is very readable and very rewarding, and this book is not an exception. I certainly welcome his new female protagonist and I’m looking forward to reading the following instalments in the series. If I’m allowed to make a slight criticism, I have found the main character excessively close to a superwoman and I find lacking, perhaps, a higher degree of credibility. None the less, all what happens in the novel seems credible once you get immerse in the reading, but it’s the character herself, if I can find the right words, the one that has seemed to me extremely flawless to be fully convincing and, maybe, a bit more human with her virtues and without hidden her defects. But, all in all, a highly entertaining read that I strongly recommended.

My rating: A (I loved it)

About the author: A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Michael Connelly is the internationally bestselling author of the Harry Bosch thriller series. The TV tie-in series – Bosch – is one of the most watched original series on Amazon Prime and is now in its third season. He is also the author of several bestsellers, including the highly acclaimed legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer, which was selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club in 2006, and has been President of the Mystery Writers of America. His books have been translated into thirty-nine languages and have won awards all over the world, including the Edgar and Anthony Awards. He spends his time in California and Florida. To find out more, visit Michael’s website or follow him on Twitter or Facebook: www.michaelconnelly.com ; Connellybooks, and https://www.facebook.com/MichaelConnellyBooks/

The Late Show has been reviewed at Crime Fiction Lover, Crime Watch, Crime Always Pays, His Futile Preoccupations ….., Crime Time, among others.

The Orion Publishing Group publicity page

Little Brown and Company publicity page

Michael Connelly Official Website

Interview with Michael Connelly about The Late Show

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The late show (Turno de noche, más literalmente Último turno) de Michael Connelly

Sinopsis: Los Ángeles puede ser una ciudad peligrosa, y más que nunca en la oscuridad de la noche. La detective Renée Ballard, que una vez fue una de las más jóvenes promesas del departamento, ahora trabaja ‘The Late Show’, el célebre turno de noche en el Departamento de Policía de Los Angeles, LAPD. Es un trabajo ingrato el de mantener horas extrañas en un mundo crepuscular de tragedia y violencia, y pasar la investigación a otros tan pronto sale el sol, sin terminar nunca de cerrarlas. Algunas noches son peores que otras. Y esta noche es la peor hasta ahora. Dos casos: un asalto brutal y un asesinato múltiple sin sospechoso. Ballard sabe que la hora más oscura es justo antes del amanecer. Pero lo que no sabe es hasta qué punto su doble investigación la llevará hasta el oscuro corazón de su ciudad, su departamento y su pasado…

Mi opinión: En esta nueva novela, Michael Connelly nos presenta a Renee Ballard, una nueva protagonista en lo que esperamos sea una nueva serie. El título hace referencia al nombre dado al turno de noche en la jerga policial, el que comienza cuando todos regresan a casa y termina el día siguiente cuando todos vuelven al trabajo. Lo que es más frustrante de este horario de trabajo es que al final de su turno, aquellos que han comenzado una investigación deben entregarla a otros detectives y nunca tendrán la oportunidad de cerrar la investigación que ellos mismos han iniciado.

Renee Ballard, una joven detective de policía, con una prometedora carrera por delante, ha caído en desgracia y ha sido desterrada al último turno, cuando su compañero, el detective Ken Chastain, no quiso respaldar su acusación de acoso sexual contra el teniente Robert Olivas, su superior en la División de Homicidios y Robos, HRD.

Pronto conoceremos los antecedentes de Renee después de encontrarla trabajando en el turno de noche con un nuevo compañero. Esa noche resulta ser particularmente ajetreada y se encuentran involucrados en tres casos diferentes. El primero es el robo de una tarjeta de crédito, el segundo un intento de asesinato contra una trans conocida como Ramona Ramone que la ha dejado luchando entre la vida y la muerte, y el tercero un tiroteo en un club nocturno conocido como The Dancers Club con el resultado de cinco muertos, entre ellos una camarera, uno de los porteros y tres clientes. Como es obligatorio, deben entregar el caso del Dancers Club a HRD, cuyo jefe, el teniente Olivas, no va a aceptar la presencia de Renee en su equipo. Pero la investigación toma un giro inesperado cuando Ken Chastain es asesinada a tiros y Renee, en contra de la opinión de sus superiores, se muestra decidida a descubrir la causa de la muerte de su antiguo compañero de trabajo.

Por lo que tengo entendido, Michael Connelly ha querido escribir sobre un nuevo personaje inspirado en la vida real de la detective de LAPD Mitzi Roberts, que ha sido consultora en el programa de televisión Bosch. “Estoy usando algunas de sus experiencias como mujer en un mundo dominado por hombres, una profesión dominada por hombres, tratando de capturar eso”, dijo Connelly en febrero. (Fuente: Tampa Bay Times)

Por mi parte, no puedo negar mi admiración casi incondicional hacia todo lo escrito por Michael Connelly. Siempre considero que él, en todos sus libros, es muy fácil de leer y muy gratificante, y este libro no es ninguna  excepción. Ciertamente le doy la bienvenida a esta nueva protagonista y estoy deseoso de leer las siguientes entregas de la serie. Si se me permite hacer una ligera crítica, he encontrado al personaje principal excesivamente cercano a una supermujer y me parece que le falta, tal vez, un mayor grado de credibilidad. Sin embargo, todo lo que sucede en la novela parece creíble una vez que te sumerges en la lectura, pero es el personaje en sí, si puedo encontrar las palabras adecuadas, la que me ha parecido extremadamente perfecta para ser totalmente convincente y, tal vez , un poco más humana con sus virtudes y sin ocultar sus defectos. Pero, en general, una lectura muy entretenida que recomiendo encarecidamente.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Sobre el autor: Michael Connelly, antiguo periodista de sucesos en Los Angeles Times, es el mudialmente famoso autor de la serie de intriga protagonizada por Harry Bosch. La serie de TV relacionada, Bosch, es una de las series originales más vistas de Amazon Prime y ahora se encuentra en su tercera temporada. También es autor de varios bestsellers, incluido el muy aclamado “thriller legal”, El inocente, que fue seleccionado por le  el Club del Libro Richard & Judy en el 2006, y ha sido presidente de Mystery Writers of America. Sus libros han sido traducidos a treinta y nueve idiomas y han ganado premios en todo el mundo, incluidos los Premios Edgar y Anthony. Divide su tiempo entre California y Florida. Para saber más sobre Michael Connelly, visite su web o sígalo en Twitter o Facebook: www.michaelconnelly.com, @Connellybooks, and https://www.facebook.com/MichaelConnellyBooks/

OT: Fortuny (1838-1874) Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid11/21/2017 – 3/18/2018

IMG_20180111_133318The Museo Nacional del Prado is presenting an exhibition on Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1838-1874), to be displayed in the two principal galleries of the Museum’s extension. This is the first retrospective on this leading Spanish artist to be presented at the Prado, which houses most of Fortuny’s masterpieces due to the generous bequests of Ramón de Errazu and of Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, the painter’s son, as well as acquisitions purchased by the Museum.

As with the previous monographic exhibitions held at the Prado, Mariano Fortuny (1838-1874) will offer a reassessment of the artist’s finest works.

IMG_20180111_134255Mariano Fortuny was the Spanish artist who achieved most international renown in the last third of the 19th century. Fortuny was a true innovator in all the fields of art in which he worked. In oil painting his precise, colourful and virtuoso technique gave rise to a new interpretation of the natural world, particularly the effects of light. Notably influential in this respect was his mastery of watercolour, which made him the preeminent practitioner of that artistic discipline in his day. Fortuny’s constant emphasis on drawing, with his rapid, nervous stroke, underpinned his ability to reflect different aspects of reality. His distinctive and brilliant use of etching liberated prints from their reproductive function in Spain and located Fortuny among the great graphic artists of the day. Finally, his passion for collecting resulted in a large group of works of art and antiquities which he housed in his atelier, many of them now in leading museum collections. (Source: Museo del Prado)

Read further here.

Review: Maigret and the Tall Woman, 1951 (Inspector Maigret #38) by Georges Simenon (Trans: David Watson)

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Penguin Classics, 2016. Format: Paperback. Length: 176 pages. First published in French as Maigret et la Grande Perche by Presses de la Cité, 1951. This translation was first published in 2016. ISBN: 978-0-241-27738-6. There is a previous English translation by Julian Maclaren-Ross, published in 1955, under the title Inspector Maigret and the Burglar’s Wife aka Maigret and the Burglar’s Wife.

cover.jpg.rendition.460.707Book description: A visit from the tall, thin woman he arrested many years ago – now married to a hapless burglar – leads Maigret on a tortuous investigation in which he struggles with a formidable suspect.

My take: Ernestine Jussiaume, née Micou, the tall woman of the title aka `La Grand Perche’ in the original title, wants to talk with Maigret about a matter of utmost importance. She reminds him that seventeenth years ago he arrested her, but she has now come to talk about her husband Alfred, known as Sad Freddie by the police, Her husband left on a job a couple of days ago and last she heard from him was that he telephoned her telling that he was about to leave the country in a hurry. That same night, while he was working on a safe, he found a dead body and now he’s afraid the police might pin the blame on him.  She believes her husband is incapable of hurting and much less of killing anybody. In fact he worked for a company of safety boxes before being laid off. From then on was when he started to earn a living cracking the safes he had installed. Ernestine as usual, doesn’t know where to find the house where his husband was “working” at the time, all she knows is that it can be in Neuilly. The investigation turns out to be more complicated than what he was expecting and Maigret discovers he will have to face an opponent worthy of his talent.

Maigret and the Tall Woman is another highly entertaining read that, despite the fact that the techniques used by Maigret in order to discover the truth and eventually obtaining a confession, would not be acceptable today, have not seem to me to be out of place within the context and the time in which the action unfolds. On the other hand, I would like to highlight in this occasion that, to the usual Simenon’s writing economy, it’s added as well an economy of personages, places and circumstances that makes this instalment in the series to be even more meritorious. I believe that it can`t be done more with less. Besides it is plagued with good doses of humour and I was pleasantly surprised to find out I enjoyed it more than what I was expecting.

My rating: A (I loved it)

About the author: Georges Simenon was born in Liège, Belgium. At sixteen he began work as a journalist on the Gazette de Liège. He moved to Paris in 1922 and became a prolific writer of popular fiction, working under a number of pseudonyms. In 1931 he published the first of the novels featuring Maigret, his most famous and enduring creation. (Source: Fantastic Ficition)

About the translator: To the best of my knowledge, David Watson is a freelance French translator. He has a PhD in French an also  speaks German. His services include book editing in all fields: fiction/non-fiction, academic; translating literary and commercial; and also proofreading and indexing services.

Maigret and the Tall Woman has been reviewed at Crime Time, FictionFan’s Book Reviews, and at Crime Review.

Penguin UK publicity page

Penguin US publicity page

Georges Simenon Website 

Maigret et la Grande Perche 

Maigret of the Month: March, 2007

Tout Maigret

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Maigret y la Espingarda aka Maigret en los bajos fondos, de Georges Simenon

Descripción del libro: La visita de la mujer alta y delgada a la que arrestó hace muchos años, ahora casada con un desventurado ladrón, lleva a Maigret a una tortuosa investigación en la que se debate con un sospechoso formidable.

Mi opinión: Ernestine Jussiaume, nacida Micou, la espingarda del título alias ‘La Grand Perche’, como en el título original, quiere hablar con Maigret sobre un asunto de suma importancia. Ella le recuerda que hace diecisiete años la arrestó, pero ahora ha venido a hablar de su marido Alfred, conocido como Triste Freddie por la policía. Su marido se fue a trabajar hace un par de días y lo último que supo de él. fue que él la telefoneó diciéndole que estaba a punto de abandonar el país a toda prisa. Esa misma noche, mientras trabajaba en una caja de seguridad, encontró un cadáver y ahora teme que la policía le eche la culpa a él. Ella cree que su esposo es incapaz de lastimar y mucho menos de matar a alguien. De hecho, trabajó para una compañía de cajas de seguridad antes de ser despedido. A partir de entonces fue cuando comenzó a ganarse la vida reventando las cajas fuertes que había instalado. Ernestine, como de costumbre, no sabe dónde encontrar la casa donde su esposo estaba “trabajando” aquella noche, todo lo que sabe es que puede estar en Neuilly. La investigación resulta ser más complicada de lo que esperaba y Maigret descubre que tendrá que enfrentarse a un oponente digno de su talento.

Maigret y la Espingarda es otra lectura muy entretenida que, a pesar de que las técnicas utilizadas por Maigret para descubrir la verdad y eventualmente obtener una confesión, hoy no serían aceptables, no me parecen estar fuera de lugar dentro del contexto y tiempo en que se desarrolla la acción Por otro lado, me gustaría resaltar en esta ocasión que, a la economía de escritura habitual de Simenon, se agrega también una economía de personajes, lugares y circunstancias que hace que esta entrega de la serie sea aún más meritoria. Creo que no se puede hacer más con menos. Además está plagada de buenas dosis de humor y me sorprendió gratamente descubrir que lo disfruté más de lo que esperaba.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Sobre el autor: Georges Simenon nació en Lieja, Bélgica. A los dieciséis años comenzó a trabajar como periodista en la Gazette de Liège. Se trasladó a París en 1922 y se convirtió en un prolífico escritor de novelas populares, utilizando gran variedad de seudónimos. En 1931 publicó la primera de las novelas protagonizadas por Maigret, su creación más famosa e imperecedera.

Timeline of Poirot’s Novels and Short Stories

This post was meant as a private note, but I thought it may be of interest to some readers. (Sources: Wikipedia and  Official Agatha Christie Website) Please, consider it a work in Progress. I’ll certainly appreciate if you let me know of any errors you may observe.

2a9cbd9ac73a69b686578d770cae1d34First a note on suggested reading order for Christie’s Poirot novels and short story collections

The most important point to note is to make sure you read Curtain last. Other points to note are:

Lord Edgware Dies should be read before After the Funeral
Five Little Pigs should be read before Elephants Can Remember
Cat Among the Pigeons should be read before Hallowe’en Party
Mrs McGinty’s Dead should be read before Hallowe’en Party and Elephants Can Remember
Murder on the Orient Express should be read before Murder in Mesopotamia
Three Act Tragedy should be read before Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

Otherwise they can be read in any order.

Poirot’s police years

    • The Chocolate Box” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

      Career as a private detective and retirement

      Shortly after Poirot flees to England (1916–1918)

        • The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)

        • The Kidnapped Prime Minister” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

        • The Lemesurier Inheritance” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

        • The Affair at the Victory Ball” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

          The Twenties (1920–1929)

          Poirot settles down in London and opens a private detective agency. These are the short story years (25 short stories and only 4 novels).

            • The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Plymouth Express” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of the Cheap Flat” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Submarine Plans” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of the Clapham Cook” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Cornish Mystery” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Mystery of the Hunters Lodge” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Market Basing Mystery” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The King of Clubs” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Double Clue” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of Johnny Waverly” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Case of the Missing Will” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Lost Mine” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Million Dollar Bond Robbery” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • The Veiled Lady” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of the Western Star” (short story from Poirot Investigates)

            • Murder on the Links (1923)

            • Double Sin” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding” also published as The Theft Of The Royal Ruby (short story from The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding) is an expanded version of “The Christmas Adventure”

            • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)

            • The Big Four (1927)

            • The Mystery of the Blue Train an expanded version of “The Plymouth Express”
              (1928)

            • The Third Floor Flat” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

            • The Under Dog” (short story from The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding)

            • Wasp’s Nest” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases)

              The Thirties (1930–1939)

              Christie increased her novel production during this time (14 novels, 21 total short stories and one theatre play). Twelve short stories form The Labours of Hercules. The other short stories listed here take place in this period but were published before and after the publication of The Labours of Hercules. The theatre play is named Black Coffee and was written by Agatha Christie, who stated a frustration with other stage adaptations of her Poirot mysteries. In 1998, author Charles Osborne adapted the play into a novel.

                • Black Coffee (1930 play – novel adapted from play published in 1998)

                • “The Mystery of the Spanish Chest” (short story from The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and The Regatta Mystery) is an expanded version of “The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest”

                • Peril at End House (1932)

                • Lord Edgware Dies (1933) also published as Thirteen at Dinner

                • Murder on the Orient Express (1934) also published as Murder in the Calais Coach

                • Three Act Tragedy (1935) also published as Murder in Three Acts

                • Death in the Clouds (1935) also published as Death in the Air

                • The A.B.C. Murders (1936)

                • Murder in Mesopotamia (1936)

                • Cards on the Table (1936)

                • Dumb Witness (1937) also published as Poirot Loses a Client

                • Death on the Nile (1937)

                • How Does Your Garden Grow?” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases and The Regatta Mystery)

                • Dead Man’s Mirror” (short story from Murder in the Mews) is an expanded version of The Second Gong in Problem at Pollensa Bay

                • Problem at Sea” (short story from Poirot’s Early Cases and The Regatta Mystery)

                • Triangle at Rhodes” (short story from Murder in the Mews)

                • The Incredible Theft” (short story from Murder in the Mews) is an expanded version of “The Submarine Plans”

                • Murder in the Mews” (short story from Murder in the Mews) is an expanded version of The Market Basing Mystery”

                • Appointment with Death (1938)

                • Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1938) also published as Murder for Christmas and as A Holiday for Murder

                • Yellow Iris” (short story from The Regatta Mystery)

                • The Dream” (short story from The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and The Regatta Mystery)

                • Sad Cypress (1940)

                • One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (1940) also published as Overdose of Death and as The Patriotic Murders

                • The Nemean Lion” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Lernaean Hydra” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Arcadian Deer” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Erymanthian Boar” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Augean Stables” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Stymphalean Birds” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Cretan Bull” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Horses of Diomedes” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Girdle of Hyppolita” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Flock of Geryon” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Apples of Hesperides” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                • The Capture of Cerberus” (short story from The Labours of Hercules)

                  Post World War II

                  A new detective, Miss Marple, enters the stage – The Body in the Library Miss Marple second novel was published in 1942, and Hercule Poirot mysteries become rare. In 36 years Agatha Christie wrote only 13 novels and one short story.

                    • Evil Under the Sun (1941)

                    • “Four and Twenty Blackbirds” (short story from The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding)

                    • Five Little Pigs (1942) also published as Murder in Retrospect

                    • The Hollow (1946) also published as Murder after Hours 

                    • Taken at the Flood (1948) also published as There Is a Tide

                    • Mrs McGinty’s Dead (1952) also published as Blood Will Tell

                    • After the Funeral (1953) also published as Funerals are Fatal

                    • Hickory Dickory Dock (1955) also published as Hickory Dickory Death

                    • Dead Man’s Folly (1956)

                    • Cat Among the Pigeons (1959)

                    • The Clocks (1963)

                    • Third Girl (1966)

                    • Hallowe’en Party (1969)

                    • Elephants Can Remember (1972)

                    • Curtain, Hercule Poirot’s last case (written about 1940, published in 1975)

                    Previous Review: Sad Cypress, 1940 (Hercule Poirot #18) by Agatha Christie

                    Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

                    HarperCollins Publishers, The Agatha Christie Signature Edition published 2001. Format: Paperback Edition. First published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in March 1940 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. ISBN: 978-0.00-712071-0. 336 pages.

                    sadcypressSynopsis: 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.…

                    More about this book: 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.

                    My take: (from my previous entry here) Elinor Carlisle is brought before the judge accused of having poisoned Mary Gerrard. After a few minutes of silence, during which her lawyer fears that she could declare herself guilty, Elinor pleads not guilty. The story had begun about a year ago when Elinor received an anonymous letter warning her that someone was determined to take her place in the affections of her aunt Laura Welman. Mrs Welman suffered from reduced mobility due to a stroke and lived in her own house with the assistance of her housekeeper Mrs Bishop, a couple of nurses, nurses Hopkins and O’Brien, and under the care of Dr. Peter Lord, a young doctor. In addition, Mary Gerrard, the daughter of a lodge keeper, was in the habit to pay her a visit every day. Mary was extremely grateful to Mrs Welman for having paid her studies. Elinor, in turn, was planning to marry Roddy Welman, whom she knew since childhood. Roddy was the nephew of the late Mr Welman, the husband of her aunt. Both had assumed they were going to inherit her fortune, as they were her closest relatives. But one day, during a visit of Elinor and Roddy to their aunt, Roddy falls in love with Mary Gerrard and breaks her engagement to Elinor. As from that moment events take an unexpected turn. Mrs Welman dies intestate and Elinor, as next of kin, becomes her sole heir. Shortly after, Mary dies poisoned and Elinor seems to be the only person who has a motive, the opportunity and the means for having done so. Dr. Lord, who is attracted to Elinor, resorts to Hercule Poirot to unmask the real culprit in order to prove her innocence.

                    Sad Cypress has quite an original structure. The story is being told in three parts. The first one relates the facts that end up with the death by poisoning of Mary Gerrard and with the subsequent imprisonment of Elinor Carlisle considered the main suspect of the crime. The second revolves around the investigation carried by Poirot, mainly through his conversations with those involved in the plot. Finally, the third part takes place almost entirely in the courtroom. All these make it possible to maintain the attention of the reader and, in essence, the novel ends up being quite entertaining. Likewise its resolution turns out fairly convincing. Probably the biggest drawback of the story, in my view, has to do with the way in which Poirot arrives to solve the mystery. It has very much reminded me the way a magician pulls a rabbit out of his top hat. Maybe for this reason Sad Cypress is not ranked among Agatha Christie’s best novels.

                    My rating: B (I really liked it)

                    Sad Cypress has been reviewed at Reactions to Reading, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, Mysteries in Paradise, BooksPlease, Mystery File, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist… and Clothes In Books among others.

                    HarperCollins UK publicity page

                    HarperCollins US publicity page

                    Agatha Christie Official Website

                    Notes On Sad Cypress

                    audible

                    Un triste ciprés, de Ágata Christie

                    Sinopsis: La hermosa y joven Elinor Carlisle estaba serenamente en el banquillo, acusada del asesinato de Mary Gerrard, su rival en el amor. La evidencia era condenatoria: solo Elinor tenía motivo, oportunidad y medios para administrar el veneno fatal. Sin embargo, dentro del hostil tribunal de justicia, solo un hombre todavía presuponía que Elinor era inocente hasta que se demuestre su culpabilidad. Hercule Poirot era todo lo que se interponía entre Elinor y el patíbulo …

                    Más sobre este libro: El primer drama judicial para Poirot, Sad Cypress fue escrito cuando estaba a punto de comenzar la Segunda Guerra Mundial, un período particularmente prolífico para Agatha Christie y su diminuto belga. Está escrita en tres partes: el relato de la acusada, los prolegómenos del asesinato y la investigación de Poirot. Reflexionando sobre la novela después de su publicación, Christie decidió que hubiera estado mejor sin el personaje de Poirot.

                    BBC Radio 4 dramatizó la historia por entregas en 1992 con John Moffatt repitiendo en el papel de Poirot. En 2003, la historia fue adaptada como parte de la serie de la televisión británica Agatha Christie’s Poirot, protagonizada por David Suchet. Fue rodada en escanarios naturales en Dorney Court, Buckinghamshire.

                    Mi opinión: (de mi entrada anterior aquí) Elinor Carlisle comparece ante el juez acusada de haber envenenado a Mary Gerrard. Después de unos minutos de silencio, durante los cuales su abogado teme que pudiera declararse culpable, Elinor se declara inocente. La historia había comenzado hace aproximadamente un año, cuando Elinor recibió una carta anónima advirtiéndole que alguien estaba decidido a ocupar su puesto en el afecto de su tía Laura Welman. La señora Welman sufría de movilidad reducida debido a un derrame cerebral y vivía en su propia casa con la ayuda de su ama de llaves la señora Bishop, un par de enfermeras, las enfermeras Hopkins y O’Brien, y bajo el cuidado del doctor Peter Lord, un joven médico. Además, Mary Gerrard, la hija del portero de la finca, tenía la costumbre de hacerle una visita todos los días. María estaba muy agradecida a la Sra Welman por haberle pagado sus estudios. Elinor, a su vez, tenía la intención de casarse con Roddy Welman, a quien conocía desde la infancia. Roddy era el sobrino del fallecido Sr. Welman, el marido de su tía. Ambos habían asumido que iban a heredar su fortuna, dado que eran sus parientes más cercanos. Pero un día, durante una visita de Elinor y Roddy a su tía, Roddy se enamora de Mary Gerrard y rompe su compromiso con Elinor. A partir de ese momento los acontecimientos toman un giro inesperado. La señora Welman muere intestada y Elinor, como pariente más próximo, se convierte en su única heredera. Poco después, Mary muere envenenada y Elinor parece ser la única persona que tiene un motivo, la oportunidad y los medios para haberlo hecho. El doctor Lord, que se siente atraído por Elinor, recurre a Hércules Poirot para desenmascarar al verdadero culpable con el fin de demostrar su inocencia.

                    Un triste ciprés tiene una estructura bastante original. La historia está contada en tres partes. La primera se refiere a los hechos que terminan con la muerte por envenenamiento de Mary Gerrard y con el posterior encarcelamiento de Elinor Carlisle considerada la principal sospechosa del crimen. La segunda gira en torno a la investigación realizada por Poirot, principalmente a través de sus conversaciones con los implicados en la trama. Por último, la tercera parte se desarrolla casi por completo en la sala del tribunal. Todo esto hace que sea posible mantener la atención del lector y, en esencia, la novela termina siendo bastante entretenida. Del mismo modo su resolución resulta bastante convincente. Probablemente, el mayor inconveniente de la historia, en mi opinión, tiene que ver con la forma en que Poirot llega a resolver el misterio. Me ha recordado mucho la forma en que un mago saca un conejo de su chistera. Tal vez por esta razón Un triste ciprés no se encuentra entre las mejores novelas de Agatha Christie.

                    Mi valoración: B (Me gustó mucho)

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