Today I’m delighted to welcome chick lit novelist Sue Featherstone. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie.
“It’s hard to pin down a single Porridge & Cream read because there are a number of old favourites that fit into my comfort-read category. Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels, for instance, Noel Streatfield’s children’s stories and Josephine Tey’s whodunits. But I’m going to choose Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie, which I first read in my early teens in the late 1960s when I sneaked it off my dad’s bookcase.
“What appealed to me then is what still appeals today – nostalgia for a bygone age, a murder mystery with lots of red herrings, and a gently unfolding love story. When it first appeared in 1933 Sad Cypress was considered ground-breaking. The murder takes place about a third of a way into the story – giving plenty of time to establish characters and plot – and Poirot doesn’t make an appearance until almost halfway through. Unusually, too, much of the drama takes place in the courtroom.
“The plot is classic Christie: wealthy heiress Elinor Carlisle is heartbroken when her fiancé Roddy breaks off their long-standing engagement to pursue Mary Gerrard, a protégé of Elinor’s recently deceased aunt. And when Mary is poisoned almost everyone, including Roddy who has known Elinor since childhood, believes she must be the murderer.
“When I grew up and left home, Sad Cypress was one of the first books on my new book shelves and my battered 1979 Pan edition is testament to multiple re-readings. Why? Because even though Poirot is a strange little fellow, Elinor’s story – a woman betrayed by the man she loved – has a timeless resonance. Will she forgive Roddy’s betrayal? Or will she find happiness with the local doctor, who has believed in her innocence throughout?
“Truly, Christie is the queen of crime fiction.”
Sue Featherstone’s Bio
Sue Featherstone is a Midlander, who has spent most of her life living and working in Yorkshire. Her debut novel A Falling Friend, co-authored with Susan Pape, was published by Lakewater Press in 2016 and a sequel A Forsaken Friend followed in March 2018. The pair, who have also written two journalism text books together, are currently working on the final book in their Friends trilogy. Sue was a journalist and public relations practitioner before moving into academia 20 years ago to teach news and magazine journalism at Sheffield Hallam University. Married with two grown-up daughters, she recently welcomed her first granddaughter Iris who is ‘the most beautiful baby in the whole world’.
Sue Featherstone’s links
Sue Featherstone’s latest book
A Forsaken Friend is the second instalment in a Yorkshire-based trilogy that follows best friends Teri Meyer and Lee Harper as they juggle men, careers and family. Their friendship is tested when Teri discovers her ex-husband is in love with Lee. And, to make things even worse, she’s just lost her job and is running out of money. Fast. It’s not all plain sailing for Lee either. Her love life might be looking up – not that she meant to fall for Teri’s ex – but her family life is a car crash. Her Catholic mother isn’t happy she’s dating a divorced man and her father has been given some bad news about his health…Described as a warm, funny and entertaining read, A Forsaken Friend is an intelligent and sassy look at the friendship between two women on the cusp of middle age.
What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message.
Discover the ‘Porridge & Cream’ books of these authors:-
Rhoda Baxter’s choice is ‘The Nightwatch’ by Terry Pratchett
Jane Lambert chooses ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier
‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies’ by Jean Kerr is chosen by Carol Cooper
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does chick lit novelist @SueF_Writerre-read SAD CYPRESS by Agatha Christie? #books via @SandraDanby