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Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie (1943)

Recently added bywiseoldunicorn, elsewhere_, juancarlos_bs, private library, SnootyBaronet, najjar, Gizmex, ahef1963, SheldonDeVane
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It's been a year since Rosemary Barton died at a party in her honor. The inquest verdict was suicide, but someone has been sending anonymous notes to her husband, George, suggesting that Rosemary was murdered. George has a plan to unmask the murderer. He invites the same guests to a party in his sister-in-law, Iris's, honor, to be held at the same location. However, things don't turn out according to plan. Did Rosemary commit suicide a year ago, or was she really murdered? If so, who killed her? Was it her husband, George? Or George's secretary, the competent Ruth Lessing, who may have a secret passion for her boss? Or Rosemary's admirer, Anthony Browne, who may not be the man he appears to be? Or her other admirer, Conservative MP Stephen Farraday? Or his jealous wife, Lady Alexandra Farraday? Or could it have been her sister and heir, Iris Marle? George Barton's friend, Colonel Race, is on the scene, and he lends his experience to Scotland Yard as they investigate not one, but two murders.

This novel has a ring of familiarity to it even without the presence of one of Christie's more famous sleuths. The characters and plot bear many similarities to a Poirot short story, “Yellow Irises”, although Christie changed enough that one is not a spoiler for the other. There are also some structural similarities to Five Little Pigs (aka Murder in Retrospect). Even though the story lacks something in originality for readers familiar with Christie's earlier works, she gives the familiar elements a new twist that will leave readers guessing. ( )
  cbl_tn | Feb 18, 2015 |
Dame Agatha never fails to entertain and intrigue with her mysteries. This one involves the fateful deaths of two people, and the web of intrigue surrounding them. Not a Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot, but still involving excellent detective work and well-drawn characters. The plot kept me guessing until the last minute. ( )
  LadyoftheLodge | Jul 28, 2014 |
I think I read this before as Sparkling Cyanide (it's Brittish title) and I'm fairly sure I saw part of a TV adapation (with Poirot inserted, I think) but I still had the wrong murderer. There were a few loose ends and I didn't totally buy the 'circular table' argument but it was highly enjoyable anyway.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
Avery slow start but picked up about midway. not a great Christie mystery it revolves around the death of Rosemary Barton and the approaching 1 year anniversary of her death. Each prime suspect is introduced in the beginning chapters which I found a unique and positive.

As one may guess there is another murder upon the anniversary and so goes the mystery.

( )
  ScottKalas | Jun 10, 2013 |
I believe it was Ogden Nash who wrote "One Christie book is as good as a lib'ry," and I have to concur. I'm sure I've read all the books Agatha Christie published under that name (skipping the Mary Westmacott titles) and yet I can only remember the plots and the culprits in a few obvious ones. So I didn't mind rereading this book (which has two titles) for an online book discussion.

[book: Remembered Death] (or [book: Sparkling Cyanide] opens almost a year after the shocking death of Rosemary Barton at her birthday party in a posh London restaurant. Various people in her life -- her sister, her husband, her husband's secretary, and two men, one of whom may have been her lover -- were present at the death and are now remembering Rosemary. Her husband, in particular, has come to question whether her death really was the suicide that the inquest decided.

There is not really a detective as such in this book. Colonel Race, a character who appears in a few other Christie novels, does put in an appearance, but he really doesn't solve the crimes -- for there will be another death in the story. (By the way, this book was remade into a Poirot for the British TV series.)

The plot, and especially the murder method, may seem a bit farfetched or even incredible to many readers. Christie does make use of a favorite device, having the murdered be an overlooked person. The descriptions of upper- and upper-middle-class England between the wars are those we have come to expect from Christie. The strength of this book is in the characters, and especially in how, through their interior monologues, Christie is able to make us suspect each one in turn and believe each of them capable of murder under the right circumstances. For this reason alone, I felt it was worth the re-reading and, as usual, Christie surprised me again when the culprit was revealed. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agatha Christieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ahmavaara, EeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Anthony, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bailey, RobinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nyquist, GunvorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Six people were thinking of

Rosemary Barton

who had died nearly a year ago...
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Iris Marle was thinking about her sister, Rosemary.
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This book was published as Remembered Death in the US and Sparkling Cyanide in the UK. It is based on a short story Yellow Iris, which featured Hercule Poirot as the detective.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312981295, Mass Market Paperback)

It's been less than a year since beautiful heiress Rosemary Barton took her own life during a birthday dinner in her honor. Her husband George never believed that his fun-loving wife would commit suicide--especially now that he's received two anonymous letters that suggest cold-blooded murder. One implicates even George himself. It's true he long suffered Rosemary's infidelities. But what about her embittered sister who was left out of the family will? Or any of Rosemary's secret lovers, not to mention their betrayed wives? Now one of them has ever forgotten Rosemary. Nor has any one of them ever forgiven her. But only one of them killed her...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:35 -0400)

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Six people sit down to dinner at a table laid for seven. In front of the empty place is a sprig of rosemary, in solemn memory of Rosemary Barton, who died at the same table, exactly one year previously.

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